For a team lunch, KB, AM, MP (yes a new member!) and I headed over to the p2b Bistro at Renaissance to grab a bite. It was one of my suggestions for lunch because I remembered the nice environment when we attended the Blue Ribbon Classics Menu launch last year, and the food was decent for a hotel restaurant.
Turns out at lunch p2b offers a “In 30 under $20″ menu, targeting business professionals with very little time to eat. It’s a two-course prix-fixe lunch menu (including coffee or tea) for $19, with a promise that you will be out the door within 30 minutes. Although we weren’t really in a hurry to finish lunch in 30 minutes, $19 is too good of a deal to resist. And yes, in the end, we all ordered from this menu.
Each table receives some Cheese Herb Bread. It looks really good, nice and puffy. We were wondering if it’s baked or fried, and as soon as we bit into it (or tried to rip it apart), we immediately knew that it’s fried. You can never go wrong with fried dough, but it did get a bit heavy after a few bites. The tomato chutney was a bit tart and helped cut through the grease in the fried bread.
For appetizers, I chose the Tender Baby Spinach Salad. It’s a standard affair with spinach, tomatoes and bocconcini cheese. The cheese is really soft, lacking the spongy texture that I usually taste in bocconcini, so I was slightly taken aback. I did like the addition of dried blueberries, reminding me of dried cranberries that I add to my own salad.
I was told that the Caesar Salad was quite rich and filling. It looked to be a big portion too.
I ordered the Grilled Strip Loin for entree; I really felt like a piece of nice grilled steak that afternoon. In the past I usually ordered my steak medium-rare, but recently I have been ordering medium – trying to cut down the amount of bloody rare beef that I eat. But that increases my fear for having over-cooked, dry and chewy steak. Surprisingly the strip loin was grilled exactly to medium, well maybe just a tad over medium, but the meat was tender and seasoned well. The mash was creamy. It was a satisfying plate on a cool, fall day. And the portion was decent, too.
Sandwich of the Day was Beef Dip, and both AM and KB ordered it. They truly enjoyed it. It was one hearty plate with a big sandwich and a generous serving of fries. Neither of them finished the entire plate, and trust me, it never happened at any of the meals I have shared with them!
I have to commend p2b for its speedy service. Sure, the menu items are not anything fancy and for the most part, can be cooked quickly (or tossed together quickly), but their dedication to keep the promise and get you out the door within 30 minutes didn’t go unnoticed. They probably were anxious to serve us the entrees when we were taking our time to finish our salads. They must be thinking, “why do these people eat so slowly when they want to be in and out in 30 minutes?” haha!
Another thing to point out is the purse hook. Yes, they provide a purse hook to every lady in the restaurant, so they don’t need to put their purse on the ground, or stuff it behind their back and sit uncomfortably. I thought that was a really nice touch – good branding for the company – even better if it’s a souvenir to keep! (I was debating whether it was the case, but decided that it’s impossible that they would invest the money on purse hook souvenirs.)
Hotel restaurants never seem to have a good reputation, but I think many hotel restaurants in Vancouver are trying really hard to change this perception. p2b is one of those that is doing a decent job in encouraging diners to frequent hotel restaurants more. The “In 30 under $20″ menu changes weekly, and I find it to be very reasonable with decent quality of food.
p2b Bistro & Bar
1133 West Hastings Street, Vancouver