On a hot, sunny day, CC and I went to English Bay and stopped by Central Bistro for dinner. I initially was hesitant about making a reservation there because its pictures made me believe that it’s a fancy place, and the word “bistro” often suggests a somewhat fancier dress code. Didn’t think our shorts and tanks would cut it. Little did I know it’s a nice casual hangout.
The two of us ordered three things to share. First, instead of ordering a pitcher of Sangria (which, I must say, was a very close second choice), we ordered the Beer & Sausage Flight. It was triggered by looking around and seeing at least a couple other tables order it, and it looked really interesting! It comes with three beer samplers with their sausage pairing: Pale Ale with Bratwurst, Cream Ale with Spicy Chorizo, and Stout with Stout Smokey.
What I liked the most was the cream ale and the stout smokey. The best pairing was the stout with the stout smokey – you can really taste the stout in the sausage, and it was flavourful and juicy. The cream ale was creamy with a bit of sweetness. The bratwurst was a bit too dry for me and chorizo just tasted like a standard spicy chorizo.
Next, continuing our adventure of ordering beer-infused dishes, we picked the Red Truck Salt Spring Island Mussels. This would have been an ordinary mussel dish, but it uses lager instead of white wine in its sauce. The broth has some smokiness in it, with a hint of lager taste. Mussels were juicy and plump, and there were a decent amount of them. They need some work on finessing the plates. Baguette pieces were rather big and the presentation was quite sloppy here.
The last dish was the Barbecue Lambwich. It’s not a lamb burger, but a baguette sandwich with sliced lamb. The meat reminds me of what you would get for Chinese hotpot. It’s more gamey than most lamb dishes I’ve had at a western restaurant, but the meat was tender and flavourful. All the filling has soaked in the BBQ sauce so it’s nicely seasoned. The side salad was refreshing, and tasty with a berry vinaigrette.
It was a Saturday evening and the restaurant was full. Therefore the service was slow and took awhile for the food to arrive. Nonetheless, our server was friendly, and checked on us once in awhile to make sure we were doing OK. She was accommodating when we changed our order from a pitcher of sangria to the beer & sausage flight. She was also apologetic when the mussels and lambwich got here before the beer & sausage flight (appetizer) did. We were happy with the service we received.
I’m not sure how Central ends up with only receive 50% on Urbanspoon. While it’s not perfect, I couldn’t find many things to give them a bad rating. I thought the food was quite tasty and priced reasonably given it’s located on Denman St. They can definitely work on plating the food, and perhaps consistency of food and service quality because diners seem to have mixed reviews about them.
Central Bistro & Lounge
1072 Denman Street, Vancouver