A couple of weeks ago, I went to the grand opening of the latest member of the Kamei Group – Kamei Baru. It took the space that was once Ensemble Tap near the Scotiabank Theatre. Since then it has changed hands a few times and it’s now part of the Kamei family.
Similar to Chinese celebrations, Japanese also has their version of lion dance. The ceremony officially kicked off with the Japanese lion dance accompanied by Japanese Taiko performance:
Kamei Baru runs on the concept of a Japanese tapa bar. In contrast to izakaya restaurants, the dishes at Kamei Baru has more of an European influence. Throughout the evening, we got to sample a number of items that are on their menu, which included marinated pork loin, tuna taco, paella, fresh oysters and sushi. Considering the massive amount of food they were putting out, the food was quite good. I liked the pork loin, tuna taco and the selection of fresh oysters on the menu. I still found it strange to see paella on the menu, but that’s all part of the European flair that Kamei is introducing to the restaurant.
In addition to the sake from the cask in the video, we tried two other kinds of sake paired with different food, including an unfiltered one paired with chicken. This particular sake was quite fragrant, with a floral scent yet reminded me of lychee.
Towards the end of the evening, we also got some sweet treats. The white wine jelly was quite memorable. It tasted like sake jelly to me, floral and crisp, with a prominent alcohol taste to it.
Overall, I think the Japanese bar/tapa/izakaya concept has been doing well in Vancouver, so Kamei Baru has the potential to be another successful one. I was intrigued by what I tasted at the party; it seems promising, especially operating under the Kamei label.
990 Smithe Street, Vancouver