Jonker St rebranded as Fresh Bowl, now with second location in Gastown...thoughts?
I noticed that Fresh Bowl (http://www.freshbowl.ca/) just opened up their second location in Gastown, right beside Meat & Bread (which I LURV btw). Mamak Malaysian Cafe is just down the block -- kinda ironic that there's now two choices for Malaysian food on that one block.
This article (http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Fresh+start+fills+Fresh+Bowl/4533876/story.html) mentions that the owner thought that maybe the Jonker St food was "too authentic" for local (non-Asian) clientele. So now with a new rebrand, he says the food hasn't changed much from his original nonya recipies. But I feel the prices are a bit high for what you get. If the food was amazing, then it wouldn't be so much of an issue...but I haven't heard that the food was amazing. This review (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/156266...) says that the food feels westernized...which is frustrating because all of us on the board want MORE authenticity in our regional cuisines.
So has anyone here tried Fresh Bowl?
I've been to the one in Yaletown a number of times. The food is definitely lacking the true SEAsian flavour profile - not enough salt, fermented seafood, heat, spice - etc. Very mild. Many of the soups/stews taste similar to HK Cafe takes on M'asian food (too mild, too sweet, too watery, etc). I only go because Yaletown is a bit of an ethnic food desert (I work in the area). That said...maybe the one in Gastown serves it up a bit differently. I should try it.
I had lunch at Meat & Bread just now and noticed that Mamak moved into the African restaurant even closer to the Fresh Bowl space than before! Their menu is posted right on the window and shows prices that are a lot less than FB...eg. roti canai is $3.50 vs $4 at FB.
Mamak looks like they are actually sharing the space with the African restaurant, with Mamak on the right side and the African side on the left. Will be interesting to see which Malaysian place lasts longer...
*CORRECTION: Mamak didn't move closer to FB, they moved *slightly* further away...
I've eaten at the Fresh Bowl on Cambie a couple of times now. It's feels like a generic pan-Asian themed curries-on-rices kind of place rather than a particularly Malaysian place. It's fine, but a bit too expensive and it feels plastic and generic.
I hope that Mamak and the Afro-Canadian place thrive. I like them both. The guy that runs the African place is very nice, and I've always had good food there (and also at Mamak's). Given my choice, I'd eat Mamak's food before Fresh Choice's anytime.