This past June, Kitsilano welcomed a new Asian restaurant in the neighbourhood, O-Bowl, at 3132 West Broadway. O-Bowl serves Asian-inspired dishes with culinary influences from Taiwan, China and Japan. The owners of O-Bowl are not new to the restaurant industry; they also own Sugarholic Cafe, an afternoon tea spot in Richmond’s Aberdeen Mall. I learned about O-Bowl through their Axka.com deal which was a Taiwanese Stir Fry combo for $20. I purchased the deal and tried out O-Bowl a few weeks ago.
The interior of O-Bowl seems to be somewhat Asian rustic-inspired. There are booths, a very long counter by the bar and dining tables.
On the menu are rice bowls (wasabi beef, spicy tofu, mango curry chicken and more), stir fried pot (choice of beef short rib, chicken wings, beef or seafood) and noodle dishes (scallion short rib, laksa curry short rib, butter miso short rib and more). Appetizer options include pumpkin croquette, fried jumbo prawn, chilled tofu and more. They also serve a variety of flavoured sparkling water drinks such as rose lemon or pineapple ginger. Photos of their menu can be found on Facebook.
What We Tried
The $20 Axka.com deal was for a Taiwanese stir fry combo for 2 (valued $35). It included the following:
- Stir fry with two meats (choice of squid, chicken legs, beef) + sauce (Taiwan special sauce, spicy, satay, salt & pepper)
- 4 appetizers
- 2 puddings
- 2 bowls of rice
- 2 drinks (Fruit Tea/Oolong Tea)
We went with passionfruit and oolong teas which had reasonable tea flavour.
Then came our combo served on a bamboo tray.
To start, the cold appetizers were mediocre at best. There was broccoli with mayo, shrimp salad, fruit salad and Japanese cold tofu. The brocoli with mayo wasn’t particularly appetizing. The fruit salad didn’t appeal to us. The Japanese tofu was the best of the lot – the tofu seemed reasonably fresh. Nice subtle flavour from the soy sauce and green onions.
The worst was the shrimp salad because of the brown and wilted shredded lettuce. Really unacceptable.
Despite the appetizers which were really well..unappetizing, the stir fry was actually delicious and packed full of flavour! We went with the chicken legs, beef and I paid extra to have fish tofu added. The chicken meat fell off the bone nicely and the beef was tender. The fish tofu was firm and tasty. I’m not sure why they call it a Taiwanese stir-fry because the flavours were closer to Szechuan just milder. There were actually Szechuan peppercorns in the stirfry.
Lastly was the red bean pudding which seemed more like a custard. Light and refreshing, it was good but not amazing. I didn’t mind it but I wouldn’t ask to have it again.
The only real standout from our meal at O-Bowl was the stir fry which had a nice Szechuan-style flavour. It was a good hearty bowl of meat and fish tofu stir fry. The appetizers, on the other hand, were really mediocre. If they can serve customers brown and wilted lettuce in a salad, I’m not sure where else they would cut corners. The deal was valued at $35 which in my opinion is overpriced. I personally don’t have any plans to return to O-Bowl again. Rating: 2.5/5