Thanks to grandma and grandpa, Hubs and I were able to enjoy my birthday with a small group of friends at a Caribbean restaurant called Calabash Bistro last week.
Calabash Bistro is a hidden gem tucked away in the ghetto neighbourhood of the downtown eastside. (and by Ghetto i really mean Ghettooo to the max). Near Calabash, you will find all walks of life in the streets of Hastings and Carrall. Such an array of characters – definitely not the typical yaletown entourage I can tell you that!
With a menu boasting of mouth watering Jerk chicken, deep fried coconut bread and goat curry, their food is not the only highlight of this place. During dining hours, catchy soft beats of old school hiphop is played in the background and after 11 pm the restaurant transforms into a mini club allowing guests to dance to hiphop and reggae music all night long. Did i just say Reggae? Ohhhweee this mama is ready to get turnt up! (Turnt Up – A hip slang that youngsters use these days to describe an excited, lets-get-this-party-started feeling… in my generation, i think we used “lets get crunked!”? I could be mistaken though…)
Delicious dinner and groovy dancing all in one venue- that my friend is the ideal birthday party for over 30’s if you ask me. In my 20’s, I remember I would have dinner at a restaurant, then we would hop over to a different venue to grab some drinks, then we would be rendezvoused to some random club to get turnt up (I seem to use this term a lot. hehe. so catchy!) and finally we would end the night with a big bowl of hot Pho (a vietnamese noodle soup) at a 24hr joint.
Now in my 30’s, I physically don’t have the energy to be prancing around all over downtown. I get tired just walking 2 blocks. Less walking more eating is my motto!
Because I had a big group of more than 15 people, Calabash enforced a set menu for each individual. For $25, one got a salad, jerk chicken, rice, curry vegetables and fried coconut bread. (Note that these come in a share platter so if you are not fast enough you’ll end up with the smallest drumstick on your plate). For the amount of food you get in the platter, i personally didn’t think it was worth $25. Perhaps I had a really big appetite that day but I was most definitely not full. In addition, if you don’t finish your food in time, THEY WILL TAKE IT AWAY. You’ll have to watch your food like a hawk, otherwise they’ll think that you are full and remove your plate to clear the tables. Irregardless, the food was delicious, the music was great and conversation and laughter with friends made it a memorable night.
My favorite dish was the jerk chicken and fried coconut bread.
Deeeeericious! I didn’t think that much of the other dishes but if i was to rate their menu, I’d give a two thumbs up for their jerk sauce and fried coconut goodness! Calabash Bistro was indeed a nice break from the Asian infested restaurants in Vancouver. (I do want to point out though that most of the asian food in Vancouver is seriously the bomb dot com. Something Vancouver is famously known for. So many great places to eat! nom nom nom). Anyway, the change of scenery and food was quite refreshing and different.