fancy schmancy bento box….Kingyo rules

25 Oct

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Once upon a time when I first moved to Vancouver, a friend introduced me to Kingyo on Denman.  Since then I returned once last year when a friend came to visit from Toronto and have only recently gone back for their incredible lunch bento box.

Once you enter the massive doors, you are greeted with a string of Japanese welcoming words from any staff that can see you (even the sushi bar chefs).  Dark wood, bamboo center pieces (albeit fake), and bronze accents makes this place moody and comfy at all at once.

Our table had a peekaboo glass top revealing metal work and heavy wood grain….sigh…so nice.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Now let’s get to the food which really, is entirely the point in coming to this place.  I have no idea if this gem is on the menu but the lunch bento box is always fabulous.  Did I mention that it always changes as it is a chef’s selection?  Did I also mention that they only make limited quantities?!!?!?

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Jealous table neighbours stared at our 12 dish bento box when it arrived.  Breath, take it in, isn’t it exciting?  I love variety and I was giddy with delight to see all the different dishes, yes this is a big lunch and at $16 it’s totally worth it.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Although the waitress went through all the dishes, we could barely understand her through her thick accent but we didn’t care…we were just itching to try everything!  Here’s the breakdown of what was on the menu this time around.

Top left: braised savoury sweet fall apart melty short rib in a thickened cream sauce.  This little morsel packed a flavour punch that we couldn’t eat it all in one bite.  Top right: chicken karage…usually I scoff at this because it’s nothing more than battered deep fried chicken but three generous chunks were found in the bowl and they were ah-mazing.  Crispy outer shell freshly fried with juicy dark meat inside…no sauce needed.

Bottom left: marinated cabbage, although a little lack lustre, it was a great dish to clean your palette in between.  Bottom right: peeled and marinated cherry tomato with bonito flakes…a lovely combination with juicy ripe goodness once you bite into it.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Top left:  molten lava deep fried tofu, this was a well balanced dish with savoury sweet sauce, a touch of green onion and delicious (and not bitter) tofu.  Top middle:  negitoro, a mix of chopped tuna belly with green onion, such a generous portion!  Taking sheets of seawood, you scoop up the mixture with the wooden spoon and make a little wrap, the fish was uber fresh and not overly mayo-y.

Top right: deep fried whole oyster…wowza yum!  I usually am not a fan of cooked oysters since they can have a funny kind of texture but with the breaded coating, this was simply amazing, super rich.

Bottom right: spicy seared tuna, the right amount of heat, you can really taste the chilis without the burning sensation.  The fish came through the sauce beautifully and as always, super fresh and melty.  Love the green onion addition as it added a fresh element.

kingyo urbanpocketknife

Top left: Egg roll with reduced ponzu and grated white radish.  I am not a fan of japanese egg sushi nor did I like this, it’s cold, sweet and weird.  My other half scarfed it up though.  Bottom-right: gardens salad with jellyfish.  Although not entirely creative, the salad was nice and refreshing and I loved the chewy tangy jellyfish on top.

The whole shabang also came with a bowl of rice (which neither of us barely touched) and a bowl of miso that was jam packed with lots of tofu, veggies and seaweed.

I highly recommend treating yourself to this belly busting lunch bento….it’s my favourite.


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