When you walk into an Indian restaurant it's a good sign when there are tables upon tables of Indian families hunkering down over plates of simmering tika masala and ripping into fresh naan bread. It's no different in pho joints where Nguyen's and Ngo's slurp happily on big, steamy bowls or taquerias where most customers are obscured by large sombreros. Okay that last one not so much because Mexicans wouldn't be caught dead in gaudy tourist souvenirs, but you get what I mean. At Ebisu on Robson the Japanese have found their spot and staked their claim. It's a good sign, trust me!
Our night started off, as good nights do, with a couple of cocktails: the DragonBall and Summer Dream. The former being a sake, mango passion Alize, peach Schnapps, Calpis and soda creation that takes the subtle bubble from the soda and melds it with the sweetness of the Schnapps and tartness of the sake perfectly. The latter a mixture of watermelon liqueur, peach Schnapps, Citron Vodka and tropical fruit punch mix... Yes, as good as it sounds! Not out of place in an upscale Japanese fusion hot spot or a Hawaiian beach.
All of a sudden out pops Yohei, our gracious host and Ebisu's manager, with the Supreme Sashimi Salad. Salmon, tuna, Ebi, hamachi and clam on a small mountain of organic greens with a rich, creamy dressing. Absolutely lovely. It was followed quickly by the Salmon Carpaccio which was a nice Atlantic salmon marinated in sou olive oil and topped with citrus white wine mayo and garlic chips. Top ten mayos of my life! The salmon was tender, like pudding tender, and it had a nice lemon kick from the mayo. All in all a very, very good Carpaccio!
A second course means a second cocktail and I went with the Angel: Blueberry Stoli, Cointreau, lemon lime mix and blueberry juice. The martini kick one would expect with very balanced flavours, very good! Just as I took a second sip out came the Hamachi Inferno and Cherry Blossom. The inferno, named for the at-table torching it receives I'd wager, is a Japanese Amberjack served aburi style on a brick of rice. The torching melts the mayo that covers it into a sticky, flavourful shellac. The Cherry Blossom is Red Ahi Bigeye Tuna layered with Japanese caviar, and has mango, avocado, sesame and poached prawns. The dish of the night! Topped off with wakame salad and ikura it is a a different taste per chew. The sweetness of the mango and avacado are tempered each time an ikura pops and the caviar compliments the elegant fish in a perfect way! Add to the mix Ebisu's famous Beef Short Ribs marinated in a "Korean influenced" BBQ with its cute, mini BBQ grill and the meal was a home run, a touchdown, a gooooaaaallll!
But we're not done! Out comes a Japanese crèpe that could have been a meal itself, football sized. A freshly made, near paper thing, light pastry enveloping a cache of fresh strawberries and delicious strawberry ice cream. Come on! Top it off with home made whipped cream on top and a drizzle of strawberry sauce and I will come back just for this dessert. I promise you that! Not knowing my choice could have fed a table of six Jenn ordered the Monkey Magic. Deep fried bananas, sweet red bean, a scoop of mango ice cream and a scoop of green tea ice cream drizzled with chocolate. Jenn was so enamoured with it that she went full Mary Poppins when describing the dish: "deep friend ban-o-na". She spat out a little bit of it in a fit of laughter, I laughed, other tables gawked. We win! In all the dining experience at Ebisu on Robson is near perfect. Excellent ambience, colourful, calm yet vibrant, and exceptional food. There will be something on the menu for everyone and you'll be glad you listened to us!