Restaurant Review – Transylvania Flavour – Vancouver, BC

Perhaps the return of one of the best HBO shows to the summer line-up prompted our quest for Transylvanian food, or maybe it was just a need for the kindest service I have had to date.  Nonetheless, you will not be disappointed when visiting Transylvania Flavour, a neighbourhood gem located in the heart of Kitsilano.  (http://www.transylvaniaflavour.com/)
My sister and I were slightly saddened to not find Eric Northman behind the counter preparing our meal, naked; however we did have the next best thing.  Family run restaurants are, in my mind, guaranteed to provide you with a pleasant experience.  They truly take pride is the product and service they give their customers.  Sweet, charming, and century old recipes make this establishment a perfect destination for a date, birthday, or a random Thursday evening giggle fest with friends and family.  
The experience began with our host and server (the mom of the business) knowing who we were as soon as we walked in the door. Perhaps it was because we were the only ones that made a reservation for that time period, or some other telepathic reason, but in any case it began the evening on an extremely positive note by making us feel like one of the family (or famous…you pick).  
For those of you who are unaware of what type of food you can be expecting from Romanian cuisine, an idea of its influence may help a bit.  The Germans, Hungarians and Serbians had a lot to do with the flavours and composition put forth, meaning a lot of pickled things, beets, fritters, schnitzels, strudels, and kiftele (meatballs) – to name a few.  
As we normally do, my sister and I opted for suggestions on what to order – and as we normally are – we were completely content and satisfied with the choices.  We started with the Roasted Beet Spread and Mamaliga Croquettes.  
The Roasted Beet Spread boasted a clean, completely unmasked beet flavour.  If you are not a fan of beets, this may not be a good choice, but really you should be giving your head a shake….who doesn’t like beets!? The dish was served with a plethora of pickled vegetables, peppers, and olives – and a generous amount of crostini.  To explain how much we enjoyed this dish, I will add that we did (somewhat secretly as to not make a spectacle) put heaping tablespoons of the mixture directly into our mouths, skipping the filler.  Simple, yes, but my goodness – why haven’t I thought of this before?? Order this dish, you will not be disappointed. 
Mamaliga is a porridge type dish made from corn flour – it’s very similar to Italian polenta. In this case, it is formed into croquettes and fried.  There is something completely comforting and satisfying about crisp exteriors and lusciously soft centres.  It’s a texture that excites the palate and induces the eyes-rolling-into-the-back-of-the-head experience.  The sauces that accompanied were the perfect consistency and flavour; one being roasted red pepper and the other a thinned out sour cream.  The little fritters were served with their house version of a caesar salad which contrary to most was quite refreshing next to something fried.  

Our main dishes consisted of Chicken Dracula, and Ossobucco.  Come on we had to have something that enhanced the spirit of Transylvania.  I mean Dracula was real… I’m not surprised he coined the name of a dish!

I am going to essentially gush over the chicken dish as this is something that is completely abnormal…. guys…the chicken was moist!!!! Like, really moist… unbelievably moist actually.  For people who don’t like the word moist, you are probably closing this page by now.. 🙂 But, I mean…..really. The sauce was slightly heavy for my taste buds, but it was still yummy.  I almost feel bad for saying that, as this specifically is a recipe passed through generations – our incredible host dove into a story about her grandmother being the originator of this recipe but how they had adapted it slightly to fit Western cultures.  You know….something just popped into my head (there is literally a lightbulb floating over my head right now), I mean perhaps I was just being blond at the time, but I’ll bet the reason this is called Dracula is because of the tomato sauce oozing all over the plate….it’s blood!

Ossobucco….one of my favourite. A classic really! Now I can’t quite remember if I have described my fascination obsession with lamb – but boy o’ boy do I ever have one.  I have been known to polish off an entire roast in one sitting. Yup, I just admitted that – I must like you guys are something.  This specific ossobucco was simply divine.  The braising liquid (sauce) wasn’t over-thickened adding to the apparent lightness of the dish – something relatively unknown in the ossobucco world, but absolutely welcome.  The roasted tomato and zucchini “ratatouille” was delicate enough to offset the creamy buttery melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes – hands down some of the best I have had – EVER. That is difficult for me to say, as I (of course) do make the BEST mashed potatoes this side of the Mississippi. Don’t ask…. Needless to say, a very successful dish.

To round out the meal, because I mean we definitely did not have enough food already :-0, we decided to order the Paltinis Apple Tower.  I don’t know specifically why we ordered this dish out of the lot of them? Maybe it was the fact that when it said tower, I was imagined one of those cartoon scenes where the waiter bursts through the swinging doors, balancing a teetering tower that inevitably tumbles over onto the head of the waiting guest (**chuckle chuckle), or perhaps because when I saw “strudel” in the descriptor my heart skipped a beat… All I know is it was perfect. It took about 15 minutes to arrive – they make it to order, but about 5 seconds to eat – I don’t think I took a breath…. The warm and crisp strudel piled high with apple pie apples, homemade caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. I mean do I really have to explain why it was so good? I think the description is all the endorsing it needs. My only negative….it wasn’t delivered to our table by a cartoon waiter – and I didn’t wear it  :-(, Oh well… there’s always next time!

All-in-all this restaurant was an extremely pleasant surprise.  A true neighbourhood gem, and one of the friendliest places to visit. The Kitsilano eye candy passing by the window isn’t at all bad either.  If you’re in need of a good reminder that there are nice people in this world, head over to Transylvania Flavour and have yourself a generous dose of a sunny disposition…. oh, and get an Apple Tower too :-).

Happy Eating, Friends!

XOX
ATay

*This experience was completely paid for out of my own pocket. Transylvania Flavour did not ask me to write this post/nor did they pay for any of my meal.  

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