Tucked away on the border of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown lies Torafuku, a modern Asian-fusion eatery. A collective of chefs trained in French culinary techniques launched the restaurant three years ago. After the success of their popular food truck Le Tigre, they wanted to create a funky dine-in establishment that would be ideal for family style dining. Voila – Torafuku.
The minimalist space is designed by interior designer Scott and Scott. The open concept design exudes relaxing vibes with several natural touches. The Torafuku team wanted to create a soothing environment that allows guests to leave all their worries behind and indulge in carefully curated cocktails and shared plates.
I wouldn’t leave Torafuku without trying the cocktails as each recipe is carefully planned and executed. We tried the ‘People’s Cocktail’ (gin, cucumber, elderflower, ginger lemon), ‘Green Lamborghini’ (cardamom infused tequila, Cointreau, basil white pepper syrup, lime juice, salted plum powder rim), and ‘Matcha Madness’ (brown butter washed gin, white chocolate syrup, cream, crème de violette, matcha). All three were unique and flavourful in their own way. However, if I had to select only one, I would recommend the Matcha Madness as an after dinner cocktail. It was rich and possibly one of the best cocktails I have ever had – no lie!
Inspired by French techniques, the inventive menu consists of pan Asian cuisine that will allow you to taste your way through Asia. The combinations of eastern and western flavours are presented delicately on thoughtfully presented plates. The motto at Torafuku is “Sharing is Caring” so the entire menu is affordable and meant for sharing.
We started off our culinary adventure with the Japanese inspired “24 carrot gold”.This gluten free and vegetarian dish consists of locally sourced mushrooms, carrots, and spinach. The carrots are slow cooked in miso and honey for sweetness and the roasted hazelnuts add some lovely texture. I loved the house made green goddess dressing that added citrus notes to the dish.
Dropping Mad Beets is a great dish to savour during the winter months. The beets are glazed with sugar and rice vinegar to reduce the flavor and combined with Italian burrata and shiitake mushrooms. The dish was topped with candied walnuts, which added some nice texture.
Everyday I’m Brusselin is a spinoff of a favorite from the Le Tigre food truck. I feel in love with the flavor and texture immediately. The three ingredients that stood out to me were: toasted almonds, toasted chickpeas coated with Spanish paprika, and deep fried quinoa. This dish was originally added to the menu to persuade children to eat more veggies.
When I tried Finding Dory, I immediately fell in love with the creaminess of this wonderful chowder inspired dish. The team at Torafuku managed to transform the traditional chowder recipe into a flavorful and hearty Japanese influenced dish. The locally sourced halibut is marinated in sake kasu and served with miso chowder. This dish is a must try.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a pasta dish on an Asian fusion menu. I was pleasantly surprised by the rich flavor and creativity of Miso Tasty. I was impressed when I found out that the papperdelle pasta is made fresh in house daily. If you require gluten free pasta, that substitution can easily be made. The dish consists of heirloom tomatoes smoked in house, a rum butter sauce and tamari (a gluten free soy sauce). This is another dish that would be a crowd pleaser.
I never refuse Wagyu. How many favourites am I allowed to have? Higher Steaks was also a great dish and I appreciated the Adobo sauce. I was impressed with the classic French pave potatoes that were served with the steak. This dish is extremely flavourful and elegant.
We ended our tasteful journey on a sweet note with the ‘Magic Stick’; chocolate ganache, hazelnut feuilletine, matcha crumble, and condensed milk mouse. I can’t wait to return to Torafuku for another culinary adventure and hope that you will make time to discover this hidden gem.