[02/14/2015] This year on Feb. 14th, Wifey, Adri, Waddles and I celebrated Galentine’s Day together at Cactus Club Cafe on Kingsway. Pft who needs guys when you’ve got good food and company? 😛
Cactus Club Cafe is one of the most successful restaurant chains in Canada, serving up international cuisine in innovative, creative ways. Many of the dishes are designed by Rob Feenie, Mr. First-Canadian-To-Win-Iron-Chef, who became their executive chef and food concept architect. A selection of his signatures are noted on the menu.
We visited the Kingsway location, which is directly across from Metrotown and beside Sushi Garden. Wifey had taekwondo until 6:30pm so we made a later reservation for 7:30. Waddles and I arrived a bit earlier at 7:15, and were asked to wait because our table wasn’t set up.. It was awkward standing there by the entrance but being Valentine’s Day, the busyness was understandable. We did get seated right at 7:30 though.
The service was impressive, especially since it was a holiday. Our waitress was very friendly and even tried to make conversations with us and wow, she’s so gorgeous too! Despite having to run all over the place (might I mention in stilettos), she still took the time to ask us how we’re doing when she passes by. Although we were given a short 1.5hr to dine due to the occasion, we didn’t feel rushed into finishing or anything when it was nearing the end of our time slot.
There was a special Valentine’s Day menu, but for a greater selection we ordered a la carte. We decided on 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and a dessert to share among the four of us, and I would say the portions were definitely more than enough. Our food took around 20 minutes to come but when they did, they came out all at once. It was quite a struggle finding where to begin because everything was served fresh and hot!
Adri loves Yam Fries ($8.25), well who doesn’t love yam fries, so we got an order to share. These were so fresh- nice and crisp on the outside, sinking into a soft, warm bite of yam. Served with these was a garlic aioli. (4/5)
I had a weird craving for Calamari ($12) and after explaining to my company what calamari is (they are very accustomed to Asian cuisine :P), we decided to give those a try. Unfortunately, this was sort of a miss for me. The ratio of calamari to batter for the most part was tiny, and unlike the yam fries, these were missing the crisp and didn’t seem as fresh. Some were almost soggy… Occasionally you would find bigger pieces of calamari, whereas some were pure batter. They were strangely addictive though, and the tzatziki and chipotle aioli were both delicious. I also liked the inclusion of peppers and jalapenos here. (3/5)
Wifey’s one request for the night was pasta, which was easy to satisfy because what casual dining restaurant doesn’t serve pasta? 😛 She picked the Spaghettini + Kobe Style Meatballs ($21), a plate from the Rob Feenie kitchen. The waitress was considerate enough to offer splitting up the food into two portions, which would make sharing a lot easier between us four. Even though it was divided, each plate seriously looked like an entree on its own. While Waddles and Wifey’s plate were scraped clean (gotta restore the energy after TKD!), Adri and I had trouble finishing the last bit of pasta.
Anyways, the spaghettini came with both a tomato sauce and a truffle mushroom cream, and I personally prefer the latter. I’m not even a carbs person, and yet I really enjoyed the pasta, which was cooked perfectly al dente. The kobe meatball was tender and tasty, and it was huge! We were satisfied with only half.. I seriously can’t imagine finishing 2 on my own. On top of everything, the dish was accompanied by some fresh ricotta, and a crostini flavoured with parmesan, garlic and herbs. The bread could’ve been more toasted, I found that it was a little over-saturated and spongy from the grease.. (4/5)
I suggested the Pesto Chicken Quesadilla ($11.25), which didn’t really disappoint despite being on the lower range of price. Plus, it was perfect to share as it was sliced into 4! There is an interesting contrast between the aromatic basil pesto and sweet sundried cranberries, but there could’ve been more cheese to amp it up. Or maybe I just didn’t get much from the end piece that I got.. This came with a honey lime dip, but I went without because I felt that the flavour was good on its own, as well as a bed of crunchy corn tortilla chips. (3.5/5)
For $4.25 more, you have the option to on a caesar salad, organic greens, or yam fries. The healthy side of me asked for some veggies, and we chose the Organic Greens. This was a yummy mix of cabbage, spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, tossed in a tangy lemon-thyme vinaigrette and sprinkled with some almonds and feta cheese. I only wish there was more! (4/5)
Forgot to take a picture of the salad, so credits to Adri for sending me hers.
We took our time finishing the remnants of our food, but of course there’s always room for dessert! Am I right, Waddles? (; This girl’s eyes lit up at the idea of cheesecake, so that’s what we got. The slice of White Chocolate Cheesecake was a thick one, with a whopping dollop of hand whipped cream. I would like more of that raspberry compote though, to balance out the creaminess and richness of the cake. The base was a chocolate cookie crust, which just tasted like oreos to me. Not the most mindblowing dessert, but it satiated our sweet tooth. (3/5)
I would say Galentine’s Day here was a blast. We were surprised to see that the meal rounded out to less than 20 bucks per person, which was reasonable for the amount and quality of food that we received. A funny thing is that they gave us chopsticks.. We didn’t order anything Asian inspired so is it just because we’re Asian? xD Well they were right in their judgement because there goes Wifey eating tortilla chips with chopsticks ahaha.
Love the handwritten thank you and heart on the receipt, how cute is that?
Restaurant site: http://www.cactusclubcafe.com/