I have been dying to go to Basho for a bajillion eons.
It all started back when some uni friends and I decided we’d make the trek out to east Van to try it out.
(Exactly one bajillion years ago. I know.)
We had taken the long bus out. It had been closed. We then tried another place. It, too, was closed. We ended up at Miku.
Basho has awful hours for those with regular school and work schedules. They close at four and are open only on weekdays. They close on holidays. Any holiday, really. Christmas? Closed. Remembrance day? Also closed. International donut day? Probably that too.
Anyway. We arrived, on a non holiday weekday, at around lunchtime. We hadn’t eaten much in the morning, so we were starved.
Cute little section of the café that sells handmade goods.
Basho has a solid drink menu, but not much in the way of meal options. For lunch, you get a pick of three different mains, either on rice or salad: pulled pork, tuna tataki, or vegetarian.
Basho’s matcha latte. Very matcha-y, so don’t expect anything sweet! *Cough* Like Puiyee did…
I knew the matcha latte would be too bitter for me. I like matcha mixed with white chocolate for a sweeter drink, but they don’t offer that option here at Basho. I got a hot chocolate instead!
Seating is minimal. All the good spots with excellent lighting were taken.
We all ordered the Lunch Set. We all chose pulled pork, too, although Puiyee went with a bed of salad instead of rice.
The lunch set includes the $9 teri pulled pork on rice, and a small dish of veggies, a cup of soup, plate of sweets, and a drink all for an additional $6. It’s a good deal for a tasty, filling meal.
Our soup was cream of cauliflower, poured into a small cup and accompanied by a small wooden spoon. After waiting for and photographing the food, a starving Adrian downed the cup and inhaled the salad before decimating half his pulled pork in less than a minute. Years ago, before my time as The Third Friend, Puiyee nicknamed him “pig” and I honestly can see why.
Puiyee and I, who were also starving, took a little more time appreciating our food. I really enjoyed the pulled pork, which came with sides of carrot and cooked apple–the apple added interesting sweet notes to the rice & sour pork experience.
That left us with the sweets. Basho has them piled adorably behind an adorable display case by the cash register. They are adorable. If I haven’t said so already.
Most of them have matcha and/or sesame flavourings. With the lunch set, you get an assortment of what they have to offer. You can buy them individually for ~$1-2 each, if you want to take some home!
The sesame cookie.
The sweets were cute and fun to try, but I wouldn’t buy them outside of the lunch set. They have very average textures and flavours, though if you’re a big matcha fan maybe you’d forgo the my-preteenage-cousin-baked-these-for-me vibe we got while munching on the cookies. The brownies & madelines had curious spongy, moist-yet-dry textures but were a bit bland. I ate them while still finishing off my main dish, tempering them with the flavourful pork.
The lunch set at Basho is overall filling–and worth the price! But the biggest highlights aren’t about the food. I admittedly understand the Vancouver Foodie brain. Shame, I know… eating is not about the aesthetic, it’s about the quality of food, yes yes BUT Basho is undeniably really damn photogenic.
Oh, it’s a good café for matcha fans too. Coffee fans. Easy lunch fans. But it’s one of those places where the people who go tend to want more than just the enjoyment of the food, you know? Which is perfectly fine. If you find yourself at Basho one day, I’d recommend trying your hand at some amateur food photography too.
So! After a year of waiting it out, the three of us finally had lunch at Basho. Some of us enjoyed our meal–another probably doesn’t remember how anything tasted because he ate so veraciously–and if we were in the area again, sure, we’d go back.
Besides, Adrian only spent half the time eating as he did photographing. If Puiyee’s patience holds through, I’m sure we could push that ratio to 1:3.