Big Taste Calgary at Anju Restaurant
When I found out the what was really ailing me was the flu and not just a common cold, I almost had hubby bring a co worker of his to replace me at our Big Taste YYC Anju lunch event. Almost. I really didn’t want to miss out but I really had absolutely no energy and an extremely limited sense of taste. I knew if there was any chef worth getting out of bed for, it would have to be Chef Roy Oh. I sucked it up, took a whole bunch of medication, and went with the original plan. As mentioned previously, I usually like to buy singular tickets to the Big Taste YYC lunch events and just mingle with others, but in this case I knew hubby would be extremely upset if he wasn’t included this time. He really loves Anju (and for him to be so particular is not the norm) and I think a big reason for this is that he feels he can safely leave his dining experience in the hands of the chef. I don’t think we are alone when we say that we’ll gladly eat whatever Chef Roy Oh is dishing out…his restaurant is always full of satisfied customers.
First up was a puck size (hey, I’m Canadian you know!) Oshisushi featuring Salmon and Tuna. Oshisushi is a type of sushi that has been compressed, giving it a more silky smooth texture. I didn’t taste much of the sushi or the avocado mousse, but the textural elements were definitely not lost on me. Maybe I enjoyed the textural aspect a bit more because I was ill, then if I were completely healthy. What I was able to taste was the stellar gochujang vinagrette. So spicy, sweet, and sour…very well balanced and with enough flavour for me to enjoy!
Our second dish consisted of ‘last year’s’ protein (according to John Gilchrist) but I really didn’t care because to me pork belly is classic. Both hubby and I were squirming with anticipation when this little dish was placed in front of us. Crunchy chicharon, pickled garlic chives, deep fried pork belly, and a perfectly balanced sweet and sour broth. It’s really all I needed. The deep fried pork belly had an amazing melt in your mouth consistency with a bit of stickiness, but what I really loved and needed was that broth. Hubby was embarrassed that I picked up the bowl and drank it but that hot vinegar really cleaned out my sinuses. Thanks Chef Roy!
After the first two amazing dishes I was a bit less enamoured with the main we were served. Of course the flavours were superb on the marinated steak and it was perfectly cooked so no complaints there. It just didn’t have the usual Roy Oh magic. I thought a bit about why this dish fell flat for me and I think it’s because I’ve grown used to the ‘Korean tapas’ or small dishes packed with flavour that Chef Roy Oh is famous for. This ‘meat & veg’ dish is not really something that I would order when I visit Anju as it’s very similar to a dish I would make at home.
After our main was served hubby was getting a little antsy as he had a 2 pm meeting. He ended up leaving just before dessert was served so he missed out on these adorable little ice cream sandwiches. Made with creamy vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between two dark chocolate gochujang spiked cookies, they were the perfect ending to our lunch at Anju.
344 17 Ave SW