I found out about Ugly Dumpling because it is a contender for Air Canada’s Enroute Magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year”. Vancouver is lacking some serious representation on this list. There are only two restaurants out of 35 nominated from Vancouver. There is just something about the city that is not supportive of new and innovative places. Its rare to see a new restaurant opening that would get me excited for months or even years!
Anyway, here was the menu:
We started with the eggplant and shishito peppers marinated in dashi. I was disappointed in this dish because it was a cold dish. Taste was just ok, and the portion was way too big.
Next, something the restaurant is known for – dumplings. Surprisingly, there is only one type of dumpling on offer each day. They were ok, but not amazing. For dumplings, I would rather go to a more traditional place.
After that we had the uni on rice. I saw a picture of this on Instagram, and was excited to try it. It fell short of expectations. The rice lacked seasoning as did the Ikura. The uni was delicious, but that’s hard to mess up.
For meat, we tried the pork katsu. This was good and well cooked, but nothing unique. In order to be the “Restaurant of the Year” in Canada, I believe they will have to do more.
Lastly, for dessert, coconut moshi cake with umeboshi caramel. This WAS very delicious and innovative. I loved that they used umeboshi in the caramel. The acidity balanced the sweetness. I wish they did this type of stuff in their savory dishes.
Overall, the service was ok, and the food was decent. Its a good neighborhood place, and if I lived in the neighborhood, I would return. However, I believe that to be “Restaurant of the Year” across Canada, a place has to be a destination, and this unfortunately, is not. 7/10