Kamome Japanese Bistro
5288 Joyce Street
BY PAUL REID
Unlike most Japanese restaurants in Vancouver these days (which at last count was over 600), Kamome is not your run-of-the-mill, Chinese-run, sushi restaurant. No. Owner/chef Mika Walker is of true Japanese origin, from Osaka, and – surprise – you won’t even find sushi at Kamome. What? No sushi? What else is there you may be asking. If this is you, then I especially urge you to visit Kamome and find out.
As a Canadian who had the unique pleasure of living in Japan for 18 months, I can tell you that Kamome is the real deal. This is where the Japanese will be going to get their fix of food like mama used to make. And for the rest of us – we, too, can thank our lucky stars that we live in such a multi-ethnic metropolis as Renfrew-Collingwood, where we can find the real deals from all over the world on our doorstep.
The Kamome menu offers a wide selection of seafood, meat and vegetable onigiri that ranges from $2.50-$3.50 each. Onigiri is a Japanese fast food that is a rice ball wrapped in seaweed with various ingredients in the middle.
There is also a wide variety of donburi, which is a Japanese rice bowl dish with various toppings and sauces. Chicken Teri Don ( chicken with teriyaki sauce), Unagi Don (fresh water eel with teriyaki sauce), Ikura Don (salted salmon roe), Ebi Ten Don (Prawn tempura with tempura sauce) are a few of the choices ranging from $4-$6 for a small and $7-$12 for the larger bowls.
Next, it is my pleasure to tell you of Mika’s very own creation – the Ja-panini. This is Kamome’s original grilled rice sandwich that comes in many delicious varieties like chicken, beef, prawn, salmon or unagi (fresh-water eel) with various vegetables and sauces. These carefully crafted combinations are wrapped with rice and seaweed and then grilled with a panini press.
I can tell you first hand that the Smoked Salmon Ja-panini is killer! The salmon along with asparagus, red pepper, lettuce and cream cheese was the perfect combination. Although the inspiration is clearly Japanese, I am sure that you will agree that the Salmon Ja-panini screams “west-coast classic.” Way to go Mika – your Ja-panini invention is an important culinary discovery and I look forward to trying them all.
Another specialty of Kamome, and even better than sushi, are the Rice Canapés (pictured below). Wikipedia tells us that a canapé is a type of hors d’œuvre – a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. You can sample the five varieties of rice canapé for $12, or you can order an entire party tray of 25 rice canapés for $50.
Also at Kamome are side dishes like Hiya Yakko (cold tofu); Edamame (boiled green soybeans); Ikura Oroshi (salmon roe and radish) and potato soup.
For dessert, try the red bean muffin and green tea ice cream. I have been hearing good things about the ice cream shakes that come in vanilla, green tea and azuki (red bean) $5.
Kamome Japanese Bistro is Mika’s first restaurant. Kamome means “seagull” in Japanese and Mika named it that as “it is like summer, warm and cozy.” Well, I never had connected seagulls with warm and cozy before, but having been to Mika’s restaurant, Kamome, I believe it is the perfect name. Go taste the fresh, homemade goodness for yourself and say hello to Mika for me. Bon appetit.
Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News