Happy Tree House BBQ (Vancouver): Skewers!
Happy Tree House BBQ recently opened up a location in Vancouver (they have another location in Richmond). Known for their BBQ skewers and whole fish dishes, they now occupy the site of the former Star Anise and Samosa Garden in a small mini mall on Kingsway known for their incredulous parking.
We arrived for an early dinner on a Friday and were surprised at how busy this place got. The interior is quite bright, open, and airy with large tvs hanging from one wall and loud music blaring throughout the restaurant. There are a few private rooms in the back but the main dining area is comprised of tables and benches.
You order by marking your preferences on an order sheet. The thing to know about their skewers is that they have minimum orders for each type of skewer so you can’t just order 1 skewer of this and 1 skewer of that. Most of the skewers have a minimum order of 5 so things can get expensive quickly. This is probably a better place to go if you have more people in your group. We looked at the price of the whole fish dishes but didn’t think we’d be able to finish it by ourselves.
Instead, we wound up ordering a few different things… such as the Pickled Cucumbers ($4.95) which were coated in a spicy sauce and had a mildly sour taste.
One of the dishes that I really liked was the Eggplant ($4.95) which were thinly sliced and super tender.
Suffice it to say, most of the items here have some spicy element to it. Take, for example, the Squid Tentacles ($7.95). You wouldn’t really know it by the description on the menu but this came with a pleasant and not too spicy marinade.
Next up were the Prawns ($2.95 each, min 2). As expected, most of the flavour is on the shell so you have to suck on these before you deshell them. That also helps to keep your fingers from getting too messy. The prawns were fairly large and meaty.
The Sweet Corn ($1.50 each) is something that I’d probably pass on as it was quite dry.
Now, on to the skewers… The Special Lamb Kebabs ($1.50 each, min 5) were the first to arrive and were brought out on metal skewers. I thought they were pretty good… they weren’t overly dry but they did have some fatty bits to it. Their skewers are served dry (ie. without sauce) but they have a couple of jars of spices at the table that you can use (cumin and chili powder I think).
We also ordered their Angus Beef Skewers ($1.99 each, min 5) and Chicken Wings ($2.50 per skewer, min 2). The beef, served on wooden skewers, proved to be a bit more difficult to pull off the skewer as the meat was drier and harder. These definitely could have used some sauce (we wound up using the sauce from the squid tentacles dish). The chicken wings were okay but I wish that they had actual chicken skewers here.
We wound up ordering some Scallops as well ($4.50 each, min 2). They were dusted with some salt and pepper seasoning which I wasn’t a fan of. Again, we used the sauce from the squid tentacles dish and that really helped.
Overall, there’s some pretty good dishes here but the prices can soar quickly. Also, they keep the music loud here so it’s difficult to carry on a conversation without yelling, which adds to the din in the room.
We decided to come back for a revisit a couple of months later and made sure to show up early as it fills up quick in here. As expected, the parking lot was already full when we showed up but we managed to find street parking nearby. We started off our meal with a watermelon juice ($3) and an iced red tea ($2.50) to go along with our plate of Spicy Pickled Cucumbers ($4.95), Grilled Eggplant ($4.95), and Yam Chips ($4.95). We’ve enjoyed the cucumber and eggplant here before and were pleased that they were still on point. The yam chips turned out to be a larger dish than we expected and we wound up having to take some of them home. The chips were mainly crispy with a few pieces that turned a bit soggy due to the drizzle on top.
The slightly sweet and spicy Prawns here ($2.95 each, min 2) are large and in charge so we made sure to order 4 of them. Yes, they’re messy to eat but well worth the sticky fingers.
We added a big pot of Spicy Fish Balls ($15) which included 15 skewers of double-stacked fish balls in a deliciously spicy broth.
For our skewers, we picked up some Angus Beef ($1.99 each, min 5), Fish Tofu ($1.75 each), Sausage ($1.99 each and which was basically a hot dog), and Steamed Buns ($1.50 each, min 2).
I was pleasantly surprised that they grilled the steamed buns but these don’t hold up well as leftovers. Overall, another happy meal at Happy Tree House… just wish that it wasn’t so loud here.
Posted on August 17, 2018, in BBQ, Chinese, Restaurant Review and tagged Angus Beef, BBQ, Chinese, Eggplant, Fish Balls, Fish Tofu, Food, Killarney, Lamb, restaurant review, Skewers, Squid Tentacles, Vancouver, Yam Chips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.