The Vancouver Community Collage’s Downtown Campus is not only a great place to further your culinary education but it’s home to great dining options at JJ’s Restaurant. The restaurant is staffed by the Culinary students who spend a period of time working on the front lines learning dining room service, I did a summer working in the dining room during high school and it was a an awesome informative experience. For this lunch I joined Adrian and Jeremy of the Food Gays, we’ve all wanted to dine here for a while and Jeremy is currently doing the pastry arts program at VCC. We were presented with an amazing fresh bread basket with house made focaccia and sunflower seed rolls. The bread was nice and warm-I can remember stocking and keeping the bread warmers filled through out service.
I started with the Avocado and Shrimp Salad ($4). This dish was beautifully plated and great value for the price. Upon digging into the salad I wish they used more seasoning and the oxidized avocado didn’t do it for me as well.
Seeing the Food Gays are doing Meatless Movember and raising money for Movember Jeremy had the Salmon, Prawn and Scallion Cake with Thai Lemon Grass Sauce ($4). This dish was not hot temperature wise or spice wise. I gave the dish a taste and found the curry nice flavor wise but slightly flat, the seafood cake was yummy though. For the price I thought this dish was alright overall.
We all shared the Fraser Valley Greens with Golden Beets, Feta Cheese, Candied Pecans, and Truffle Vinaigrette ($4). This dish wasn’t a hit with us, the truffle oil completely overwhelmed the other ingredients and I thought the amount and size of beet was way to small. The candied pecans on the other hand were delicious.
Adrian had the Crispy Vancouver Island Octopus and Winter Greens ($4). I tried some of this and loved it, hands down the best appetizer out of the bunch. The batter on the octopus had nice crunch and each piece was nice and tender. The sauce for the octopus was a mix of sweet chili with a nice bit of heat.
Adrian’s main was the Artichoke and Wild Mushroom Bolognaise with Tagliatelle Pasta ($8). I didn’t try any but here’s what Adrian thought, “This was good, if not kind of basic. The flavours were a little dull, and we were hoping for more of a mushroom punch, which felt lacking. The Bolognaise sauce was seasoned nicely however, and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente.”
My choice was the Lamb 2 Ways ($10). This wonderful dish had a great tower of slow roasted leg of lamb with some seared lamb loin along with a rosemary jus, pomme puree and vegetables. The veggies and potatoes were all cooked nicely but the squash puree swipe on the plate was dried out. The meats were both cooked well with a good amount of moisture left and the rosemary jus brought everything together with a nice depth of flavor.
Jeremy had the Pan Seared Scallops with Truffle Potato Gnocchi and Crispy Artichokes ($10). Again I didn’t try any of this but the boy really liked it, “The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the truffle potato gnocchi tasted light and complimented well.”
Adrian devoured the Pavlova with Cranberry’s and Lemon Curd ($3).
Jeremy enjoyed the Belgian Chocolate Marquise with Caramel Espresso Ice Cream ($3), I tried his and the ice cream is AMAZING combined with the rich chocolate.
My choice was the Lemon Mousse with fresh Raspberry’s ($3). This was our servers recommendation since the pumpkin tart wasn’t available. The mousse itself was exceptionally light and airy, not overly sweet with the level of tartness being darn near perfect. The berry swipe on my plate was also like my lamb’s swipe-dry.
Overall we really enjoyed our meal and would come back to try the menu when they change it for the season. Our meal came to $55 for everything for the value can’t be beat, the dining room was packed all through service so reservations are HIGHLY recommended. They offer a 3 course set menu dinner service for $24/person which is something to also keep in mind if you can’t make it for lunch. you can learn more about VCC here.