Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Thyme to Indulge- A New Lunch Spot in Mount Pleasant

2858 Main Street
Vancouver, BC

Tastiness factor: 7.5/10

Atmosphere: 3.5/5

Service: 3/5

Locavore approved? Not quite- There was a few hints of locally-inspired food, mostly when it came to my salad.  I was pleased to see green beans, potatoes and tomatoes which are at their peak of freshness right now.  The menu is obviously not built around the local philosophy, with lots of more winter-like dishes, heavy on cheese and rich meats like braised short ribs and pork belly.  Perhaps they might consider lightening it up a bit for summer, using the bounty of fresh produce that is now so abundant!

Main St., once considered by many as the shabby, run-down, hipster area of town, is now really coming into its own.  Home buyers are sweeping up properties that they hope to make great returns on down the road as the area becomes increasingly sought after, and fortunately the food scene is following suit.  In the first few years that I lived in Vancouver, I do not recall ever venturing over to Main St. but over the past year, with the addition of so many great new spots (49th Parallel, Matchstick, Acorn, Burdock and Co., Grub, etc), it has certainly made its way onto my foodie radar. 

This has become especially true over the past month since I have been working over near Main St. and have had more of a chance to explore it even more.  Work lunches are a special treat in this area, with lots of different options to choose from as well as the constant opening of new restaurants. 

On a recent Friday afternoon, my colleagues and I decided to venture out to Main St. for lunch.  I was happy to let them choose the restaurant since they regularly work in the area and have had a chance to scope out many of the lunch hotspots.  Instead of choosing one of the "tried and true" places however, they chose the new kid on the block, Thyme to Indulge, which had newly opened just a couple of weeks before

Thyme to Indulge (cute name, by the way!) is located at Main and 13th.  It consists of the small restaurant space where we had lunch, as well as a large catering kitchen in the back.  They serve breakfast and lunch daily, as well as weekend brunch.  The restaurant space is, as one of my lunch companions called it, quite "girly" with its white and pastel colour scheme and feminine decor.  The decor reminds me quite a bit of Butter Bakery in Mackenzie Heights, one of my favourite Vancouver bakeries, and although I like that clean and dainty look, I think it works better on Mackenzie Heights (near Kerrisdale) than it does in Mount Pleasant.  Although this area is becoming more diverse, it certainly still has a "hipster" feel to it which is captured to at least come degree in the other new restaurants that have laid down roots there.  The small space is used quite efficiently with a good numbers of tables filling the main room, as well as a little alcove on the side with a counter and stools looking out the window where we sat.  The window unfortunately looks out at a concrete lot and the Dairy Queen next door but they have done their best to put a few nice tables in the lot to fancy things up a little.  Overall, they have done a nice job with the space, but it remains to be seen how this traditionally "hipster" neighbourhood responds to it!

When speaking about the service, one must keep in mind that the restaurant had been opened for only a couple of weeks when we visited and therefore there were still some kinks to be worked out.  The young all-female servers, who all wore cute patterned aprons looked a bit flustered and had to come back a second time to verify our order, and our food took quite a while to arrive.  Having said that, the servers were all extremely gracious and very accommodating.  I am sure they will improve once they get a few more weeks under their belts!
Their lunch menu is comprised of sharing appies salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers and desserts.  Prices are reasonable for lunch, mostly around the $12 mark.  Here were our selections:

Thyme's Nicoise Salad- This was my choice which I selected because of its seasonal ingredients (tomatoes, green beens, potatoes) and my yearning for light, summertime flavours.  It may look like a small portion but it was surprisingly substantial with a hearty mix of egg, tuna, potato, olives and avocado.  It was dressed in a robust vinaigrette that stood up well to the big flavours (perhaps just a tad overdressed for my liking).  The tuna was very fresh but cooked more than the "rare" that I had requested.  Overall though, this was a very well-conceived summer dish.

The Jerk- My work colleague was quite pleased with this sandwich, piled high with sous-vide chicken breast, grilled pineapple, avocado, mango chutney and a Dijon aioli.  Although the sandwich made for a nice summer lunch with its mix of spice and fruit flavours, it was her side of fries that really stole the show.  Let me tell you, and i am not exaggerating, these parsley-tossed fries were some of the best fries I have ever tasted.  I am not the biggest fry fan in the universe, but I know I great fry when I taste one and feel like I want to eat the whole basket (it took real restraint not to, but luckily my co-worker shared!). Crispy on the outside with a hint of parsley and soft on the inside, like every great fry should be. And the crispy bits at the bottom of their newspaper wrapping? Sinful.  If you go to Thyme to Indulge for no other reason, go to get some fries!

 Roasted Vegetable and Mozzarella Sandwich- My other colleague ordered this sandwich, one of the only vegetarian options on the menu, and was once again quite satisfied.  She appreciated that the veggies (eggplant, zucchini, roma tomato) were nicely grilled (not at all soggy).  The sandwich was finished with a nice basil pesto and bocconcini cheese.  She also chose the side of fried, which I could go on and on about (see above) but I will spare you except to say that they are AWESOME!

Although we did imbibe in any desserts on our lunchtime visit, I did note that they had quite an extensive assortment of desserts including a vast assortment of pretty macaroons in all kinds of different flavours.  I will have to swing by some day on my way home to try one!

Overall, my co-workers and I had a very pleasant lunch at Thyme to Indulge and I would certainly be inclined to return again for lunch.  There are still a few "growing pains" to work out, as with any new restaurant, but I think that they are on the right track to becoming yet another great lunch option in the ever-growing Mount Pleasant food scene.

And whatever you do, order the fries!!!

Thyme to Indulge Bistro on Urbanspoon

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