A no messing around guide to the coolest things to eat, drink and do in Vancouver and beyond. Community. Not clickbait.

What To Order At Chinatown’s New “Mamie Taylor’s”


by Andrew Morrison | We’ve printed plenty about Mamie Taylor’s already, from the arc of its journey toward opening day to the coming of its Great Wall. What we have yet to do, however, is write a word about the food. I suppose the owners – Simon Kaulback and Ron Oliver – are such well known bartenders (formerly of Boneta and The Diamond, respectively) that the tasty plays on Americana from Chef Tobias Grignon (ex-Bistro Pastis) were always going to take a back seat to their Tequila Boulevardiers, Pisco Punches, Sazeracs, Mai Tais, Brown Derby’s [2], and Mojitos [8]. But the truth of it is the kitchen is cranking out good, honest eats at fair prices – dishes are in the $3.5 to $22 range – and they should be up front and driving the new restaurant’s reputation instead of the drinks.

The deep fried olives stuffed with blue cheese and saddled with currants, for instance, are worthy of particular praise. Just look at ’em [1]. It’s not easy to make olives any sexier than they already are when stark naked, but these little jobs – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and killing it with great flavour – are the second best olive treatments going in Vancouver (second only to addictive, super smoky gems available at Wildebeest). Also on the small-but-delicious side is the bbq duck and foie gras terrine [4], even though I’d happily dump the brioche (everyone does that) and sub-in the spiced cornbread slab and biscuit wedge [5] for heartier, more flavourful tools to attack terrine with. The biscuits are repeated on the Fried Chicken plate [7], which comes with a forgetful mustard green and pepita salad that looks and tastes awkwardly out of place. The dish is all about the salad, which just confuses the hell out of my chicken-eatin’ mouth. The watermelon is a nice, electric addition, but I’ll hold out for whipped potatoes and gravy before I order this again (a shame really, as the chicken is fantastic).

One thing that I will order again and again is the burger, a thickset six ouncer of sirloin and brisket on a sesame seed bun loaded with melted fontina cheese, tomato relish, house-made yellow mustard, mayonnaise, pickles and raw white onions [3]. Was it better than the bacon burger at Pourhouse? Yes. As good as the Angus burger at Edible Canada? Just by a hair, though Edible Canada makes much better fries to accompany theirs (in duck fat, yeah, for the win). Is it better than the Leerdammer cheeseburger that still looms like a ghost over the now defunct Au Petit Chavignol? Of course not. But to date, Mamie’s burger is my favourite item on their menu, and the best burger I’ve had so far in 2013. I don’t want to call it Vancouver’s “best” before I’ve had it a few more times and find it’s up to it (glad to, thanks), but it’s damn fine and simple, which I appreciate to no end, with all of its components perfectly apportioned and ably doing their own particular tasks in the mouth (except for the Fontina, which lazily spreads itself over everything like a slob). Ugh, just writing about it is making me pine, so forgive me for moving on to something just as good…

Four words: Veal Tongue Monte Cristo [11]. Say it like a mantra. Wear it on a shirt. Whisper it slowly in your lover’s ear. It’s a tiny, adorable thing – a starter, really – but it has tremendous impact on the palate, and the dollop of accompanying house-made Thousand Islands dressing lends a not unwelcome Reuben touch that softens the salty licks of the sandwich (were it any larger it would probably overwhelm).

And speaking of perfectly-sized items…the saucy, coriander-licked, bacon-infused meatballs in triplicate are served [10] a la Goldilocks (any more and you’d feel a pig, any less and you’d feel cheated). Every dish I’ve mentioned so far has been meaty, so I’ll close with the bright salad of carrots and beets [9]. The roasted roots are firm on the molars but give way nicely, with lashings of feta, citrus and mint creating a brighter envelope of base flavours. It’s the most colourful dish on the menu; more than just a reluctant afterthought nod to the many who aren’t red in tooth and claw.

I’ve already shown you the room (see the shots below — taken just before opening day). It’s cavernous and bricky, stocked with good tunes and lined with dead animals who look more bemused and confused than ferociously concerned about the conspicuous consumption of their distant brethren (though that duck by the bar looks somewhat nervous). The big takeaways are that the drinks are not as expensive as most of our cocktail-forward joints (hooray), and that Grignon’s food is dirt cheap when you consider the quality of his cooking (it really should be the star of the show). Kaulback and Oliver are two idiosyncratic personalities. The fact they’ve never owned a restaurant before might show with the occasional service mishap (waters slow to be refilled, etc. – nothing serious), but it’s early days yet and they deserve a hearing beyond their expertise with booze. Get in now and you’re golden.

  • IMG_7365
  • IMG_7382
  • Mamie Taylor's
  • IMG_7386
  • IMG_7394
  • IMG_7397
  • IMG_7399
  • IMG_7404
  • IMG_7408
  • IMG_7413
  • IMG_7418
  • IMG_7422
  • IMG_7430
  • IMG_7435
  • IMG_7442
  • IMG_7449
  • IMG_7461
  • IMG_7464
  • IMG_7470
  • IMG_7502
  • IMG_7370
  • IMG_7500
  • IMG_7409
  • IMG_7507
  • IMG_7481
  • IMG_7505
  • IMG_7479
  • IMG_7380
  • IMG_7415
  • IMG_7509
  • IMG_7513
  • IMG_7521
  • IMG_7527
  • IMG_7548
  • IMG_7534
  • IMG_7563
  • IMG_7539
  • IMG_7549
  • IMG_7592
  • IMG_7567
  • IMG_7590
  • IMG_7571
  • IMG_7575
  • IMG_7519
  • IMG_7578
  • IMG_7595
  • IMG_7611
  • IMG_7599
  • IMG_7542

251 East Georgia Street | 604-620-8818 | mamietaylors.ca | Mon-Sat 5pm – Midnight


There are 6 comments

  1. Ok, I am eager to eat here and support the neighborhood (i live in railtown). However, please take the watermelon off of your fried chicken entree. Having grown up in the deep south the only time you heard the term “chicken and watermelon” were in the context of racist Jim Crow era stereotypes of black people. No chef in the south would EVER think of putting chicken and watermelon on the same dish for fear of insulting someone. If you want to learn more about the history of why this would offend read this site on the history of Jim Crow and the rascist past of the “chicken and watermelon” stereotype..
    Please take it off before you insult an african american diner.
    And while I am at it, Pekinpah please take that damn steer head off your “Carolina BBQ” establishment. Everyone from the south laughs their ass off when they see this sign. The Carolinas are pig country.

  2. Thank you for perpetuating the stereotype, Clifford. I had never heard of it previously.

  3. Attention all chinatown restaurants,
    please take rice off your menus because there is a stereotype that orientals eat rice and they might be offended if you served them rice to eat with chopsticks.

    It’s just food people.

    I said orientals.

  4. should we not eat chop suey or indian salmon candy either? People are racist not food.

  5. We got a whole lot of southerners who laughed their asses off reading about a guy who goes online and doesn’t know the difference between a longhorn steer and a buffalo. KUDOS to Cliff “Clavin” Scott.

An Updated List of Where to Grab a Weekday Breakfast Around Vancouver

We've compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of our go-to breakfast joints to share with you, where you can get something beyond coffee and a muffin.

Vancouver’s Best Fries: Nine Versions

Although the origin of French fries may be implied in their name (more likely, Belgian, though), the food has since been picked up and modified by almost every cuisine going. Here are our choices for some of the best versions in Vancouver.

Expert Intel on Vancouver Area Dumplings

William Liu from Kam Wai Dim Sum shares his favourite dumplings and where to get them just in time for Year Of The Dragon celebrations.

The Tricky Business of Finding Vancouver Restaurants Open on Monday

It's the beginning of the week. You want to meet friends for a meal (or just don't want to cook), but so many restaurants are closed that figuring out where to go only leads to frustration, compromise, or a sad frozen pizza... No more! This updated guide is here to help.