A review of Cannibal Cafe
By KP Davis, Contributor
There’s a wealth of gourmet hamburger places in Vancouver where you can fill your face with cow flesh. They range from large chains like Red Robin, to local franchises like Vera’s Burger Shack, to small single-location eateries. Always on the hunt for a good burger, I was very pleased when I took a break from cruising the Drive on a hot summer day to pop into the Cannibal Cafe.
The decor reminded me of some shady music venue, the good kind where cheap beer and loud music are endemic. Classic silk-screened posters plastered the walls from the green ceiling to the light wooden floors, with more posters of upcoming events adhered to the bar in a less-permanent fashion.
I started my meal off with a pint of Parallel 49’s Gypsy Tears—a tart red ale with just a little hop—and a small dish of fries. The fries were an interesting take on chilli cheese fries, with a pair of small burger patties, caramelized onions that weren’t overly sweet, American and cheddar cheese, and their signature cannibal sauce which had a nice balance of mustard and vinegar to set the dish in the right direction.
When my friend arrived, she ordered the Black Forest shake—an alcoholic concoction of black cherry vodka and chocolate. The shake came out deliciously lumpy and thick rather than smooth. The flavour was perfect and it brought back memories of black forest trifle at my family’s summer BBQ. Our dishes came, the Kowabunga burger and a custom turkey burger on a gluten-free bun. The cranberry relish seemed to fight with itself: too relishy and not enough cranberry.
The side salad was amazing for a side salad: a mix of greens with cranberry and goat cheese, with a very citrusy punch to the dressing. The yam fries were okay, served with spicy mayo and pretty standard. The gluten-free bun had a dry biscuit taste unlike anything else I’d ever encountered. The turkey patty was good, lean and delicate, but just a little dry. The Kowabunga burger was stacked high with toppings and exploded in a delicious mess when I bit in. It wasn’t until I had bitten in that I got the joke, as it was like feasting on a big sloppy pepperoni and beef pizza (get it? Cow…).
I must admit, the Cannibal Cafe makes one of the best burger patties I’ve ever had. A delicate mix of brisket, short-rib, and chuck that balances out perfectly without being too greasy. An amazing staff pairs with a wonderful setting for a fleshy binge fest. And don’t let the name fool you—they make a great veggie patty too. The Cannibal Cafe can be found at 1818 Commercial Drive, in Vancouver.