Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sunshine Diner

After another facial date with C'est la vie a Maggi, my choice for breakfast was at Moderne Diner. Although unfortunately, the restaurant was closed for a week so we walked down the street to Sunshine Diner. No idea why but when I think of Sunshine Diner, Smile Diner on West Pender stands out to me and I expected sort of an old run down interior. However, this is the opposite. The interior is clean and the restaurant has an upbeat atmosphere.

Walking in, there is an aroma of beef patties and breakfast food but the restaurant is well ventilated. Sunshine Diner has a vintage hollywood theme and there are paintings as well portraits of Elvis, James Dean, Lucille Ball, Marilyn and The Beatles. The interior looks fun and is something different. There are red, blue as well as checkered walls, red vinyl booth seats and a jukebox. Furthermore, the televisions are tuned to the sports channel and episodes of I Love Lucy.

As for the food, the restaurant offers very generic diner fare. There are the usual breakfast items like egg benedict, omelettes and sandwiches, as well as burgers and milkshakes. Speaking of milkshakes...

The price for the milkshakes may be considered higher than many places, but the portion is literally double. We ordered one milkshake and the kitchen split the order for us, without having to request. The milkshake is thick, not too sweet, and has a creamy vanilla hard ice cream flavour. Out of a few I have tried, I still prefer Save On Meat's for that nice vanilla bean flavour but Sunshine Diner's is not bad.

Sunshine Diner offers the choice of mixing and matching the orders of bennies, which is great for those (like us) who want to sample more than one.

Starting with the sides, fresh fruit and either a choice of home fries or french fries are available. We ordered the home fries. The fries are not crispy but tastes moist and pillowy on the inside. I find them very generic and would have preferred a crisp exterior. As for the fresh fruit, there is a large variety. The selection includes orange, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, banana, peach, pineapple and kiwi. Considering the price for two bennies and a couple of large sides, the price is very reasonable.

Going for the savoury benny first, the crust bursted from the side when cutting. Regardless, the yolk is perfectly runny. Okay, maybe not "regardless" because I am anal when it comes to bennies. I honestly do not know why, but I need the yolk to ooze out from only the cut (obviously it is not a big deal at all). Asides from the poached egg, the English muffin tastes very hard and was hard to cut through. It was funny because at the same time without knowing, we both checked if the bottom was burnt and they were not. As for the ingredients, none of the meats taste salty or overcooked as in crunchy. In addition, the hollandaise tastes very light. 

Ending with the sweeter benny and like the above, the poached egg is perfectly runny but the hollandaise sauce tastes weak. There is no buttery or rich flavour and could have used more acidity. Although to be fair, I prefer a bland hollandaise than an overwhelming creamy one. As for the pineapple, it is nicely grilled and tastes sweet. Also, similar to the Elvis, the English muffin tastes very hard. Perhaps they were not properly stored and have been exposed to air for too long?

You had me at "charbroiled burgers, hand ground and shaped top + tip sirloin grilled on charcoal".

Continuing to our "lunch" portion of the meal, every burger includes a salad and a choice of french fries or home fries like the bennies. Fresh fruit is also available for $2.45. Starting with the salad, there is a raspberry vinaigrette and Maggi asked if she could pour the dressing. Without sounding like an annoying picky eater, I said yes and the dressing does not taste very appealing. The dressing tastes sweet and syrupy, rather than like a vinaigrette. The consistency resembles cough syrup too. As for the fries, they are thicker than shoestring, perfectly crispy and pillowy on the inside.

Moving to the quality burger, the beef patty is thick, well seasoned and has a great char. I may have picked up the half with more aioli because Maggi found the burger dry and even with the addition of extra ketchup on the side, she could not finish it. As for the other ingredients, there is fresh ripe avocado, quality crispy bacon (not crunchy and hard) and tomato as well as cheddar cheese. The burger tastes moist but not juicy, and could have used more aioli.

TOTAL: $37.65 + TIP $6.35 = $44.00.

Overall, Sunshine Diner has a fun atmosphere and is one of the very few themed restaurants in Vancouver. From the exterior to the dining room and through the hallway to the washrooms, the interior resembles a diner from the fifties and sixties. Even the washroom doors have painted faces of Elvis and Lucille Ball!

As for the food, Sunshine Diner uses quality ingredients but we found the food very average. The restaurant is one of those "try for the heck of it" or in the area kind of thing. However, the prices are reasonable and the sides are fairly big, we did not even finish half of them. In addition, our waitress was great and checked up on us once. She was the only enthusiastic, friendly and welcoming staff at the restaurant (wish we got her name!).

- Fun atmosphere
- Good value and quality ingredients
- Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable of the menu

- Food could be better

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 3.5/5

Sunshine Diner on Urbanspoon

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