Bon Bon Culture Club is brought to you by the people who just took Liholiho Yacht Club from us, but luckily we can now forgive them. Where Liholiho served a mix of Hawaiian/Californian dishes, drawn from chef/owner Ravi Kapur’s own culinary lineage, the Good Good Culture Club brings us the whole Asian diaspora: Filipino, Laotian, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indian notes , etc. , can be found in Chief Kapur’s new venture. There is something for every taste.
Chef Kapur enlisted Chefs Kevin Keovanpheng and Brett Shaw to help create and synthesize another original and eclectic menu. The bright, sunny decor of the restaurant itself hasn’t changed much; indeed, they opened Good Good so close to Liholiho that the new paint would barely have had time to dry.
Lydia Chávez, local editor of Intrepid Mission, and I recently sat outside on the lovely rooftop terrace and started with cocktails. We then over-ordered, just so we could bring back as much food as possible for you, our dear readers. donors; that’s who we are.
We started with the homemade sinigang flavored spicy fries (sinigang: a Filipino sour soup) and a spicy cashew dip:
We then moved on to the steamed poppyseed bun with smoked beef brisket, oyster sauce, curry aioli and watermelon radish:
Just like with the Liholiho roll I had last time, it was one of my favorite bites of the evening. The smoke from the tender, melting beef is simply killer, offset by the fresh bites of watermelon radish. Once again I selflessly shared one instead of stuffing it all in my mouth. A donor.
Next, a local halibut crudo: super fresh and a bit spicy.
I found this dish lively, with its kombo cure, radishes, salsa macha, ponzu and serranos, but my dining companion found it a bit flat. It went well with the fries, and I couldn’t help but shovel every last bit. You try it and decide!
We also have stuffed chicken wings:
These were hearty like all outings, crispy fries and stuffed with gloriously garlicky sticky rice, with a nicely sweet/tangy adobo glaze. One of the editor’s favourites. They’re a bit pricey, but they’re also incredibly filling. Yet we persevered.
Next came the decadent but intimate and crispy rice balls with an achiote-miso glaze, so crispy on the outside I was worried I’d break a tooth, but the seemingly inscrutable exterior gave way to a creamy center.
With salted black sesame and slightly gelatinous caramelized plantain, this was a dish that definitely grew on us.
Whole petral sole followed:
As with Liholoho’s whole fish, it was a standout, this time in a coconut and turmeric brine that flavored every bite. This kitchen knows how to fry. We didn’t taste an ounce of grease, even after it sat for a while as we plucked it like lethargic vultures finally reaching satiety.
But still, we continued! Beef short ribs with a pho glaze and pickled red onions came next:
I loved the fatty flesh, the pure smoked beef of these, but Mrs. Chávez wasn’t as enamored as I was. They were maybe, I admit, just a little dry. By then we were pretty stuffed and she took the rest back to her husband.
And for a touch of veg, just to say we made it, a little Brussels sprout kimchi side dish.
It was probably my least favorite dish, although I love kimchi. It was spicy but didn’t really have any funk. Maybe just too fresh.
But wait, there’s more.
Dessert! Pastry chef Kristina Garbet‘s pandan bibingka, a Filipino coconut rice flour cake wrapped in pandan leaves, topped with tangy gouda and miso custard. The delicate, creamy texture, the umami of the cheese and the miso covering the slight sweetness – truly a stunning finish, although I ended up bringing most of it home to BF. Quite possibly my second favorite bite of the evening.
The menu has many other intriguing dishes to try, such as beef carpaccio with a crispy pig’s ear, crying tiger prawns, broccoli di ciccio with a smoked egg yolk, pork belly and salad of chicory. With a full bar, signature cocktails, appetizers, vermouths, amaros, beer, bubbly and wine, the latter available in small carafes as well, Good Good Culture Club promises to be a party.
One thing to know about ordering food here, it’s all done via QR codes, and for some of us senior citizens, that can be a little confusing. But I understand they are trying to reduce contact and improve efficiency. Just be sure to listen to your server’s instructions and space out your dishes instead of ordering them all at once like we did, only to end up having to ask the kitchen to slow down when a onslaught of delicious dishes invades your table. High.
Good Good Culture Club is not only modern in its use of technology. It is also progressive in its stated goals of diversity, equity and inclusiveness. They ditched the old tipping model, instead charging a 20% equity fee so that all employees share in the largesse. There seems to be a thoughtfulness here that goes beyond the delicious food on your plate.
Get your reservations now. This place is going to be very busy.
Bon Bon Culture Club
3560 18th street.