Frasers Bistro & Lounge

Restaurant: Frasers Bistro & Lounge
Cuisine: Pacific Northwest/West Coast/Italian/Pizza/American
Last visited: April 5, 2011
Location: Surrey, BC (Guildford)
Address: 408-16033 108 Avenue
Price Range: $10-20, $20-30+

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2.5
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 2.5
Additional comments:

  • Restaurant/Lounge
  • Casual fine dining
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Fresh/Local ingredients
  • House made sauces/dressings
  • House made bread/soups
  • House made pizza crusts
  • Gluten free pasta/pizza available
  • Vegetarian/Vegan friendly
  • $15 Pasta Tuesdays
  • $12 Pizza Wednesday
  • Family friendly
  • Lunch – Friday & Saturday
  • Lounge open in mid-afternoon
  • Dinner Tues-Sun from 5pm
  • Sunday brunch 10am-2pm
  • Closed Mondays

**Recommendations: Pasta Tuesdays. The mushroom ravioli, braised lamb fettuccini, Caesar Salad (surprisingly), Crispy Calamari, and Roasted Corn Chowder Soup if available.

Fine dining in Surrey… okay well it’s not quite fine dining, but it’s casual fine dining. I want to give Surrey the credit it deserves, I really do, but for “nicer” West Coast restaurants, I haven’t found anything I’ve fancied in Surrey yet. Mind you I haven’t tried them all, but so far I haven’t been too impressed. I’d compare this to my experience at The Vault, where it was decent and good for the area, but that’s kind of as far as it went for me.

On this occasion I was joined with friends including Sherman, who I have to thank for the photos. One of my friends knew the owner and chef of the restaurant so we ended up deciding on a multi-course family style dinner for a set price. The restaurant is really accommodating to parties of any size so I’m sure anyone would be able to arrange this, and the price will vary accordingly.

Frasers Bistro & Lounge is located in a strip mall in Surrey, BC and the inside is actually quite nice and also family friendly. The service and some of the food was a lot fancier than I expected. They offer complimentary amuse bouche every Thursday and Friday and they even had a palate cleanser in between a couple courses. I did appreciate the small details and the food is all made in house with fresh ingredients, but unfortunately I’m not as eager to go back.

I was a bit confused with the menu and some things were very average offerings of a family style restaurant, while others were quite representable of fine dining. I felt it was very hit or miss; so it just requires a bit of selective ordering and wishful thinking that the specials I enjoyed will be reoccurring. On another note the pastas were very good and I think their $15 pasta Tuesdays and $12 Pizza Wednesdays are a great deal, and if I lived closer to that area I would consider going back for the pastas.

On the table:

Gazpacho – 2.5/6

  • The tomatoes were a bit powdery and very pulpy, but I could smell the freshness of them as soon as they hit the table.
  • It was refreshing, sweet and tangy and the minced cucumber on top made it a nice palate cleanser.
  • It was a bit pulpy for a gazpacho, but it was more than just pure tomato juice which was nice.
  • I like the flavour more so than the texture.

**Caesar Salad – 4.5/6

  • Parmesan Cheese, housemade Caesar dressing, bacon, croutons & fried capers $8.95
  • This was actually a pretty good Caesar salad thanks to the crispy fried capers, big shavings of salty nutty Parmesan cheese and freshly toasted focaccia croutons.
  • It was very lightly dressed and they used quality ingredients so I was getting more flavour from that than the dressing, which I didn’t mind one bit.

**Crispy Calamari – 4/6

  • Lightly hand floured, flash fried, served a top greens with spicy aioli $12.95
  • This was almost like a Spanish influenced calamari salad with a nice heat and a few sauces to keep it interesting.
  • The squid was very lightly battered, crispy, tender and not greasy, and they were intensely seasoned with a savoury and smoky seasoning salt.
  • I really liked the addition of the red pepper aioli which was savoury, sweet, smoky, tangy and spicy and it had great flavour. It was almost creamy and textured with real roasted red pepper puree.
  • The buttermilk dressing overly dressed the salad and it helped cut the spice of the red pepper aioli, but in the end it needed to be creamier and tangier.

Focaccia – 4/6

  • House made with olive oil and balsamic for dipping $3.95
  • It has a nice toasted crispy exterior and light and soft centre with lots of herbs. It was brushed really well with olive oil.
  • It didn’t even require the olive oil and vinegar, because it had enough flavour alone, although I didn’t mind having the dip there.

Southwest Chicken Salad – n/a

  • Spicy chicken, greens, tomato, roast corn, tortilla strips, salsa, and sour cream $15.95
  • I didn’t try much of it to really say, but it was standard for what it was.
  • The chicken was a bit dry but it was nicely charred and quite spicy with a smoky Cajun like rub and the heat lingered.
  • The tortilla strips were deep fried and would be better if they were thinner and more like a crispy topping than a nacho.
  • The dressing was sour cream like, but thinner.

Thai Coconut Curry Salt Spring Mussels & Fries – 2.5/6

  • $13.95
  • This was a very rich, creamy, indulgent and thick Thai coconut red curry sauce. It was a bit too rich for me and almost like a sauce for pasta.
  • The sauce was heavy in coconut and quite sweet followed by a mild-medium heat.
  • It was a pre-made red curry paste so the flavour was a bit flat without the fresh flavours of basil, lemongrass, ginger or fish sauce. I get that it’s not a Thai place, but the addition of basil and ginger is not difficult to incorporate.
  • The mussels were fresh, plump, sweet and tender, and the sauce was good, but just not comparable to what it could be if you’re used to Thai flavours.
  • The fries were soggy and limp and they seemed like creamy potato fries, but I think they were just Russet potato fries that had soaked in oil too long. They weren’t really greasy, but they were wet, so they didn’t absorb the sauce from the mussels.
  • The flavour of this sauce was stronger than the tomato and bacon one, but the tomato and bacon one was closer to what it should be than this curry one.

Bacon & Tomato Salt Spring Mussels & Fries – 3/6

  • $13.95 (Missed the photo)
  • It was a tangy slightly sweet tomato based cream sauce with perhaps some white wine with a slight smokiness from the bacon in the background.
  • The tomato was stronger than the bacon and it wasn’t too creamy, but it really let the flavour of the mussels come through.
  • Tomatoes just enhance the seafood flavour in the mussels, which were plump, sweet and tender.
  • I couldn’t actually see or taste any bacon, but you could tell it was in there, or at least the bacon drippings were used.
  • The fries were soggy and limp again so it didn’t serve its purpose in soaking up the sauce.

Butternut Squash Ravioli Teaser – 2.5/6

  • It was good, but just not what the menu name suggests.
  • The ravioli skins were made in house and they were great. They weren’t sweet though, considering it was “butternut squash”, but at least they were cooked al dente with a bite.
  • It was stuffed with a creamy goat’s cheese and lots of sun dried tomato and those were the main flavours. I couldn’t taste the basil and I wish the sage on top was crispy.
  • It was swimming in a butter sauce which wasn’t browned yet so it was just oily rather than nutty, it also needed salt.
  • The ravioli stuffing was salty though and tangy enough from lots of sun-dried tomato. I was actually very surprised at how much there was, but it overshadowed pretty much everything else.
  • The skins were made with butternut squash and I think it should have been used in the filling with the goat’s cheese melted into it.

Housemade Italian Sausage & Mushroom 3.5/6

  • Hand made, thin crust, Tuscan style $14.95 (12” only, available from 5pm)
  • It was a house made marinara sauce with spicy crumbled Italian sausage and very few Shiitake mushrooms.
  • There were also some button mushrooms, but basically it needed a better balance of toppings.
  • It was good, and quite artisan for a pizza, and something like this would be hard to find in the area I think.

  • The crust is hand tossed and it was very rustic and thin which I liked, but it wasn’t crispy at all except for the edges.
  • The bottom just wasn’t charred enough and had no leopparding from the baking process.
  • It was made with 80% semolina so it had a crisp grainy texture, but it just wasn’t cooked crispy and it had more potential.

Pesto Pizza with Roasted Red Peppers2/6

  • Hand made, thin crust, Tuscan style $14.95 (12” only, available from 5pm)
  • I would have never guessed this was a pesto pizza because the pesto sauce was quite bland and not nutty.
  • There was a lot of stringy Mozzarella cheese on top and sweet bell peppers, but it just wasn’t pesto in flavour.
  • There was as much cheese as there was crust, but again the crust was only crispy around the edges.

Frozen Grapes

  • Palate cleanser
  • I thought I was at Kingyo! I loved the frozen grape palate cleanser which is something so simple that all restaurants of this style should provide.

**Smoked Salmon Fettuccini 4/6

  • Capers, cream sauce. Tasting size shown. ( $15 Pasta Tuesdays)
  • It was basic, but it was well executed and well flavoured although the noodles were slightly over cooked.
  • It was creamy, buttery and and cheesy with sweet and salty cured smoked salmon, salty capers and creamy pieces of feta.
  • It doesn’t look heavily sauced, but the sauce was thick in flavour and almost more buttery than creamy in texture and it didn’t require a lot to coat each strand beautifully.
  • I would assume their Alfredo sauce would be promising from this.

**Braised Lamb Farfalle – 4.5/6

  • Olives, lamb jus, pine nuts and spinach. Tasting size shown. ($15 Pasta Tuesdays)
  • I actually really enjoyed this one too.
  • It was juicy and tender braised lamb that wasn’t gamey. It had salty bites of olives and a nutty crunch of buttery toasted pine nuts which enhanced the richness of the lamb jus.
  • The sauce was light, but it had the natural lamb flavour and each ingredient just shined as it complemented each other as well.
  • It was a bit reminiscent of a deconstructed pesto or tapenade, but it was gravy based and it just tasted effortless and delicious.

**Mushroom Ravioli5/6

  • Cream sauce with truffle oil. Sample size shown. ( $15 Pasta Tuesdays)
  • This was my favourite pasta and it was a solid house made mushroom ravioli.
  • The ravioli skins were al dente and very well made.
  • They were stuffed with pieces of sweet and juicy Shiitake mushrooms coated with a creamy sauce and the hint of truffle oil just intensifies the mushroom flavour and brought it all together.
  • The sauce was buttery and creamy with dried oregano spices infused throughout.
  • It’s incredibly well flavoured and exceeded my expectations.

**Roasted Corn Chowder Teaser6/6

  • Daily featured soup made from scratch $8.95 (Sample size shown)
  • My favourite of everything!
  • This was delicious! If I came here and ordered a bowl of this soup with their house made mushroom ravioli I would have been a happy camper for sure.
  • The soup was fantastic and it tasted like a rich, creamy, thick, savoury, smoky and sweet Middle Eastern or Indian roasted corn chowder.
  • It was thick like a gravy with maybe some potato puree and hints of cumin, curry and coriander just tantalized my palate.
  • Absolutely beautiful, rich in flavour and texture and a meal in itself. Sign me up for when it’s next available!

Grilled Portobello – 1.5/6

  • Special vegetarian option of the day. Tasting size shown.
  • This was very not good. The portobello was smoky and char grilled but it seemed marinated in vinegar and it was very sour and lost its natural sweetness and flavour.
  • It was served with tangy roasted red peppers and a tangy cilantro dressing which tasted like a balsamic vinaigrette that had absorbed into the mushroom completely.
  • I really love portobellos, but this one wasn’t as well balanced and just too tangy all around.

Fish of the Day – Pan Seared Halibut – 1.5/6

  • Market price. Sample size shown.
  • Served with rice or roast potatoes or mashed potatoes or fries, and seasonal vegetables.
  • The halibut was very fresh, moist, tender, flaky, with a nice crust and it was well seasoned and well prepared, and that part was good. 4/6 for that.
  • It was the sauce that was not good. It tasted like a vanilla creme anglaise and it was almost like a dessert. I swear there were specs of vanilla bean seeds in it.
  • It was very sweet and custard like sauce so I felt like I was eating a sweet custard rice pudding with halibut. It just didn’t work.

Special Entree of the Day – Pan Seared Duck – 2.5/6

  • “House made with love, just like mom’s” $17.95 (Tasting size shown)
  • Served with rice or roast potatoes or mashed potatoes or fries, and seasonal vegetables.
  • The duck was served with pan fried spaetzle and a red wine reduction.
  • The duck was a bit chewy and the skin was very chewy and I wish it had been crispy or at least tender.
  • The red wine reduction was slightly tangy, quite sweet and tasted a bit berry like.
  • The spaetzle were a a bit flat and chewy and slightly under seasoned.
  • The potatoes were tender, nicely seasoned and presented.

Grilled Certified Angus New York Striploin – 2.5/6

  • Hand cut to order, demi glace 5 oz $24.95, 8 oz $28.95 (Tasting size shown)
  • The steak was good (3.5/6), but the demi glace didn’t taste like demi glace at all. It was almost like a brown gravy sauce meets tangy BBQ sauce rather than a demi glace.
  • The steak was well charred, medium rare and tender. It was easily seasoned and I thought it would have more of a rub, but it didn’t really need it either.
  • The roasted fingerling potatoes were also crispy, tender and well seasoned, but the sauce was just not happening as a demi glace.

Desserts

The dessert menu varies, but we had a sampler platter of the ones they offered that day. They’re all quite traditional and okay, but made in house so I appreciated that.

Upside Down Lemon Cake – 2/6

  • $7.99
  • I was most excited about this one, and it was served warm, but it was simply a moist lemon sponge cake topped with whipped cream.
  • It was quite sweet, but not very tangy and I missed the fresh lemon scent, zest and zing.

Bailey’s Creme Brulee – 3/6

  • $7.99
  • It was sweet, smooth, creamy, and well made with an obvious rich and creamy Baily’s flavour coming through, but the alcohol taste was cooked out.
  • It had a well torched brulee crust and it was enjoyable, but a bit too much on the sweet side.
  • I could taste some vanilla and there were real vanilla bean seeds being used, but they all sunk to the bottom because the custard wasn’t viscous enough.

Cheesecake – 1/6

  • $7.99 I think. I’m not sure if this is representable of the actual portion, since we had a sampler platter, but I hope not because I’d consider $8 expensive for this cheesecake.
  • I have no idea what flavour it was supposed to be. Espresso or chocolate it didn’t really taste like either.
  • I think it was baked in house and it was curdled, or at least there were mini chunks of cream cheese pieces throughout and it was quite poorly executed unfortunately.

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6 Comments

  • Bow says:

    If the Butternut squash was THE filling, a simple butter sauce, in which diced sweet apple was cooked w. a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon, toss in some fine chopped parsley, would be a better compliment. Grilled Portobellos benefit from a persillade(fresh fine chopped parsley and garlic), a bit of Maldron sea salt and a squeeze of lemon, toss in a bowl w. little fine Xtra Virgin, served instantly, piping hot. I agree the moules en frites in a curry can taste too heavy; works better with rice rather than fries ‘cos the sauce is so heavy. The halibut dish is not well thought out, the sauce does not compliment the fish. The pizzas may benefit by a final drizzle of good Xtra Virgin, seem pretty expensive…I think that the menu is a little too eclectic to focus on and therefore the dishes don’t meet a consistent standard. Yet I give the Frasers Bistro marks for trying to raise the standards in Surrey.
    Found the duck and dessert, huh… jeez, you’re kiddin’ me.

  • Linda says:

    wow, why are you always in surrey now?! lol

    mm from your comments, i can see that the pasta dishes were pretty much the stars of this restaurant and it’s better to pass on the entree meat items – the appys looked pretty good – especially the calamari which i usually get when i go out to eat 🙂

    the corn chowder looks delicious! i actually had corn chowder yesterday but mine was a bit chunkier than this – the one here looks velvety smooth and surprisingly enough, it received your highest rank of the night lol haha when i first saw the focaccia, i thought it was banana bread!

    i’m so shocked with the use of goat cheese in the butternut squash ravioli – usually this is paired with ricotta cheese since it has a lighter taste and a smoother texture – no wonder you couldn’t taste the sweetness! ugh, the cheesecake looks kinda gross with the berry coulis on top! bad combo if you ask me and the fat that it curdled makes it worse! 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – I LOVE butternut squash and apples.. that’s my side dish at Thanksgiving! Bow, I think you nailed it… doing lot of different things, which is appreciated but hard to do everything really well. I agree with your comments. i liked the idea of the Xtra virgin oil on the pizza, but then I would have liked way less cheese.

    @Linda – I’m a lot closer to Surrey than some may think 😉 Ohh so you’re a calamari girl? Grilled or deep squid? The corn chowder is amazing and I would call them to see if it’s on the menu… and then possibly make the drive back 🙂 I wouldn’t have minded if the goat’s cheese was just crumbled on top or melted into the butternut squash, which would have save some mulah as well. lol you crack me up Linda! Thanks for commenting as usual 🙂

  • Dee says:

    I think there was another restaurant at this location before but I can’t remember the name. I’ve been wanting to try this place out for a while. $15 for pasta Tuesdays still seems quite pricey, and I wish I could see what a full portion looks like. Looks yummy though.

  • Mijune says:

    @Dee – Hi!! Considering Q4 in Kitsilano offers $10 pastas… then yes it’s quite pricey I guess lol. the pastas were good here though!

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