Tucked off Bayview Street, with the Fraser River as its beautiful vista, you will find Kove Kitchen.
This hidden gem is as much about what is happening outdoors as what is going on inside — the dining environments are intertwined. It is a spot like no other restaurant in the village situated in a peaceful location slightly east of Fisherman’s Wharf.
Choose a table or a couch on the lower patio facing the wooden boardwalk and take in the backdrop of the water and fishing boats (you can also catch sight of swans, seals and eagles), or head to the upper deck where you can enjoy the scenery. If you are seeking shelter from the sun, or during the cooler seasons, the big windows offer customers the same million-dollar view, and on windy winter days you can storm watch while being nestled warmly inside.
Owners Jennifer Russell and her husband Allan Yeo (who also owns Hog Shack Cook House) have operated Kove Kitchen since 2014. The business was formerly Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse, which they opened in 2009 and then rebranded five years ago as Kove Kitchen.
While Allan oversees the menu he gives full credit to Jennifer for being the star of the show. He says, “Jenn is an experience engineer.”
Her effervescent personality makes customers feel instantly at home. Jennifer runs the business, oversees group bookings, greets customers, serves and works behind the bar when needed, and is responsible for every tasteful decorative touch including the beautifully maintained planters on the patio.
The afternoon I dropped by, a wedding was taking place on the upstairs patio. Jennifer was excited for the happy couple who are regular patrons. In fact, loyal customers are the backbone of this business and some come in weekly to dine.
Jennifer says, “It is our connection with our customers that keeps us busy year round. Our staff make people feel welcome and we know many of our clients by name.” Allan adds, “It’s a dynamic experience. We have a strong serving team. People come here to see Jenn and our staff.”
Kove Kitchen is a casual rustic eatery with stellar service and fabulous food.
The well-rounded menu provides many tasty options. Kove’s winning butter chicken is served with naan or jasmine rice. Meat is ground in house daily for burgers that are served on pretzel or brioche buns. The fried chicken entrée is described as “southern comfort at its best” with savoury gravy, maple syrup on mashed potatoes accompanied by seasonal veggies.
Seafood goes hand in hand with this location.
Customers can select from appetizers such as the house made crab cakes topped with fresh salsa and Thai chilli sauce, Kove’s signature creamy seafood chowder with seafood morsels, or spicy tuna sashimi salad. Seafood entrees include the salmon burger, beer battered Pacific Rougheye fish with hand cut fries and tartar sauce, and the West Coast wild salmon with chimichurri sauce and a choice of mashed potatoes or jasmine rice.
There are a number of vegetarian entrees on the menu. The delicious plant based Beyond Burger has recently been introduced. Other vegetarian dishes include the Balinese vegan bowl and the spicy black bean burger.
Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. A few of the selections include the classic breakfast (two eggs, a choice of ham, bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast), Belgian waffles and fried chicken, crab cake benny (two bacon eggs with Kove’s signature crab cakes topped with hollandaise sauce and hash browns), and the breakfast poutine is sure to stir the hearts of patriotic Canadians.
Fall menu alert! Many customers eagerly await this time of the year. Jennifer arrived in Canada from her native Ukraine in 1996 and likes to pay homage to her homeland by adding her fall favourites to Kove’s menu. Watch for borscht, cabbage rolls and perogies made from Jennifer’s family recipes.
What does Jennifer find most rewarding as a business owner? She says, “It makes my day when I see an empty plate.” She adds with a smile, “We call our customers ‘happy campers.’ They can come and happily camp here for three hours.”
140-3900 Bayview Street, Richmond BC V7E 4R7