Table scraps 

War and Peace menu a classic

I put on the best fake smile I could muster.

“Sure I would love to go,” I grinned outside and grimaced inside at my friend’s suggestion of grabbing dinner at a Canadian/Chinese/Japanese restaurant in Pemberton.

Past horrors of similar establishments where menus read longer than War and Peace flashed before me along with visions of plates with food that all looked strangely the same, despite your server swearing one dish was fried chicken and the other was chop suey. My nature of perpetual war was on going.

Raw macaroni with no-name ketchup seemed like a happier alternative at the time, but my 6’6 foot giant of a friend disagreed. He was hungry.

So the three of us set off for a night on the town in Pemberton at the Canadian/Chinese/Japanese restaurant where three countries manage to squeeze themselves into one kitchen.

I soon learned this cultural mouthful actually has an official title: The Centennial Café.

The building is as eclectic as the menu. The outside is a beautiful wooden structure, a shiny edition of something you might see in a western film. But inside, suddenly you are in the stereotypical Chinese restaurant you might find anywhere in the city. The décor is simple, clean and Asian inspired.

There was only one table occupied, so we treated ourselves to a window seat looking out on the town.

War and Peace was handed out to the three of us and I skimmed for the Coles Notes version to get dinner underway. I flipped by the dozen daily specials and Canadian fare, past the Japanese plates and Chinese individual dishes and finally rested on the Chinese dinner combo specials in the back.

I will never again judge a book by its cover, or should I say girth.

War and Peace was not considered a novel because it broke so many of the novelistic conventions of its time. The same could apply to the Centennial Café where its multi-chaptered menu leaves you wondering where does it store all of the ingredients to make so many dishes?

The menu almost dares you to order at complete opposite ends of the spectrum to see if the kitchen is good to their word.


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