REVIEW: The food’s not so great at the Teenie Bikini Bistro

Courtney Dickson

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Teenie Bikini Bistro
Photo: teeniebikinibistro / Instagram

When the Teenie Bikini Bistro’s opening was first announced, it was pretty controversial. The comment sections of stories about its existence were filled with concerns that the owners were using women’s bodies to sell chicken wings, and others reminding readers that what women do with their bodies is their own choice.

Well, they didn’t always say it quite like that, but you get the idea.

The only way to know what kind of place the bikini bistro is was to go. So I did.

The first thing you notice about the place isn’t the neon lights and Barbie pink trim on the walls; it isn’t the metal covers of pop songs playing softly over the speakers (though it certainly was jarring when I realized what I was listening to); instead, it’s the overwhelming aroma…of bleach.

The Teenie Bikini Bistro gets an A+++ for cleanliness. Not a single french fry on the floor or crumb on a table — hands down the cleanest place in Kamloops.

Bet you didn’t expect that, did you?

Being served by a person in what is essentially underwear was really no different than going to any other pub where servers are asked to dress like Britney Spears circa 1997. Although I wasn’t distracted by the attire (or lack thereof) it was no secret some of the other patrons were.

Once some of the regular clientele cleared out for the evening after finishing their Coronas and chatting up the server for 15 minutes, the server came over sporting a huge smile and said “Yay! Girls!” to my girlfriend and I. She said she had been serving men all day and just wanted someone “normal” to talk to.

She was the best part of the visit — and not because of her itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikini. She was friendly, engaging and authentic. Even to those customers who personally introduced themselves to her (I just need to know why? Why do people do that?), she was pleasant and patient.

Unfortunately, the food was not nearly as great as the front-of-house staff. A run-of-the-mill burger and fries, on special for $9.95, tasted like a burger you get at a free barbecue in a parking lot (you know what I’m talking about). It was chewy, lacked flavour and was covered up by an unruly amount of ketchup and mustard. From some reason, the bottom half of the bun was ice cold; I still don’t know why, because the top of the bun had been blackened.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the french fries had been through the frier a couple of times over the course of a few days — they were so dried out I had to submerge them in ketchup, which came in a plastic container with a lid (why?). On a more positive note, the fries were not overly salted or dripping with grease. So, yay?

Teenie Bikini Bistro
Burger and fries Photo: Courtney Dickson

The wings flavour menu is impressive, but some of the names aren’t exactly self-explanatory; Teenie Bikini Secret is actually a secret and our server wouldn’t say what it was. Out of an abundance of caution I tried the Black Bikini wings — a blend of intense sesame flavour and a mild heat. They were small and not particularly meaty, but that sauce made up for it. Great flavour, and a cute name to boot.

Teenie Bikini Bistro
Teenie Bikini Bistro has a host of wing flavours to choose from. Photo: Courtney Dickson

The cocktail menu is filled with sweet concoctions, but whenever I visit a place I like to try either the server’s favourite drink, or the restaurant’s signature cocktail. The signature Teenie Bikini cocktail was exceedingly sweet — a mixture of Malilbu rum, amaretto and raspberry lemonade, topped with a scoop of orange sherbert (a cocktail AND dessert!). I couldn’t actually finish it — I knew I would get a wicked hangover from that one sugary drink.

Teenie Bikini Bistro
The signature Teenie Bikini cocktail was a drink AND a dessert. Photo: Courtney Dickson

Would I go back? Only  to chat with the lovely server (if I haven’t made it clear, she is really nice and I’d like to be her friend). I’m not sure if I would order another meal — there are countless places in town with similar pub-style menus that far exceed what the Teenie Bikini Bistro serves.