Food

FOOD | Omakase Dinner at Bistro Sakana, Yaletown by Jenn Chan

Bistro Sakana

 

I finally got a chance to check out Bistro Sakana, a little Japanese restaurant nozzled in with other restaurants and cafes on the Yaletown strip. I'm happy to be able to finally try this spot, especially their Omakase menu.  I'm also very happy that I came hungry to this meal, because it was absolutely filling!  

The Omakase meal has 13 items on the menu, including:

  • Appetizer
  • Dobin Mushi
  • Omakase Sashimi
  • Tsubugai Tsuboyaki
  • Lobster Tempura
  • Smoked Kurobuta
  • Kegani Kanimiso
  • Omakase Sushi
  • Steam Fish
  • Bafun Uni Cahwanmushi
  • Wagyu Hobayaki
  • Madai Gohan
  • Dessert

I was almost full from just reading the itinerary for the evening to come.

 

Bistro Sakana Omakase

 

We started off with the appetizer, which included 3 different little items on the plate: Tuna with Avocado, Uni & Caviar, Radish wrapped Smoked Salmon with Mango & Masago, Sea Cucumber in Vinagrette. As some of you may know, I LOVE Uni and Caviar, so when you combined the 2 ingredients along with tuna to make a tartare, it sent my taste buds straight to heaven. The Sea cucumber in vinagrette was so refreshing and unique, this might be one of the first times I've had this good of a sea cucumber. This is a good start! 

Shortly after, our next course came, the Dobin Mushi. We loved the presentation, it came in a little clay tea pot with a lid that plays double duty as a bowl. I wasn't sure about the lime initially, but it really adds an extra complexity and flavour to the soup. The Sashimi platter came and my eyes could not believe its presentation! (Look below for photos) This platter came with such a wide variety of sashimi, including Geoduck, Miragui, Minadai, Blue Fin Tuna, Shimaaji, Akami, and of course, the main attraction - the Lobster Sashimi. All the sashimi were super fresh, and most melts in your mouth! The lobster also goes perfectly with the Ponzu Sauce that came with it. Did I mention the presentation of this platter? 

 

Appetizer: Tuna with Avocado, Uni & Caviar, Radish wrapped Smoked Salmon with Mango & Masago, Sea Cucumber in Vinagrette

Appetizer: Tuna with Avocado, Uni & Caviar, Radish wrapped Smoked Salmon with Mango & Masago, Sea Cucumber in Vinagrette

Bistro Sakana Omakase Appetizer
Dobin Mushi

Dobin Mushi

Dobin Mushi
Omakase Sashimi

Omakase Sashimi

Bistro Sakana Omakase Sashimi

 

I will just say now that all the courses came looking nothing short of perfect, and I was impressed with the presentation on most of the dishes, it made my job easy as a photographer! Every course was unique and had its own flavour profile and texture to it. The Welk and Clam in liver sauce is no exception, coming on a hot plate, sitting on a bed of sea salt and kelp.

 

Tsubugai Tsuboyaki

Tsubugai Tsuboyaki

Lobster Tempura

Lobster Tempura

Kegani Kanimiso

Kegani Kanimiso

 

I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot here with the presentation, but look at this Smoked Kurobuta! Two smoked out domes arrived on our table and we were initially left with guessing what's inside. When the lids were lifted in a skillful manner, we were able to smell the smoke, which added a great smokey flavour to the fish.

 

The sushi was next, and we were instructed to eat them in this specific order: Ashiaka Ebi Sushi, Hairy Crab sushi, and then the Wagyu Beef Sushi. The Ashiaka Ebi is a very juicy and sweet shrimp, and the wagyu is so tender that it literally melts like butter in your mouth. The garlic chips on top gave it an additional flavourful crunch.

 

Smoked Kurobuta

Smoked Kurobuta

Smoked Kurobuta
Omakase Sushi: Hairy Crab Roll, Ebi Roll & Wagyu Beef Roll

Omakase Sushi: Hairy Crab Roll, Ebi Roll & Wagyu Beef Roll

 

These cute little packages came next, and as we undid the ribbon, we revealed a great rolled up Madai (Sea Bream) with enoki mushrooms rolled up inside in a natural dashi broth. This bite-size piece left me with a mouthful of flavour and wishing there was more of it! 

 

Steamed Fish

Steamed Fish

Steamed Fish
Bafun Uni Chawamushi

Bafun Uni Chawamushi

 

By this course, we were both starting to get pretty full, but out comes the Wagyu Hobayaki. It was my first experience to have beef cooked tableside, on a little grill, on a Houba leaf. We were told that the leaf was so thin that the wagyu is able to cook overtop, as well as add flavours to the meat. The experience itself is a 10/10 for me. Again, their wagyu is like butter, super smooth, and absolutely delicious with the secret sauce that was cooked with it.

 

Wagyu Hobayaki

Wagyu Hobayaki

Madai Gohan

Madai Gohan

 

Do you recognize this lobster? Do you feel like you might have seen it before? Well, you are not wrong if you thought it looks familiar, it was the same lobster that we had back in course 3, the sashimi course. This, in my opinion, was a great way to end and round up the meal. The miso soup was so full of flavour, especially with the little bits of lobster meat that came off the shell! 


 

Lobster Miso

Lobster Miso

 

Confession, I have never had a Panna Cotta before. Yes, I know, SHOCKING! I'm shocked myself, and I can't even think of a reason why this might be the case. So, thank you Bistro Sakana for giving my first ever Panna Cotta, and a matcha one at all! They know my heart! The panna cotta was silky smooth and creamy. I loved the bitter taste of the green tea, which matched well with the sweetness of the red bean. I'm not typically a dessert girl, but I ate this whole dessert up, and slurped up every last drop. Boy, am I full!!!

 

Green Tea Panna Cotta

Green Tea Panna Cotta

 

Overall, everything was delicious and left me feeling very full and content. I felt like I needed to be rolled out. A complex menu, amazing selection, absolutely fresh ingredients - I will definitely recommend going in to try their Omakase Dinner!

 

 

TRAVEL | FOOD | Mott 32, Hong Kong by Jenn Chan

Mott32

 

In 1851 New York's first Chinese convenience store opened at 32 Mott Street in Lower Manhattan. A tip of the cap to the nucleus, the epicentre, of what would become New York's Chinatown, Mott 32 makes a vast, subterranean former bank basement lush and inviting. Renowned interior designer Joyce Wang went all out creating unique dining areas and nooks utilizing the nuanced layout of the award-winning space. The frosted glass ceilings inside matching octagonal dining areas in the main room fool the eye and the mind into believing sunlight and views would be pouring through, even several floors underground, were there no need for privacy glazing; truly a feast for the eyes!

 

MOTT32
MOTT 32
MOTT 32 Bar

 

Even being a lunch engagement Jenn and I were in full vacation mode so we dabbled in a few of Mott's signature cocktails. Jenn opted for the The Milk Tram, a vodka, milk, matcha concoction that she really enjoyed and I tried the Hong Kong Iced Tea and the Blanco Avion Tequila gives it a really nice back, I'd recommend it! If you're in HK you're doing, or at least should be doing, dim sum. Translated it means 'touch the heart' in the way that food brings people together and parents nurture their offspring and give life with its sustenance. If you haven't tried it think high end Chinese tapas, each course is brought out piping hot in its own little, round picnic basket. Siu Mai is the 'gateway dim sum'; the non-offensive, Caucasian-palate-friendly offering which has been known to lead one to a life of harder dim sums. Without hesitation the Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pirk and Black Truffle Siu Mai is the best I've ever tasted! The light, runny egg explodes in your mouth as you pop it in and the flavours mesh really well. Next they brought out a very nice dumpling comprised of South Australian Scallop, Spinach and Caviar. The freshness of the scallop and the ever so slight caviar tinge gives it a very complex flavour and it will certainly please most tastes. The Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumpling rounded out the first delivery and its unique flavour survived through the cocktails and lingered, thankfully, until the next course arrived. 

 

 

Hong Kong Iced Tea & Milk Tram Cocktail

Hong Kong Iced Tea & Milk Tram Cocktail

South Australian Scallop, Spinach, Caviar Dumpling

South Australian Scallop, Spinach, Caviar Dumpling

Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai

Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, Black Truffle Siu Mai

 

Assorted wild mushroom in lettuce cap with black truffle sauce descended upon our table, ominous I know, accompanied by Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork with Yellow Mountain Honey. So many different flavours going on in each wrap and to describe it would not do it justice. Jenn ate most of them and that's usually a good indication that it's excellent. Lean cuts of pork came alongside bathed in a sweet honey sauce; delicious! By the time the Signature Smoked Black Cod came out and its signature campfire  presentation was wafting through the room I was near bursting, but for the team, for you guys, our readers, I soldiered on. You're welcome. The pine, hickory scent that was now permeating the room is infused, magically I'd wager, in the fish. Do you love the smell of summer and barbecue and campfire? Then this is a lakeside, catch and cook, fish plate that you cannot pass up on trying. I let Jenn handle the critique of her Wok Fried Cauliflower with Air Dried Szechuan Sausage because I was unable to go on and she gasped at the spice level of the sausage so naturally I tried it as well. Very, very tangy and a bit of a slow uptake on the heat, but it's coming baby! Jenn adores cauliflower so she went through it and really liked the freshness and snap of the different colours of one of her favourite plants.

 

Assorted Wild Mushroom in Lettuce Cup, Black Truffle Sauce

Assorted Wild Mushroom in Lettuce Cup, Black Truffle Sauce

Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumplings

Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumplings

MOTT 32 Food
Signature Smoked Black Cod

Signature Smoked Black Cod

Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork, Yellow Mountain Honey (Limited Daily)

Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork, Yellow Mountain Honey (Limited Daily)

Wok Fried Cauliflower, Air Dried Szechuan Sausage

Wok Fried Cauliflower, Air Dried Szechuan Sausage

 

Dessert can either be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Picture a late night glass of champagne at an upscale lounge with your sweetheart. You're laughing, bubbles are flowing and you order a plate of strawberries and vanilla ice cream layered in whipped cream. How can you go wrong there? Impossible! BUT you put that same bubbly couple at the end of an eight course meal and bait them with Fresh Mango, Coconut, Glutinous Rice Rolls? It may end with a trip to the ER. Not unlike a previous HK dining experience I've had, but that's for another place. I mean the word glutinous and gluttonous are so similar, who's in charge of marketing 'round hurrr? I ended up eating most of it, but that's beside the point. When is manslaughter by food Mott? When? Top shelf, imaginative food, great service and award winning ambience. Safe to say that if you miss Mott 32 right by the Central MRT station you've missed Hong Kong.

 

DESSERT: Fresh Mango, Coconut, Glutinous Rice Roll

DESSERT: Fresh Mango, Coconut, Glutinous Rice Roll

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Botanist Restaurant at Fairmont Pacific Rim by Jenn Chan

Botanist Restaurant

 

 

My experience at Botantist started right at the hostess stand, when she greeted me with a big smile and helped put away my raincoat, she even helped hold my DSLR while I struggled with my jacket! I took a quick look around the room, it was absolutely stunning. They have paid incredible detail to every little thing, from the plants, to the lighting, to little decor on the bar tops. The room buzzed with conference go-ers at the Champagne Lounge to my left, and business people at the bar to my right. There's even a VIP room you can book for a special occasion! I was then whisked away towards my table, and along the way, I caught myself "WOW-ing" a few times just looking at the abundant indoor plants surrounding the dining room!
 

 

Botanist Restaurant

Botanist Restaurant

 

 

All the names of the cocktails are super fun, like "Can't Beat a Root", "Yes Whey", and "What the Flower" were some of my favourites. Our night started with trying 3 different cocktails: Poetry in Motion, Apple Seed Lane, and the Lillemonade (THIS is a fun one to say). All 3 cocktails were delicious and we gulped them down quickly! Along with our cocktails, our server also brought out their special seeded bread. If you know me, you know I'm not typically a bread person, but this was amazing! Together with the whipped butter, each bite was a little taste of heaven. Bread with seeds have no calories right?

 

Cocktails: Poetry in Motion, Apple Seed Lane, Lillemonade

Cocktails: Poetry in Motion, Apple Seed Lane, Lillemonade

Lillemonade
Cocktail: Apple Seed Lane

Cocktail: Apple Seed Lane

Seeded Bread

 

 

Our server then surprised us with a little amuse bouche - the White Gazpacho (which is on their menu). The White Gazpacho was very refreshing with side stripe shrimp, cucumber and little delightful balls of grapes! I can see myself ordering this a lot in the summer!

 

White Gazpacho

White Gazpacho



Next up is our appetizers to share. We order 3 of the top recommended appies, the Heirloom Tomato Salad, Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, and Nova Scotia Lobster Tail. The tomatoes of the Heirloom Tomato Salad is grown hydroponically, which means they're grown without soil using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent, how cool is that? This dish tasted so fresh, and the flavours combined so well together with the burrata & hibiscus vinaigrette. 

 

Have you ever had Lobster Tail as an appetizer? Me neither. But there's always a first right? When I saw this on the menu, I couldn't pass it up, and it did not disappoint. The flavours blended together masterfully. The light fluffy lobster foam pair beautifully with the rich flavour of the lobster tail. The lobster foam reminded me of a lobster bisque. To even out the flavours, they've added chopped up bits of fennel to give the dish more texture - Such a balanced dish!

 

I tried the Hand-cut Tagliatelle next, and WOW was it exquisite. The hand-cut tagliatelle is so fresh, and I love seeing the not so perfectly cut pasta.  I'm also a huge fan of foraged mushrooms,, it went so well in this dish with the creamy and rich sauce. This came in the perfect portion, not leaving you weighed down and too full for the main course.

 

Appetizers: Heirloom Tomato Salad, Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, Nova Scotia Lobster Tail

Appetizers: Heirloom Tomato Salad, Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, Nova Scotia Lobster Tail

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Nova Scotia Lobster Tail

Nova Scotia Lobster Tail

Hand-Cut Tagliatelle

Hand-Cut Tagliatelle

 

Our main courses are here, and I am so glad I was hungry enough to have room to savour my entree. I ordered the Lamb Saddle in Medium Rare. The flavours blended really well together. I loved the perfectly made Lamb, I've had plenty of lamb in my lifetime, and this one was soooo flavourful and juicy, I wanted more of it! The mushrooms, broccoli and baby carrots along with the au jus were absolutely perfect!

 

I didn't get to try the Sablefish or the Halibut but was told they were amazingly delicious as well. I mean, just look at how the Halibut came! The squid ink on top of the Halibut was pure art! Botanist has made my job as a photographer easy, every plate came out looking perfect and like a piece of art. It would be a challenge to take a bad photo of it! And we all know, we eat with our eyes first! Wait... I did get to try one of the skin-off cherry tomatoes, and I have to say, it's one of the best tomatoes I've ever had! Because the skin of the tomato has been taken off, the meat had the chance to soak up all the flavours, and when you pop one of those cherry tomatoes, you got a mouthful of rich & well rounded flavour. Yes, I am just talking about a little cherry tomato here!

 

 

Main Course: garlic panisse, broccoli, shallots, natural jus, HERB-CRUSTED LAMB SADDLE

Main Course: garlic panisse, broccoli, shallots, natural jus, HERB-CRUSTED LAMB SADDLE

Wine Pairing - Le Vieux Pin 2015 Syrah

Wine Pairing - Le Vieux Pin 2015 Syrah

Main Course: onion nage, fermented vegetables, puffed tapioca, SEARED SABLEFISH

Main Course: onion nage, fermented vegetables, puffed tapioca, SEARED SABLEFISH

Main Course: tomato, squid ink, local greens, OLIVE OIL POACHED HALIBUT

Main Course: tomato, squid ink, local greens, OLIVE OIL POACHED HALIBUT

Main Course: tomato, squid ink, local greens, OLIVE OIL POACHED HALIBUT

 

When dessert came around, I was ready to explode, so I passed on them, but my friends decided to order the Strawberries with Chocolate & Almost Cream, as well as the Beetroot Cake with Hazelnut and Gewürztraminer Gel. I opted for a delicious ice wine that Jill had recommended to me, it had a fruit forward taste of apricot, and full bodied. It was the perfect night cap for me. When their desserts did come though, I couldn't help myself and had a sample of each. Of course, I had to try the Gewürztraminer gel, I've never heard of such a thing, let along try it! It tasted like jello to me. The beetroot cake didn't taste like what I had anticipated, I had imagined it to taste like Beets but it tasted more like a delightful fluffy cake!

DESSERT: hazelnut, vanilla, gewürztraminer gel, elderflower frozen foam, BEETROOT CAKE

DESSERT: hazelnut, vanilla, gewürztraminer gel, elderflower frozen foam, BEETROOT CAKE

DESSERT: almond cream, chocolate cremeux, peppercorn lace, mint ice cream, white balsamic, STRAWBERRY

DESSERT: almond cream, chocolate cremeux, peppercorn lace, mint ice cream, white balsamic, STRAWBERRY

DESSERT: almond cream, chocolate cremeux, peppercorn lace, mint ice cream, white balsamic, STRAWBERRY

 

I had an absolutely great night at Botanist, from the atmosphere, to the service, to the aesthetically beautiful and delicious food, everything was a 10/10 to me. It's completely unlike any restaurants you're used to at a hotel, this is an experience all on its own, and should almost be considered as a stand-alone restaurant you would go for a birthday celebration, date night, or just a regular Thursday night out!

 

I'll definitely be back, and I'll see you there!

 

Botanist Restaurant
 
Words & Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Italian Kitchen by Glowbal Group Fall Menu by Jenn Chan

Italian Kitchen by Glowbal Group

 

There's no little old Italian lady in the back of this restaurant!

It's not that grandma's recipes aren't delicious and comforting, but they have a time and place and a trendy dinner on Alberni Street is neither of those things.  The stylish setting starts right from when you walk in the double glass doors and the hostess offers to take your coat.

The dim lighting is modern and a creates a romantic balance amongst the greys and metallics found in the remaining decor.  It's the perfect setting for an intimate date or birthday dinner with a group of friends.

Travel upstairs and you're transported to a slightly brighter setting with red walls and a central bar.  Great for business meetings or dinner with the folks.

Our meal started early on a Wednesday night to accommodate my newly adopted older lifestyle.  We sat near the floor to ceiling windows on the second floor where we could view neighbouring restaurants and the now famous Alberni Street and it's must see clientele.

First things first, you don't go for Italian food and get out of there without having a bomb ass red wine, which is exactly where we started.  We shared more than a few glasses of the Campofiorin (the 50 year celebration bottle) as recommended by our lovely waitress.   I've been a red wino for a while now and it's always nice to find a good bottle, with a fresh palette, and a fair price tag to boot!

Our first course was a delicious arancini with a spicy sauce.  The amuse bouche was amousing.  If you aren't interested in puns I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum but can't make any promises.

 

Amuse Bouche - Deep Fried Risotto Ball

Amuse Bouche - Deep Fried Risotto Ball

Masi Campofiorin

Masi Campofiorin

Masi Campofiorin

 

Round 2 of 4 was carpaccio.   The complexity of flavours created a depth you don't anticipate from/thinly shaved beef.  In my view the unique aspect of this dish was escalated with the crispy polenta,  pickled onions, and Dijon sauce that accompanied some more standard elements of a good carpaccio.  The true star of this dish was its ingenuity, too often carpaccio is served with day old crostini's which leaves a desire for creativity at the beginning of your evening.  Polenta with carpaccio!  It doesn't matter how fleet your resident Italian grandmother is, the only way she's serving your carpaccio with crispy fried Polenta is if the polenta's taking up space in her fridge.

 

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

 

Round 3.  We shared two mains the Wild Salmon and a Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs.  Did I mention the truffles?  Not just truffle oil, but real, fresh shaved truffles!!!  Topped of course with fresh shaved parmesan.  Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had your waitress ask you to "say when" while referring to fresh Parmesan?  On this occasion we definitely pushed the limit!  Cheese like snow on top of our perfectly cooked pasta.  Typically meatballs aren't my go to but these had such flavour and played perfectly with the marinara that I would definitely order it again.

I don't want to leave the salmon as second place because it deserves better than that.  Served with crispy skin and accompanied by golden beats, grilled onions, and olives with a agrodolce (Italian sweet and sour) sauce. The salmon skin was perfectly executed and not oily, the onions were sweet and tasteful but not overbearing.   You wouldn't think by glancing at the menu that this would be a full entree but it holds true.  The portion of fish was sizeable and at the end of the shared two entrees we were full (even took some to go).

 

Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs | truffle cream, herbed ricotta

Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs | truffle cream, herbed ricotta

Truffle Spaghetti with Meatballs
Wild Salmon | grilled onions, olives, golden beet, agrodolce, salmon caviar

Wild Salmon | grilled onions, olives, golden beet, agrodolce, salmon caviar

Wild Salmon

 

Dessert!  Even on a bad day dessert has an opportunity to steal the show.  Perhaps it's just the kid in us knowing that we shouldn't indulge but that no one can stop us.  I'm happy no one stopped us this night and even happier that we didn't pick the dessert ourselves.  Selected for us by Freddie the restaurant manager was the Zeppole - homemade chocolate ganache filled "mini" doughnuts.  The not so miniature doughnuts were a delight to all of our senses.  They looked and smelt so good the table next to us ordered theirs before we even tasted ours.  The taste and fun of cutting open a powdered doughnut filled with rich chocolate ganache was far better than any cheesecake in town...I'm willing to run the comparison.

 

Zeppole al Cioccolato | italian style doughnuts, chocolate gianduja, vanilla crème anglaise

Zeppole al Cioccolato | italian style doughnuts, chocolate gianduja, vanilla crème anglaise

 

Whether you're looking for a dinner, business lunch, or a fun night our with friends Italian Kitchen has got you covered.  It's upscale dining in a price range that means you can celebrate life's little moments and still afford to pay rent.  I recommend a reservation and if you're going with a big group inquire about the platters.  If you decide to follow my recommendations and order the Zeppole for dessert make sure you get an extra seat because I may just show up to share it!
 

 

 

 
Words: Amanda Scott
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

GAME ON Afternoon Tea at NOTCH8 by Jenn Chan

Notch8

 

Notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has done it again! With the new season, comes a new theme. Notch8 has decided to combine our love for classic board games with delicious cocktails and finger foods and transformed the Private Dining Room into a Games Room! From Wednesdays to Sundays, you'll be able to put your pinkies up with game inspired Afternoon Tea along with going head to head with your friends on your favourite games.

 

Aside from their popular Afternoon Tea, starting this Friday at 7pm, and every Friday until November 17th, they will awesome be offering "Tipsy Tea", which offers its guests fun cocktails, delicious bites, and an evening of competition, whether it be a game of Snakes & Ladders, or a competitive game of Monopoly!

 

Board Games
GAME ON Afternoon Tea
GAME ON Afternoon Tea
Miss Scarlet : Tangueray Ten Gin, Rosebud Tea Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Raspberry Jam, Egg White

Miss Scarlet : Tangueray Ten Gin, Rosebud Tea Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Raspberry Jam, Egg White

GAME ON Cocktails

 

Here's everything that's offered on the GAME ON Afternoon Tea Set, from the creative tier acquired from the UK, to the creative finger foods created by Chef Will, to the fun & games-inspired names, this set comes together beautifully. Amongst one of my favourites is the Chess-nut Tart and the Go Fish Niscoise Sandwich.

 

GAME ON Afternoon Tea: Go Fish - Niscoise Sandwich, King Me - Double Stacked Blini, Game of L.I.F.E. Sandwich, Chess-nut Tart, Double Domino Lemon Tart, Red Velvet XO Macaron, Raspberry Heart Shortbread Card, Valrhona Top Hat Chocolate Mousse, Checkmate Battenberg Cake, Chocolate Checkers Coin

GAME ON Afternoon Tea: Go Fish - Niscoise Sandwich, King Me - Double Stacked Blini, Game of L.I.F.E. Sandwich, Chess-nut Tart, Double Domino Lemon Tart, Red Velvet XO Macaron, Raspberry Heart Shortbread Card, Valrhona Top Hat Chocolate Mousse, Checkmate Battenberg Cake, Chocolate Checkers Coin

King Me - Double Stacked Blini | Smoked Salmon, Caviar, Herb Cream Cheese, Baby Dill

King Me - Double Stacked Blini | Smoked Salmon, Caviar, Herb Cream Cheese, Baby Dill

Go Fish - Niscoise Sandwich | Ahi Tuna, Shrimp, Olives, Green Beans, Poached Eggs, Baby Potatoes, Anchovy Olive Tapenade

Go Fish - Niscoise Sandwich | Ahi Tuna, Shrimp, Olives, Green Beans, Poached Eggs, Baby Potatoes, Anchovy Olive Tapenade

 

Game On Afternoon Tea runs from September 20th – November 26th, 2017, Wednesdays
– Sundays at 11AM, 1PM & 3PM. Adults $59, Children $29.5 (ages 12 & under).

Game Night Tipsy Tea runs Friday evenings from October 6th – November 17th, 2017, at 7PM. $75 per person. Guests must be 19+ years of age.

I hope to see you there!

 

GAME ON Afternoon Tea at Notch8
 
Words & Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Trattoria Kitchen by Glowbal Group Fall Menu by Jenn Chan

Trattoria Kitchen

 

Have you ever been to a restaurant that had a great general manager? Adam Jeal at Trattoria is a gentleman and clearly passionate about hospitality. Young, vibrant and an obvious floor leader as smiling staff whirred around him serving equally smiling patrons discreetly loosening their belts under the table. We were greeted and sat at an initiate table by a window near the heated patio which was still bustling at night in late September.

 

In Italy a Trattoria is an eating establishment, less formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria. In Kitsilano, the beautiful West 4th to be exact, Trattoria is Vancouverite for upscale Italian dining lounge. Dark and sultry with red shimmering candles centring each table and backlight wine displays lining the walls. Romantic for a Valentine's Day celebration, which we've done, or casual for a couple drinks after work.

 

We started our culinary experience with a couple drinks because, you know, palate cleansing and all that. I went with the Fig Fashion, a take on the Old Fashion featuring the ancient Egyptian delight; the fig. Maker's Mark Bourbon, fig syrup and angostura bitters. This drink is very tart and may surprise the average patron in its composition. This is not your grandpa's Old Fashioned! I definitely appreciated the extra dilution once the ice started to melt a bit, but a very imaginative cocktails that hits its mark! The Italian Mule varies from its Russian cousin by way of grapefruit bitters which gives it an Aperol-esque Italian tinge. Stoli vodka, lime, the aforementioned grapefruit bitters, simple syrup and ginger beer. Extremely refreshing!

 

Fig Fusion
Italian Mule

Italian Mule

 

Adam "the Real Deal" Jeal recommended for us the Feature Platter for 2 which Trattoria basically donates to its customers at $60!

 

  • Veal or Chicken or Eggplant entree
  • Classic pasta
  • 4 Jumbo tiger prawns
  • Brussels sprouts and potatoes
  • Bottle of House red or white from 49th Parallel

 

For our entrée we went with the Veal Parmigiana;

breaded and topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Let me preface those meal, as I'd be remiss if I didn't, by saying I am uncomfortable at the notion of killing baby anything: humans, dogs, dreams or cows. I'm sure I'm not the only one? I also hate the thought of full grown cows, shackled on conveyor belts, meeting their end by sledgehammer to the skull yet I devour the rarest of steaks viciously, primally, as though I landed the death blow myself. It's a tough tightrope to walk being a carnivore yet objecting to shark fin soup, for example, or the age at which age it's acceptable to harvest the subservient bovine's flesh. With that in mind I dove into the veal, perhaps only my second venture into the infant meat, though my mind balked at being asked to recall, and I enjoyed it. The Parmesan and tomato sauce bath it received gives it a distinctively Italian flavour, the meat was tender and tangy and it is quite delicious.

 

The Jumbo Tiger Prawns were plump and perfectly cooked. And we were still munching when our Short Rib Pappardella arrived looking all sexy. Braised short ribs, pine nuts, wild mushrooms in café au lait. Best. Pappardella. Of my semi-young life! Tender and beautifully seasoned short ribs swimming in a creamy, coffee sauce with fresh mushrooms and pine nuts. It would take a very cynical man, half a shell of one really, to find fault with this dish!

 

Because, in hindsight, he was trying to kill us by stuffing us until we ballooned into a giant blueberry, à la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Adam also suggested we also try the Risotto of the Day; Truffle Mushroom. Trust me when I tell you the platter is more than enough! The risotto was perfectly cooked, not too al dente and not too mushy; the perfect firmness! If you're a fan of the blog you know that I don't adore truffle now do I swoon for fungi, but this dish turned my head. Cheesy, creamy and rich and without the truffle overpowering it as it so often does. Well balanced, fresh and flavourful. If you read these words and decide to go and are disappointed I will eat my hat!

 

Truffle Mushroom Risotto

Truffle Mushroom Risotto

Bottle of House White
Feature Platter for 2 - $60

Feature Platter for 2 - $60

Veal Parmagiana
Short Rib Papparadelle

Short Rib Papparadelle

 

For dessert we had the Crème brûlée. I was once served crème brûlée, at a fairly upscale restaurant, that was little more than pudding, perhaps store bought, that had been blow torched on top to form a crust. The "crust" of this signature dish whose name literally translates to 'burnt creme', mooshed away as wedove our spoons in her. We were left with a dessert Bill Cosby might like, not because it was passed out, but because it was essentially a bowl of $2 Jello pudding. This ain't that! A hard crust that resisted my initial attempt to pierce its golden skin as though it was John Snow protecting the Wall. 'Thud' as my spoon feebly slid along the top like an ice fisherman failing to break all the way through to the water. When I finally penetrated its protective coating the light, smooth, lemony creme enveloped my mouth with a velvety brûlée decadence almost unrivalled outside of France. You need this dessert on your life, trust me! I'll often have a nice port or sweeter cocktail with my desert and we went with the Shaken Espresso which starts with Stoli vodka and Kahlua and adds in a beautiful espresso brown simple syrup. Don't let the martini glass or the name sway you this is an easy sipping cocktail that is both at home as an accompaniment to a dessert as it would be at a ski chalet!

 

Shaken Espresso
Shaken Espresso
Vanilla Creme Brulee

 

Trattoria is a fantastic restaurant and the Glowbal Group is the best restaurant conglomerate in Vancouver. Period. They do casual seafood in the Fish Shack as well as they do mind blowing seafood at Coast. Glowbal Grill and its jaw dropping architecture, decor and ambience is the one of best restaurants in Vancouver and Black & Blue is right there with it. Give them a quick Google. There are happy hours and lunch specials and seasonal promotions to tempt even the most frugal diner and Adam's GM service is not the exception he is the rule. Franklin at the Glowbal Grill can make you feel like royalty, Mikey Moore at Black & Blue and Frenchy and crew at Coast delighting restaurant goers. Do yourself a favour and splurge! No one is promised tomorrow.

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan