*Restaurant is now closed*
Location, location, location. That's what we hear all the time. It can be about buying a house and it also can mean where you should run a business. Actually, it could also mean where not to go if you don't want any unnecessary grief (ie. Richmond during rush hour...). Anyways, there is this one spot in Yaletown right at the end of Hamilton near Drake. There have several restaurants that have come and gone without much long term success. The most recent attempt was Charm Modern Thai which recently closed. Now, rising from the ashes comes Caché Bistro & Lounge. For me at least, I don't mind the location, because it means a greater chance at scoring a parking spot (a safe one at that...). Most of the spots in the heart of Yaletown seem to be designed only for Minis or Fiat 500's.
Caché is the owned and operated by Chef Alex Mok who previously ran the successful Underground Supper Club. I was invited, along with other food writers and media, to sample their 5-course tasting menu. I met up with some familiar faces including Rick, Sean and Ange. We were first presented with a baguette flanked by 3 types of butter consisting of Cranberry, Satay and Truffle. The cranberry was tart and not that sweet while the truffle butter was very Earthy and strong. I liked the satay the best as it exhibited a je ne sais quoi quality. Our first course (Foie Gras Creme Brulee) was presented beautifully in an egg shell on a bed of frisee. Inside lay a creamy concoction of mild custard and chunks of foie topped with flying fish caviar. Not really a creme brulee in the literal sense of the word, it was heavy and rich. The portion size was about right, as if it was any larger, it would've been too heavy for a starter. The richness was somewhat alleviated by the
frisee salad with white truffle vinaigrette.
Next up was the Black Tea Smoked Duck Breast with arugula salad, lemon vinaigrette, onion jam, white wine soaked raisins and candied walnuts. The duck exhibited a subtle smokiness and was super tender. There was a good amount of fat, but it was not chewy at all. The salad and onion jam added a nice acidity to compliment the duck. The crunch of the walnuts and the sweetness from the raisins added another layer of texture and flavour. This was the best dish of the night. From one fowl to another, we had the Bacon-wrapped Semi De-boned Quail stuffed with marinated dried cranberries. Served on the side was grilled asparagus, eggplant, zucchini and peppers. This was bit difficult to eat despite the partial de-boning (that doesn't sound right does it?). Regardless, the meat was moist and subtle in flavour. The cranberries added a sweet tartness while the bacon did its bacony thing. There was flavour, yet I would've personally liked just a touch more. As for the veggies, they were grilled up nicely and well-seasoned. This was a well-executed dish, however, it lacked impact.
Onto our 4th course, we had a vegetarian offering with the Spinach & Cream Cheese Stuffed Portobello Cap with aged balsamic reduction and spinach salad. One bite and the flavours really stood out, especially the drizzle of reduced balsamic. Due to the use of generous use of cream cheese, this was not light. The crunch from the bread crumbs somewhat alleviated the lack of texture from the mushroom and cream cheese. I liked the flavour profile of the dish, but not necessarily the textures. Lastly, we had the Pavlova with fresh strawberries and hibiscus cream. The meringue was a touch dense and clumsy to eat. The cream was not heavy and benefited from the addition of basil. This was a light way to finish off the meal. Despite not being blown away, the meal as a whole was pretty decent. The one thing that really stands out is the price points on the menu. Nothing is over $20.00 and that is an accomplishment for any restaurant situated in Yaletown. Considering that Caché Bistro & Lounge serves up fine-dining fare, it represents a good value in a neighbourhood that usually is known for being overpriced.
*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*
- Reasonable pricing
- Nice dining space
- The food wasn't bad, but could've been more impactful