If my memory serves me correctly, the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond has never been known for its food. It was an ol' skool pub serving its faithful patrons booze with some food on the side. Therefore, I've never been inclined to stop and go eat there. It's like that ugly Hawaiian shirt in your closet that exists, but is never worn. Hey! I don't have any Hawaiian shirts... Okay fine I do. Don't judge me. Anyways, I recently got an invite to check out the renovated Pumphouse (now part of the Kooner Hospitality Group) that aims to offer more than the usual pub experience. In fact, it was for their Collaboration Long Table Dinner featuring Master Sushi Chef Shunji Yamamoto from Guu and Chef Daniela Iaci - yes something completely unexpected for a pub. And naturally, a craft beer pairing for each of the 5 courses as well.
Not noted as a heavy drinker, Mijune joined me on this food adventure anyways (yes, she's a cheap drunk). We started with the Portobello & Oyster Mushroom Tempura with an Italian spicy roasted tomato sauce and a yuzu citrus ponzu aioli. Possibly due to not being served immediately, the portobello mushroom was not crispy. As for the sauces, both were good with the aioli being fresh and light while the tomato having a rich full-bodied flavour with a spicy finish. This was paired with an Elysian Savant IPA which helped cut the grease. Next was the Korean-Style Spicy Beef Tartare with arugula salad and horseradish creme fraiche topped with onions and capers. The beef was aesthetically-pleasing while being tender and buttery. The kimichi spices were a bit of a surprise, but worked offering up a good spice level. This was paired with an Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale which was fruity and light. Not sure if this was the best choice for this dish, but I liked it nonetheless.
Moving along, we were curious with the Mac-n-Motoyaki consisting of roasted kabocha pumpkin puree with motoyaki sauce, sauteed shrimp and cauliflower. This was actually a pretty good combination of flavours. The motoyaki was greasy (but then it should be) and rich and went well with the snappy shrimp and crisp cauliflower. However, I found the macaroni a bit disconnected with the sauce (which was mostly sweet). I liked the Elysian Immortal IPA since it helped lighten up the greasiness. Chef Shunji prepared the Aburi Sushi in front of us which was a treat. As expected, the sushi rice was well made with a nice chewiness and balanced flavour. This was our favourite item of the meal and wished to have more of it. We found the Odin Frey'as Gold Kolsh Style Ale to be crisp and clean which went nicely with the sushi.
The sushi was accompanied by an Uni Risotto finished with soy sauce and crispy prosciutto. Well, there is no sugar-coating this one, it was not prepared properly. The risotto was clumpy and pasty which wasted such a wonderful ingredient such as uni (and yes, they forgot the prosciutto which was served on the side). Lastly, we finished off with the Japanese-Style Coffee Jelly with cold-pressed 49th Parallel coffee with marscapone mousse and stout reduction. I found that the sweet marscapone was essential in balancing out the bitterness of the coffee jelly. However, as Mijune stated, this dessert would've benefited from some cake (as a complimentary texture). The Alameda Black Bear Stout was surprisingly light and did not overwhelm the dessert. Overall, I have to give the Kooner Hospitality Group credit for trying to elevate dining experiences at their restaurants. This particular meal was interesting and a good value ($50.00 with beer). Despite some execution issues, it has me intrigued about the next Long Table Dinner.
- Good value considered 5 beers!
- Can't be criticized for being boring
- The portions in this particular meal were small
- Some execution issues