First Mosaic, then the Chef's Table and now Grain Tasting Bar? What's this love-in with the Hyatt Regency anyways? Well, my visit to Mosaic was on my own coin and time, so it was by complete coincidence that I was invited to the Chef's Table shortly after. Now my visit to Grain was somewhat expected as I was invited to their media event. However, I was not able to make it, which in turn resulted in a lunch tasting instead. So to make sure all that food wouldn't go to waste, I enlisted the help of Gadget Girl. Upon my arrival at Grain, I was pleasantly surprised at the transformation of the former stuffy and dark bar that once occupied the space. With the addition of retractable windows, the place is bright, welcoming and open. But without a proper kitchen, what could they possibly serve with their cocktails?
And yes, I started with a cocktail being the Vanilla Sky. Don't worry, Tom Cruise wasn't around to profess his love for Katie Holmes (well, not anymore at least). Rather, I was presented with a drink consisting of Canadian Club whiskey, fresh lemon juice, egg whites and vanilla extract. For me, it was refreshing and due to the frothy egg whites, it reminded me of an Orange Julius drink (albeit alcoholic). To go with the booze, we were presented with a Palatte of Caviar consisting of 3 types served with toast points, egg yolk, chives, red onion and creme fraiche. This was a pretty straightforward offering which was naturally good, but the toast points could've been crispier. Next up were some Village Bay Oysters on the half shell with a cucumber mignonette. The oysters were fresh, sweet and brightened up by the crisp cucumbers. Simple but good.
Moving along, we had the Spring Creek Ranch Beef Tartar with capers, mustard, chives and a 64 degree egg on top. This was good due to the preparation of the meat. It exhibited a nice sheen and colour while being super tender. The egg yolk offered up a silky creaminess which made the tartar go down easy. Normally, this would be served with grilled Turkish bread, but that would too much filler for this tasting. Served on the same wood plank, we had the Argentinian Red Shrimp Cocktail. The red shrimp, in my mind, most resemble spot prawns. Their delicate texture (with little-to-no snap, if not overcooked) and natural sweetness were probably enough that we didn't need the cocktail sauce. However, we did try the cocktail sauce and it was pretty balanced.
Onto my next cocktail, I was served the Ruby Tuesday consisting of Absolut raspberry vodka, Okanagan Springs taboo absinthe, cranberry juice and fresh strawberries. Suffice to say, this was another refreshing drink with a mild bite. This was light enough to balance out our next offerings which included Smoked Spanish Sausage and Meatballs served with toasted bread. The sausage was good being meaty, spicy and a nice snap from the casing. Similarly, the meatballs were moist and meaty as well while bathed in a zesty tomato sauce. I dipped the crunchy bread into the sauce and I found myself finishing it off. Again, a simple plate of food, but a great accompaniment to my beverage.
Lastly, we were served a plate of Charcuterie with bread and condiments. There was kazu copa, prosciutto and truffle salami (from Oyama Sausage Company) along with Montaña and Brie cheeses. These were accompanied by house-made mustard, chutney and candied almonds. Again, this was a pretty straightforward offering which would be excellent with some drinks (especially wine). As you can see, the food at Grain Tasting Bar ain't exactly reinventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination. However, the simple and clean presentation combined with a nicely renovated space makes it a good place to grab some bites to go with your drinks.
*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*
- Modern, spacious environment
- Simple menu that doesn't try to overextend the point of the restaurant
- With no real kitchen, the offerings are limited to what they can produce