Spending the last 2 days along at the Hotel Vancouver (for a conference), Viv finally made it down to give me some company. Sure, Miss Y was there for awhile too, but she left for Europe. I can't say that I'm not jealous of her!!! Whatever the case, it meant that I can go for a decent meal (without eating alone). Sure, I could've went with some other people, but for some reason, I was being anti-social. Besides, I really should have some good meals with the missus right??? We ended up at another restaurant from David Gunawan (Farmer's Apprentice and Grapes & Soda) in Royal Dinette.
We decided to start the meal with the Burrata with spaghetti squash, apple, sorrel, honey and grilled bread. Soft, creamy and buttery, the burrata was still fresh (being within the key 48-hour period). With the sweetness of honey, squash and apple, the dish was trending towards one side of the flavour balance. We would've liked to see a touch more acidity, but the sorrel did add a brightness to the dish. Next up was the Grilled Herring with potato vinaigrette, smoked roe and watercress. Buttery and firm, the herring was accented well by the acidic and well-seasoned vinaigrette. The firm, yet completely cooked-through potato cubes were texturally appealing. Furthermore, the smokiness and pop of the crunchy roe added both texture and a seafoodiness to the dish (in addition to the fishiness of the herring).
Moving onto our mid-course, we had 2 pastas including the Bucatini with white anchovy, lemon, garlic, broccoli, capers and scallop bottarga. Firm and chewy, the pasta was nicely seasoned which was further amped by the mild saltiness of the anchovy and surprisingly the non-salty capers. I thought the dish would be too salty, but this wasn't the case. The lemon combined with the capers brought the necessary tartness while the scallop bottarga an extra fishiness to the dish. Next, we had the Fettuccine with lamb ragu, picholine olives, apricot, mint, spinach and crushed almonds. As much as this could've been all about bold flavours, the dish was actually subtle and complex. The richness of the lightly tart ragu (with noted gaminess) gave way to the olives and then finished off with the sweetness of the apricot and brightness of the mint. Very good.
We shared one main being the Skate with clams, herb panisse, kale buds, olive and chicken blanquette. The lightly floured and pan-fried skate was beautifully prepared being buttery and flaky. It was rather salty though. We found the chicken blanquette underneath to be very rich, salty and buttery. Not sure if it went with the delicate and well-salted skate. As for the panisse, it was also very rich, dense and salty. We didn't really care for it as it just didn't add much to the dish other than weighing it down even more so. Loved the crispy chicken skin though (who doesn't love crispy chicken skin?).
For dessert, we had the Pistachio Tart with meyer lemon curd ice cream, dried plums and rosemary. The tart itself featured a firm crust with a nutty concoction that was fairly sweet and uninteresting. Other than the usual pistachio essence, the whole thing needed the tart dried plumps to bring out the flavours. Keeping things cool (literally) and tart, the ice cream ate more like a sorbet palate-cleasner. Overall, we enjoyed portions of our meal. The herring and pastas were very on point while the rest were definitely pedestrian. A hit and miss meal for us.
- Fair portions
- Reasonable-pricing for Downtown
- Solid pastas
- Hit and miss
- Skate dish was a bit disappointing