Since the very first time I ever visited EBO in the Delta Burnaby, it remained a go-to place especially with the kids (very kid-friendly fine dining restaurant). Not only did it dish out fairly inventive and solid eats, it was all done in the burbs which was convenient for us. Dan Craig, the Executive Chef at the time, did more than the expected for a hotel restaurant and now has moved onto SoCo in Toronto. Now at the helm is Chef Keith Pears (also winner on Chopped Canada), who continues the "Experiences Beyond Ordinary", which was on display at a recent invite to try their tasting menu.
We were started off with a different version of Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. Normally, we'd see the parm/truffle aioli with arugula, but not at EBO. Rather, the thin slices of buttery, yet meaty beef was brushed with a fish sauce Asian vinaigrette and topped with horseradish aioli, triple crunch mustard, house pickles and yes, a touch of arugula and squid ink parm chip. Due to the acidity of the vinaigrette, mustard and pickles, this was a light and appetizing dish. Loved the textural contrasts of the pickles and chip as well.
Normally, I'm as excited to see a tomato salad as much as my mother-in-law walking through the front door. However, the Heirloom Tomato Salad was one of those dishes that made an impact and I'm still tasting it in my mind as I write this post. The brightness and acidity of the dish was very impactful with the white balsamic and salted compressed peaches as well as the pickled tomatoes. Add in the sweet balsamic and the flavours started to blend from tangy to sweet continuing onto the creamy stracciatella and crunch from the almond praline. Adding some saltiness and body were the 2 slices of Serrano ham.
One dish that could've been better was the Local Salmon with lardo and Hollandaise, black radish, pine nuts and ikura. Okay, to clarify, there was nothing really wrong with the salmon as it was barely cooked-through and moist. Furthermore, the aromatic pine nuts and the brininess from the ikura added aroma to the dish. I thought the Hollandaise was creamy and pleasant enough, yet could've used more lemon. The problem was the overly firm and dense seared bacon and Manchego gnocchi. It was a shame as the flavours were spot on where the cheese wasn't too gamy while the bacon did its thing.
Everything was well with the Albacore Tuna Poke though. This "deconstructed" version consisted of tuna sashimi, tataki and belly with compressed watermelon, ponzu, ikura, avocado and crushed sesame. This was very tasty in terms of flavour and textures. The tuna was buttery and sweet being complimented nicely by the poke dressing that was purposefully salty (also bits of fleur de sel) with balanced amounts of sweetness and acidity. Loved eating the refreshing and concentrated flavours of the compressed watermelon last.
I was pretty happy to see the Moroccan Spiced Lamb consisting of deboned rack and loin mousse sausage since I never get to eat it at home (Viv doesn't prefer it). The meat itself was tasty due to the Moroccan spices and it didn't hurt that it was prepared a beautiful medium rare too. Moreover, the demi on the side was silky and rich with definite hits of reduced red wine. As much as the rack of lamb was on point, the mousse with a chunk of loin within was the real winner as it was texturally interesting being buttery and succulent. I found their version of a tabbouleh salad to be light and creamy from the smoked yogurt. In between this and the next dish, we were presented with a Champagne Freezie... It was pretty sweet, but that was a nice refreshing surprise.
Okay, whenever I see chicken on the menu, it generally disappoints. Now, the Roast Chicken Duo didn't do such a thing here. It featured a sous-vide and seared chicken breast as well as thigh presse. Both were succulent and moist while nicely accented by the Shao Xing sauce which was salty with a background hint of sweet wine. The chanterelles did their woodsy thing while the sweet carrot puree kept things balanced. If this wasn't enough, the crispy chicken skin added a crunch and the freshly shaved truffle added another layer of Earthiness.
We ended off with a Peach Mille Feuille with almond financier, brown butter powder, and popcorn ice cream. I found the dessert to be mildly sweet with buttery layers of crepe with plenty of fruit in between. The tartness of the gel made the flavours pop more than they would've without. Light and aromatic, the popcorn ice cream could've been a touch creamier. But really, there were very few flaws to be found for this tasting menu. It was well-thought out and the execution was spot on. Loved the use of acidity and balance of flavours. It appears that Executive Chef Keith Pears has succeeded in continuing the tradition of elevated eats at EBO.
*All food, beverages and gratiuties were complimentary*
- Better than most hotel restaurants
- Spacious and comfortable
- Use of acidity for the first 3 dishes was noticeable. For me, I loved it. However, for others, it could be too much