Sherman's Food Adventures: Fable

Fable

As much as it is cool to visit new restaurants all the time, some of the more established ones are worth revisiting.  So when Costanza suggested we hit up Fable for his birthday, it was a good time to have some of my favourite dishes there.  For those who don't know, Fable is a tongue-and-check name for Trevor Bird's farm-to-table restaurant in Kits.  He opened it up shortly after his appearance on Top Chef Canada at the former location of Fuel and Re-Fuel.  I had originally dined there after it opened and came away satisfied.  Seeing how they still had 2 of my favourites on the menu, there was a good chance this visit would yield the same result.

As such, I did order those dishes in the Canned Tuna and Spaghetti & Meatballs.  Don't let their names fool you as they are not what they seem.  For the canned tuna, it was essentially a jar of albacore, potatoes, tomato and olive oil sous-vide.  To eat this correctly, we had to mix the ingredients vigorously to create a chunky slurry.  So if you can imagine how canned tuna tastes like, then you will get part of the flavour profile of the dish.  However, with fresh albacore, the texture was much more buttery.  A touch of acidity helped keep the dish bright as well.  Looking at the next offering, it was technically tagliatelle and a duck meatball filled with mushrooms.  Some duck jus and a parmesan foam completed the flavours.  Once again, we did the mix-it-up routine where we found a mix of the gaminess of duck, umaminess of mushroom and aromatic saltiness of parmesan.  Add it to the al dente pasta and this was as good as we remembered.

Unlike the last time, we didn't have any raw oysters on the half shell.  Rather, they had something called Oyster Fish n' Chips.  Basically, these little oysters were beer-battered and fried, placed in a half shell, topped with tatar and shoestring fries.  So again, just like the first 2 dishes, the whimsical interpretation of ordinary food items was prevalent.  Crunchy and light, the batter gave way to a briny and buttery oyster.  Tangy and creamy, the tartar sauce was a natural compliment while the shoestring fries added some crunch.  Since Elaine isn't much into oysters, she did not participate in this (as it is charged per piece).  Rather, she had the other one bite appie in the Chickpea Fritter (also charged per piece).  I've had this before, but it was plated a bit differently with curry mayo, pickled onions and pea shoots.  Falafel-like, but fluffier, this was crunchy and the curry really came through.  Acidity was provided by the pickled onions.

We weren't done with the small plates yet as we also got the Cornbread that consisted of 4 large slices for a very reasonable price of $4.00.  I'm not sure if it was a good idea to order this since we already had 4 different small plates already, but it was good nonetheless.  Although not crispy nor crunchy on the exterior, it really didn't matter as the cornbread itself was soft, airy and fluffy with the right amount of moisture.  It wasn't too sweet where it balanced with the savoury aspects. Not on the menu, the featured small plate was the Grilled Caesar with croutons and tallow bacon.  Initially, I believed there was far too much dressing on top, but the impactful acidity really cut down on the creaminess.  Furthermore, the brininess of the anchovies really came through.  Loved how the smokiness of the grill on the romaine was present without it being over-wilted.  Lots of crunch was provided by the large buttery croutons and crumble.

Onto the larger plates, we had the Halibut with pork belly, pea/miso risotto, scallions and tokyo turnips.  This was the most delicately seasoned concoction of the bunch, but in our minds, probably intentional.  For the protein itself, the halibut was prepared expertly with a crispy seasoned sear on the outside while the fish itself was flaky and moist.  Although the flavour profile was rather bright due to the greenery, the caramelized pork belly did add some concentrated saltiness. In addition to trying their featured small plate, we also had their large one being the Pappardelle with tomatoes, broccolini, braised pork and pork butter.  This was silky and meaty while maintaining a balanced seasoning.  I thought this dish was excellent, but unfortunately, the fresh pasta was a bit overdone being too soft.

Ending off strong, our other 2 larger dishes were absolutely excellent and delicious.  The Seared Striploin was cooked to a a tender medium-rare with beautiful charring.  It was accompanied by celeriac remoulade, salt-baked celeriac and beef tallow horseradish crumb.  Other than the beef, the most impactful thing on the plate was the remoulade as it was creamy and tangy.  The crunch from the nutty beef tallow crumb was a nice textural contrast.  My favourite one of the bunch had to be the Smoked Duck Breast with glazed parsnip, duck parsnip croquette and Napa cabbage.  Beautifully seared and well-rendered, the crispy duck skin gave way to tender medium-cooked duck.  It was moist and flavourful with a umami smokiness.  On the side, the croquette was crispy and full of duck mixed with soft parsnip.  So there you have it, a solid return visit to Fable.  Other than the soft pasta, everything else was on point and as tasty as it was before.

The Good:
- Well-executed proteins
- Good flavour combos
- Whimsical appies

The Bad:
- Pasta was a bit soft
- Salad was a bit overdressed

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