Sherman's Food Adventures: Annora

Annora

Whenever Nikita and Bluebeard want to get together for eats, they are looking forward in escaping Langley and heading into Downtown for some fine eats.  Well...  I usually put a wrench into those plans as I look at it as an opportunity to explore the culinary scene in Langley!  Okay okay, I know that culinary and Langley are usually not spoken in the same sentence but bear with me here.  This suburb is one of the fastest-growing and as a result, it has increased amount of services including good places to eat.  One place that I had on my list is a little spot called Annora in Langley City.  We checked the place out before heading to Cineplex for a movie.

Viv and I decided to go for their 3-course meal deal at a reasonable $34.00.  For my starter, I chose the Homemade Gnocchi with crisp prosciutto, squash puree and herb cream.  This was a delightful appie where the delicate gnocchi was seared up beautifully with crispy caramelized sides and a fluffy interior.  Enveloped by the sweet and smooth squash puree and aromatic cream, this was a pleasant beginning to my meal.  For Viv, she had the Crisp Halibut Cake with cilantro creme and lime.  Our fears of an overcooked dry fish cake were completely alleviated when we found flaky and moist halibut encased in a crispy breading.  The dish was not overseasoned so that the fish could be the star.  A touch of acidity and the unmistakable cilantro essence was evident as well.

Bluebeard went ahead the ordered the featured appetizer in the Seared Scallops with parsnip puree and mustard greens.  Visually-stunning with 5 evenly browned scallops, they ate buttery and were just barely cooked through.  In addition to being adequately seasoned, the scallops themselves were fresh and sweet.  Much like my ghocchi with squash puree, the parsnip puree was smooth and mildly-seasoned where it helped add a creaminess to the dish.  For his main, he decided on the Ling Cod and Prawns with crispy risotto, coconut prawn bisque and cilantro.  Decent in portion size, the ling cod was beautifully prepared where it was flaky and soft.  Prawns were perfectly meaty with a sweet snap.  As expected, the bisque was creamy and aromatic.

Seemingly a similar dish, but not, Viv had the Seared Ling Cod and Scallops with crispy risotto, thai tomato broth and cilantro.  Prepared exactly like the previous dish, the ling cod was cooked through yet still flaky and delicate.  Scallops were perfectly seared like Bluebeard's appetizer being buttery and sweet.  Loved the tomato broth as it was rich and aromatic while the cilantro was not too intrusive.  Only blemish was the risotto cake as it was burnt on on side which created an unappealing bitter taste.  The rice was good though being cheesy and and al dente.  Nikita went for the Seafood Curry which sported a bevy of expertly-cooked seafood.  However, the Thai curry was far too rich and thick while lacking the classic Thai flavours.

For myself, I decided on the Braised Beef Shortrib on a bed of mashed potato with chanterelles and leek demi glace.  I felt that the portion size on this dish to be truly lacking, yet at the same time, the execution partially made up for it.  In addition to the fluffy mash and deliciously woodsy mushrooms, the slices of shortrib were superb.  Tender and almost melt-in-my-mouth delicate, the meat was also well-seasoned by the braise.  The demi-glace was impactful and had the slightest brightness of leek.

Onto dessert, I chose the Apple Crisp with oat crumb, white chocolate and semifredo.  Small and packed with flavour, this featured little nuggets of tender sweet apples.  I thought the addition of white chocolate added another layer of sharp sweetness that the dessert probably didn't need.  Despite this, the crunchy and aromatic oats brought the sweetness down a bit and overall, it was a pleasant dessert.  I much preferred Viv's Lemon Mille Feuille with puff pastry, lemon curd and blueberry compote.  Although more sweet than tart, the lemon curd provided enough brightness to keep things light.  Add in the crunchy puff pastry and mild blueberry compote and this was less sweet and lighter than the crisp.  In general, the food at Annora was solid and provides a different option than the myriad of expensive chain restaurants nearby.

The Good:
- Excellent service
- On point execution of proteins
- Reasonably-priced

The Bad:
- Some portions sizes could be a bit bigger
- Seating is really cozy

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