562 Beatty St, Vancouver
Dine Out Vancouver has been an annual event since 2002, and I personally have been attending since 2004. Through this event, I have found some great restaurants and of course some disappointing ones as well. Once again, we had to choose a restaurant to try for this year, since both of R and I were impressed with Cafe Medina, we thought we give their sister restaurant: Chambar, a try.
Chambar has a extensive wine/beer list, and some are very interesting. R started with a beer called Fruli ($6). It's a wheat beer with fresh strawberry nose. Usually I hate beer, but for once I loved it. The truth is that this tasted like 90% strawberry juice and only about 10% beer (4.3% alcohol). It was almost like a strawberry champagne, but better.
I had a non-alcoholic drink, made with mainly passion fruit juice mixed with elderberry flower (~$7). Although it looked pretty, but the taste was pretty much club soda with passion fruit juice. There was this little tiny ball like thing in my drink, after digging it out, it looked like a tiny flower bud. I am guessing 1 elderberry flower is all this drink need. (I really couldn't detect any other flavor other than passion fruit).
R's appetizer consisted of black trumpet, cardamom and truffle soup with a side of roasted king oyster mushroom and curried goat cheese. The soup was rather thick with a distinct truffle flavor. The foam on top contributes nothing, as it deflated really fast. The roasted mushroom was juicy and delicious, but I was not a fan of the curried goat cheese.
I started with the tuna carpaccio. It's a charred yellowfin tuna with celery, daikon & citrus brunoix, pomegranate molasses, red shiso. The tuna was super thin and soft, but all the vegetables were crunch, so it created a contrast between the two texture. The citrus dressing was good, as it certainly opened up my appetite.
For my main, I went with the roasted halibut with a curried saffron risotto with a eggplant yogurt caviar sauce. I loved the halibut, it was moist and soft. The saffron risotto was rich and flavorful. However I was not a fan of the eggplant yogurt caviar. It was just sourish yogurt without much of any other flavors.
R went with the white wine butter cooked mussel with braised leek, celery and black pepper. First, this was a huge portion. R was very full after this. The mussels were delicious and soft. Each one was well infused with tons of flavor. The soup on the bottom was light enough to drink it all by itself. It would be perfect for dipping bread too, but we were too full, and just drank it as it. The mussels also comes with a order of fries, they were good, but not special.
For my dessert, I had the vanilla passion fruit parfait with lemon honey tuile. The passion fruit 'log' was like gelato with a very strong passion fruit flavor. The lemon honey tuile on the side was great as well, but I did not like the coconut shaving on top.
R went with the dark chocolate pecan torte with bourbon cream and caramel sauce. They used dark chocolate for this torte, which R liked. The torte was very dense and rich in flavor, but I prefer lighter tasting dessert, so it's a good thing I didn't order this. What I did loved about this dessert was the bourbon cream, it was thick and rich with a nice bourbon flavor.
This was a $38 3 course set meal. Sometime I think Dine Out is no longer worth it at $38, because I could probably added less than $10 for the same experience without the limited selection. Also, some restaurants serves food that are not on their regular menu, which seems to me like they are downgrading their quality. So it was definitely a plus when I noticed all the selection at Chambar is on their regular menu. In the end, both R and I are impressed and will definitely come back for more.