Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Swallow Tail - underground 'restaurant'


Swallow Tail Secret Supper Club

Address is only revealed a few days before reservation.

Food: 3.5
Price: $49 donation for the 5 course meal

A new form of "underground restaurant" has hit the scene and gaining popularity fast. I guess with people always on the look out to try something new, this certainly fits the bill. Since I have never been to one of these, I jumped on the chance when Jonathan extended a invite for a dinner at Swallow Tail Secret Supper Club. The blogger who attended this dinner are Chowtimes, Follow Me Foodie, Food and Tell, I'm only here for the food, Le Petite Foodie, Sherman's Food Adventures, Vanfoodies and Victoria's Food Secret.
Once we arrived, we were all just hanging around the back yard waiting for the dinner to start. Before we were ushered inside, Robin (the chef) served us amouse bouche : Farmhouse BC gruyere & sour apple tart on handmade puff pastry with apple reduction. I thought these were pretty good, the creamy cheese and the tart apple work well with one another. We were ushered into the basement where the rest of the dinner will be served. The basement was lit by dim lighting, it give you a very intimate feel. Although the table was nicely set and lined to give you a hint of professionalism, but the mixed matched chair/table gave it away that this is indeed someone's home.
The meal started with a Stinging Nettle soup with Arugala ,Sweet peas and Garden Rosemary. I have never had nettle and had no idea what to expect. On the side note, Robin told us these nettle are home grown from her backyard. Personally, I thought the soup tasted mostly of the sweet peas.
The 2nd course was the Cedar smoked romaine with pecorino/parmesan, portugese olive oil vinegrette and garlic croutons. As fancy as the name sounded, but it's essentially a ceasar salad with a cedar smoked flavor. Because it's smoked, part of the romaine was slightly warm, but it still retained that crunchiness.
We were given a break between the 2nd and 3rd course, I'd say the previous courses are more like appetizers, and now here we start with the main. This would be Baked live Dungeness crab with Averill Creek BC pinot gris, garlic and crab butter with red pepper and star fruit. Although the crab was really fresh and sweet, the highlight was actually the garlic and crab butter. The butter was so good, we wanted to added it to everything (LOL).
The meat portion for our main was BC bison tenderloin with red onion jam, creamed parsnips with garden rhubbarb, sauteed leeks with cattails in BC chardonnay, cleavers and chive flowers. Wow, that is alot of ingredients for this dish. I thought the braised bison was very well done, as it was tender but flavorful. The cream parsnips on the other hand was rather bland.
To end the meal, we were served dessert: Beer battered crepe blintz with cream Earl Grey tea creme anglais, apples & huckleberries, Amontillado Sherry reduction(pepper, lemon rind, vanilla bean).The crepe blinz was rather thick, but maybe it was intended that way. The taste was a mixture of sweetness and tartness (from the apples). Overall, the dessert was average for me.
We were also served tea with dessert. The tea was a cream Earl Grey from Limbert Mountain Farm. The cream Earl Grey was delicious, it was smooth with a hint of vanilla taste. The best part of the tea was the fragrance, it was lovely.

In the end, it was a good meal, but as always the companies plays a big part. The food was good, and the ingredients are certainly interesting and fresh. However, I think a 'donation' of $49 is slightly too high. Overall, I think if you really want to try an underground restaurant, you can search around, as there are quite a few nowadays. Personally, I think they are interesting, but not all that exciting.


Doug June 3, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I don't understand the pricing of the food either... They boast about not about the money but they do make a profit! I work 40 hour a week and I make half of what they make in 1 dinner night! If they want people to understand there pricing, they have to bring to the table the same caliber as a fine dining restaurant.

Jennifer June 8, 2010 at 5:08 PM

How do I look around, most posts about underground restaurants are old by a few years or more?

Jenny June 8, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Doug, I do agree, their price should be better than restaurant, given they don't have as much overhead (such as rent, employee, etc.)

Jennifer: if you search underground restaurant Vancouver, I am sure a few will pop up, as many bloggers have attended them. A couple I know are NFA and 12B.

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