Our appetizers came pretty quickly, presumably prepared ahead of time for the event of Dine Out.
Wild Mushroom Carpaccio is a salad of arugula, leek, tons of mushrooms of course, tossed in an interesting leek ash vinaigrette. I liked the mix of different types of mushrooms here- I’m no mushroom expert, but the one kind I can name is the obvious enoki on top, there’s way more beneath the greens though! There were some crunchy bits of I-don’t-even-know what they were but yeah, those added some nice textures. However, the mushrooms were intolerably salty from the dressing.. the aftertaste was so overwhelming! Mama Rae and I chugged down a few glasses of water afterwards, I’m not even kidding. (1/5)
They brought out a tray of pepper and salt for our meal- there were regular salt, bacon salt and chili salt. (Although I clearly didn’t need any with the already excessive saltiness of my salad.)
Mama Rae tried the Braised Smoked Beef Tongue, which was served on a toast with some greens, lardo, and pickled onions. The meat was soft and tender with good flavouring, and paired well with the bread. Mama Rae didn’t find it particularly special though. (3.5/5)
The entrees a bit longer to come, which we didn’t mind because we needed some time to settle down from our belly full of water.. We were expecting some hot food, but unfortunately, they turned out to be just awkwardly lukewarm.
Mama Rae wanted to try the Merrit Yak Stew. Seriously, who’s even had yak before? The stew had a decent amount of the yak, and some salsify, carrots, celery, and onions. Mama Rae wasn’t too impressed with her entree- she found the vegetables slightly too hard (but they were okay for me), and the meat rather bland. As you can see, the toast was burnt to the point of blackening too, but avoiding the burnt side, Mama Rae seemed to have liked the bone marrow butter that was spread on . (2.5/5)
At this point, we were a little disappointed.. but that’s when the game-changing Black Trumpet & Barley Risotto came into play. This was spot on! The combination of tender mushrooms (I seem to be on a mushroom kick, while Mama Rae on a bread fest.) and the ultra creamy risotto was so pleasing to my taste buds. There was a complementing cheesy flavour from the Blackburn cheddar, which I found to be at just the perfect amount. Some swiss chard was thrown in too for a boost of greens. If I were to be super critical, I would say that I would’ve liked it better if it was hotter, since there were clumps forming in the risotto. At first glance, the portion seemed ridiculously small in ratio to the gigantic plate, but it actually turned out to be pretty filling. I needed some help from Mama Rae to finish off my plate.. it was hard to convince myself to share though because it was so yummy! 😛 (5/5)
Uh they made a little booboo with this mysterious piece of skin of some sort.. o-o But I’ll let that slide for the amazing taste.
I went to the bathroom (TMI?) and our desserts surprisingly already there when I got back. I was sad to see the scoop of vanilla icecream on my Okanagan Apple Tart Tatin melting sobsob.. What made it worse was the fact that it was Earnest icecream! Everyone raves about this place, and my friend Janjan is pretty obsessed with them too, so I was stoked to finally try some myself. Maybe my expectations were raised high.. the icecream was really just okay.. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t taste bad or anything, I just thought it was too milky and lacked an actual vanilla flavour. Mama Rae, who might I mention, previously owned icecream parlours back in our hometown in China, agreed with me. The tart tatin itself was alright. I found it too sweet but the tartness from the layer of sliced apples balanced it out a bit. (3/5)
Mama Rae’s Chocolate Bread Pudding was quite delicious! It appears that I’ve been more appreciative of chocolate lately (with certain standards of course).. because I actually enjoyed this. Probably more than my tart. 😛 The four generous chunks of soft, bread pudding was soaked with a rich, aromatic chocolatey flavour, which had the perfect medium between sweet and bitter. Mama Rae picked off the crusts, mmm more crispy goodness for me! This was served with a drizzle of rye caramel. (4/5)
While the food was meh, Mama Rae and I definitely had a pleasurable time here. Well… besides the over-seasoned Wild Mushroom Carpaccio and charred toast, the food was actually not bad, though I’m not sure if I would pay the full price. Except the risotto, which I would totally come back for! In term of service, the staff were very welcoming and attentive, and always keen on filling our water. Perhaps not the most perfect first dine out experience, but nothing in life is. (;