In for dinner with friends on April 1st specifically to partake in their Poisson d’Avril festival of fish celebration. At one point early in the evening I discovered that someone had put a paper fish on my back and that some of the others in my dinner party had also received such fun colourful fish, I knew that there was some madness and that I shouldn’t pre-judge the evening. With paper fish on our backs, it turns out that while we in Canada celebrate April 1st with frivolity, in France they too enjoy some fun and on the 1st day of April all over the country, people attach paper fish cut-outs to the backs of family and friends and they often shout ‘Poisson d’Avril’.
From April 1st through 30th, join Provence Marinaside in Yaletown for some finny fun and fine food at its second annual Poisson d’Avril. The good folks at Provence Marinaside believe you can never have too much of a good thing and have extended the fun to encompass a month-long celebration of all things fishy.
The celebration comes with its own ‘fish forward’ three-course menu offering a ‘school’ of choices for only $45. On it you’ll find fish of every description prepared in a myriad of ways. From sardines to salmon, confit to bouillabaisse there is something to please every fish lover on the extensive menu. For an additional $5 you can also order the Whole Fish of the Day, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and seven-grain rice. Then end on a sweet note with a choice of something decadent from Provence’s regular menu of hand-crafted desserts. Can you say ‘French lemon tarte?’
I tasted a variety of appetizers and most enjoyed the Duo of Smoked Fish along with the Halibut Cheek Confit. For my entrée, I had the delicious and flavourful Halibut and was fortunate to also taste the outstanding Sardines as well as the Sablefish. For dessert, I had to have my favourite Berry and White Chocolate Clafoutis, a french style cake served warm with vanilla ice cream
During April, some Provence patrons will find a lucky Poisson under their plate or pinned to their coat. These Poissons come with a prize – perhaps a complimentary appetizer, dessert or meal discount or a copy of New World Provence or even a chance to win a personal cooking demonstration class in their home with Chefs Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia.
The restaurant will also offer a daily rosé feature by the glass, half litre or bottle.
Poisson d’Avril 2010
April 1 – 30, 2010
Duo of Smoked Fish
albacore tuna and salmon
pearl onions, gherkins, mixed greens
Mackerel Façon Bouillabaisse
poached in fish soup
saffron rouille, gruyère cheese
Halibut Cheek Confit
snow pea sprouts, piquillo peppers, tapenade crostini
Citrus Dusted Salmon
asparagus, hollandaise, fingerling potatoes
Baked Sardine Fillets
Mediterranean vinaigrette, farro, arugula, spinach
marinated oven dried plum tomato vinaigrette
legumes vert, saffron new potatoes
or Daily Whole Fish
seasonal vegetables, seven grain rice
(please add $5 for this dish)
snow pea sprouts, piquillo peppers
fennel, orange, black olive essence
choice from our menu
$45 per person
While there is something very fishy happening at Provence Marinaside in April, diners will agree that the Poisson d’Avril menu is no joke!
Provence Marinaside: 1177 Marinaside Crescent (Yaletown), Vancouver 604-681-4144
Review by: Richard Wolak