ENSEMBLE RESTAURANT

UPDATED 11/21/12 BUSINESS HAS CLOSED

850 Thurlow Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604.569.1770

Web: http://www.ensemblerestaurant.com

Twitter: @EnsembleVan

Advice: Portions are fairly small, order a few dishes or order the 4 course tasting menu.

Some would say this restaurant is on a hidden corner as its shadowed behind bustling Robson. Once you have found it, you are in for a treat of fine cuisine at Chef Dale Mackay’s abode. My friend and fellow writer Sarah Rowland joined me for dinner the other night to explore and take our tastebuds on a journey, we began our culinary journey together starting off with a couple of drinks.

Basil Caiphirina Cocktail

Lobster Iceberg Salad

Flat Bread

Hamachi

Warm Spot Prawns Cocktail

I had the Basil Caiphirina Cocktail ($12) Cachaça, lime, simple syrup, basil and Sarah had a glass of bubbles. We started by sharing the outstanding Lobster Iceberg Salad ($17) with Lobster Caesar Dressing, Pea shoots, Bacon, Crispy Shallots; and the simple yet tasty Flat Bread ($10) topped with Bacon and Onion. The next dish didn’t wow me, Hamachi ($15) Tofu Puree, Grapefruit, Sesame Seeds; the following dish did wow me immensely Warm Spot Prawns Cocktail ($11) Romaine, Lemon, Avocado.

Beef Shin and Fritz

Poached and Crispy Chicken

Potato Gnocchi

Five Spice Pork Belly

We had originally intended to have our own entrees, however this idea had quickly transformed us into sharing the mains as well. The first dish was moist and delicious far more so than I was expecting, Beef Shin and Fritz ($12) Celery Root Puree, Watercress; next up was the Poached and Crispy Chicken ($14) Chicken Veloute, Black Trumpets, Carrots; follow me the most delicious Potato Gnocchi ($10) Tomato Butter Sauce, Rocket, Olives; after eating this dish I resisted but so wanted to lick the plate, it was that good. To end off our mains, Sarah really wanted to try this dish so we did and it looked better than it tasted, Five Spice Pork Belly ($13) Smoked Miatakis, Brussels Sprouts, Pear, Cashews.

Pavlova

Chocolate Sundae

Chocolate Fondant

To finish our meal, it was indeed a sweet ending, we shared 3 of their desserts loving them all, specifically the one of kind Pavlova ($8) with Fresh Citrus Fruits was refreshing and the Chocolate Sundae ($9) Bailey Ice Cream, Biscotti Crumble and lastly the Chocolate Fondant ($10) with Hazelnut-Nougatine Ice Cream.

It’s no doubt that the location is off the beaten path, the food here is the draw as is Chef Dale Mackay who I had the pleasure to interview this year for Gold Medal Plates.

Review By: Richard Wolak