Dine Out Vancouver 2014: Hawksworth, Tap & Barrel, and Secret Supper Soirée in photos
With 263 restaurants participating in the 2014 Dine Out Vancouver Festival, it's quite the job to pick one by sifting through all the set menus. You could choose based on which restaurants were hot last year, which are new this year, and which menus look promising. But sometimes, it's nice to see what you're getting in photos.
On January 7, Tourism Vancouver gathered together dozens of media members and then sent them out to preview menus from some of the participating restaurants. I was part of the group visiting places deemed good picks for a Dine Out Vancouver evening with friends. Have a look at what's on offer. (For ideas for a Dine Out Vancouver date night, check out this blog post.)
While one might think of Hawksworth more as a place for couples than for groups of friends, that's not the case for Dine Out Vancouver. During the festival, the restaurant is running its regular menu in the restaurant downstairs, but offering long-table dinners in the lovely York room of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia upstairs. (You'll find the restaurant under the Events category of the Dine Out Vancouver website.) It's a good place for larger groups or people who want to meet others across the table.
These "Side Dish" events take place January 18, 21, 25, 28, and February 1. There's a different three-course menu for each night.
Here are some sample dishes from several of the menus. The opening photo (above) is the braised lamb with puy lentils, tangerine, and pumpkin seeds from the January 25 evening. I had a forkful, and it is as delicious as it looks.
From the February 1 evening, pan-seared scallops with Hawksworth's "KFC" Kentucky-fried cauliflower, green apple, and sesame.
From the January 18 evening, Pacific sablefish with wild mushroom, chayote, and tom yum sauce
From the January 28 evening, January 28, 2014 Prosciutto di parma, burrata, pear, walnut, and watercress.
Both the Olympic Village and Coal Harbour locations of Tap & Barrel are offering the same $28 three-course Dine Out menu.
The restaurants' consulting sommelier David Stansfield has put a lot of effort into the wine pairings, which are offered at $12 for a flight of three two-ounce pours. The restaurant specializes on B.C. wine on tap, which Stansfield calls "VQ-esque" since only bottled B.C. wine can currently be labelled VQA.
Beer flights are also available paired to the Dine Out menu for $8 for three seven-ounce pours, featuring local craft brews.
Here's a glance at some Tap & Barrel Dine Out menu options:
Starter of Salt Spring Island mussels in spicy coconut and tomato broth
Bacon-wrapped meatloaf with beer barbecue sauce, mashed potatoes, and market veggies
Okanagan goat cheese pizza with caramelized onions, fennel, and roasted garlic, topped with arugula and balsamic syrup. This is a very nice vegetarian pizza that even non-vegetarians will enjoy.
Dessert of S'mores in a mason jar: smashed graham crackers and chocolate chunks in a peanut butter mousse topped with torched marshmallow fluff. I'm not big on desserts, but this was fantastic; my spoon had some kind of magnetic attraction to the glass jar. The pairing with Parallel 49's Ugly Sweater Milk Stout on nitro tap was perfect.
The joy of this Dine Out event is in the surprises. Diners board a classic London Route Master double-decker bus and are taken to two secret locations. At the first, they have canapés, and the second, they sit down to dinner.
This year's theme is "By the Sea", and the meal will be prepared by L'Abattoir chef Jane Cornborough and Cocolico chocolatier Brooke Lodge.
While I'm forbidden from revealing the locations, I'm allowed to give you a visual clue. Here's where the sit-down dinner will be served.
This $129 event includes dinner, wine, and a cocktail. Tickets remain for the January 17, 24, 31 and February 1 evenings. This would be not only a fun evening with friends but a great first date: you'll have plenty to talk about with all the mystery.