Every January, the people of Vancouver (and beyond) celebrate the city’s culinary scene during the Dine Out Vancouver Festival – one, if not, the biggest food-centric event that happens annually in Vancouver. The festival itself has, in the past seventeen years, attracted tens of thousands of people to come and experience the best food and drinks the city has to offer.
This year, I was lucky enough to attend (imho) one of the most exciting collaboration dinners as part of the World Chef Exchange. Chef JC Poirier of St. Lawrence (which, also is one of the best new restaurant in Canada) played the host and invited his friend and old co-worker (they both worked at Daniel Boulud’s Lumiere) Chef Jérémie Bastien from Monarque in Montreal. Even before looking at the menu, I could already taste the butter, the foie, and the richness of the Quebecois dishes they’re about to serve for dinner and I am here. for. it.
It’s just a little after 5.30 in the afternoon when I arrived at the already almost-full dining room. As I was checking the surroundings (re: taking pictures like an overjoyed kid in a candy store), I saw a glimpse of the first course being prepared: a perfectly sliced pâté en croûte de canard & foie gras (duck and foie gras terrine in pastry). I don’t know if it’s the glistening pastry crust, the terrine, or the bustlin’ sound of the kitchen (it’s even better in french, trust me) but I, all of the sudden, got hungry-er. The evening then began with Lucas (the man behind Dine Out Vancouver) and the chefs giving their opening remarks and walked us through what’s coming – we (mostly me), were busy munching on the fried pork rind and cornichon back at our corner.
The first dish, along with a delicious glass of Cave de Lugny finally made it to the table. Layers of duck, Montreal foie and ham built the terrine nicely, the bits of pistachio, added texture and crunch. oh and the pastry crust –impeccably done. The crisp, fruity bubbly balanced out the decadence of the dish but the buttery finish of the wine kept the richness of every bite. The second course was a silky soft scallop and lobster warm terrine with bisque and smoked trout roe – an explosion of flavours that came in the softest, smoothest package. The ‘15 Laurent Miquel Albarino to pair was very pretty, floral in the nose and fruity in the back of the tongue – fabulous!
Let’s talk about the Vol-au-Vent à la financière, sweetbread, morels and side-striped shrimp. Yet another stunning pastry masterpiece by the Monarque team, perfectly flaky, with enough body to hold all the delicious morels and shrimp inside. The breaded sweetbred? absolutely necessary! The wine, was quite rich: fuller body, smooth, fruity notes of apricot and pear with a soft tannin at the end. The last course was another Monarque classic: Ballotine de pintade, Pieux de Charlevois and sunflower ragout, and périgourdine sauce. It was a savoury finale I’ve been waiting for – with the roulade, fried to perfection, and the bed of sunflower of salami ragout? I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed sunflowers that much until this day. The creamy celariac puree added sweetness to the plate. The accompanying cabarnet franc, which, according to Lucas, tasted like “a motorcycle ride with Hugh Jackman in his leather jacket”, was very on point.
We ended the night with a sweet, fluffy, hazelnut-y note in a form of Paris-Brest with praline cream and hazelnut. Dessert was divine, I could’ve, would’ve had another one.
Special thanks to Tourism Vancouver for having me, and to Aeroplan for making this fabulous event possible. I obviously am looking forward to see who will be coming to Vancouver for the World Chef Exchange next year, y’all should be too!
Till next time!