Dine Out Vancouver round 3! Finally get to try a $38 three course Dine Out menu! Sav and I went to Chambar, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver near Rogers Arena. I had expectations for this one cause I heard a lot of good things about them. Chambar is such a lovely restaurant.
There’s a lounge/bar area at the entrance, leading it to a hallway with high-rise tables right opposite to the wine racks, then to a dining hall with couches and tables, and finally a back room perfect for large groups or private dinner parties. It is my first time at Chambar but I really adore the restaurant. Its ambience is perfect for romantic date nights or a classy dinner party.
Although service was really slow there, everyone was really nice and friendly. I have no complains except for the fact it is slow. For the Dine Out menu, Chambar added new items that were not shown on the official Dine Out Vancouver website. I didn’t really appreciate that because what if nothing on the menu impressed or attracted my desire to come but the new item that was not there could had changed my mind to come? One other reason I wasn’t impressed was because of the extra costs added on specific dishes.
The three original choices for appetizers:
- Salade d’hiver Charred baby carrots, macerated kale, crisp pappadum, pomegranate, tahini & miso emulsion, espelette vinaigrette.
- Gambas et chorizo Olive oil poached prawns, grilled chorizo, escabeche vegetables, avocado & Peruvian peppers.
- Choux fleur et rutabaga Cauliflower soup, barbecued sunchokes, charred scallions, cilantro pistou.
The added appetizer that was not on the website:
- Foie de canard “Villa Lorranie” – spiced foie gras terrine. Port reduction, kriek Granita, truffled brioche French toast (Extra $8)
I ordered the olive oil poached prawns. The prawns and chorizo were nicely cooked. I do think the sauce is a bit too overpowering. There was too much citrus and a flavour that felt like something shoots straight to my nose triggering a few seconds of agony, just like wasabi. It wasn’t from the puree tho.. The puree was really blend.. I couldn’t even figure out what was in it. But overall, it was nicely cooked and I really couldn’t help to say that its probably the fresh ingredients (ie. the shrimps) that saved the dish.
Sav love foie gras! So he got the foie gras for extra $8… He thought it worth his $8 cause he end up getting this huge piece of foie gras terrine. The terrine was rich and creamy. A very light flavour but still gives you that heaviness of foie gras. I like how the foie gras is blend into a terrine but the portion and the originality of the foie gras was not cheap out in anyway.
Sav adored the truffled “French toast.” He said it had the perfect texture and taste that went really well with the foie gras. I didn’t appreciated it cause I’m a bread lover and the bread was not crunchy, not hot, not even warm. I felt like there was too much truffle oil soaked in the bread which made it taste too soft and smooshy. And oil dipped in bread is most disgusted when it is cold. But Sav made a point about the cold bread. Foie gras couldn’t stand heat so it made sense.
We had no idea what the granita (that little red ice cube) was for and how we eat it so we end up asking one of the host managers. He was really nice, stopped everything he was doing and explained what it was for. Apparently this red ice cube was meant to keep you refresh between your bites of foie gras (cause it does get a bit heavy after a while). There were bites of berries in it. Lean mostly towards the sweeter side of the palette. It was refreshing indeed.
For entree, the three original options are:
- Duo de truites Cured & panseared steelhead trout, swiss chard, sultana, capers, shaved zucchini, meyer lemon & parsnip puree, mustard sauce.
- Moules frites ‘Congolaise’ or Moules frites ‘Vin Blanc’
- Canard aux marrons Spice rubbed duck breast, wild berry compote, chestnut hummus, Brussels sprouts & pistachios.
And the new options:
- L’Entrecote Grillee – 10 oz New York. 100% natural Okanagan Angus beef, celeriac & roquefort remoulade, pomme boulangere, black pepper & shallot jam. (Extra $10)
- Les Gnocchi De Chevre – Goat cheese gnocchi, tarragon, hazelnuts, grapes & arugula (They did mentioned that there’s a vegetarian main course menu option that is not listed online)
I had the moules frites “congolaise” which is mussels in white wine buttery sauce with celery & leeks. “Vin Blanc” is the mussels in tomato coconut cream sauce with smoked chili, lime and cilantro. I must say that the portions are impressing for Dine Out menu cause it is huge! Although I must say that the overall dish is a little disappointing to me as well.
The mussels were cooked perfectly. But I do find it a little annoying cause I will pick up 5 mussels and 4 of them were empty shells. At the end, I had to drain through the sauce and find the missing mussels that fell out of those empty shells. I loved the white wine sauce. The flavour is nice, the butter melted into the sauce gave it such a smoothing and comforting taste.
The fries disappointed me… They were too salty! I didn’t finish the fries cause its just too salty… Although it had a really nice crisp, it didn’t seem like they were fresh fries. You know you’re having a traditional moultes and frites when they serve you mayonnaise instead of ketchup! But again, I thought the mayonnaise was really overpowering in taste. Just like the fries, they were over seasoned.
Sav and his greedy stomach went with the New York steak. Unlike the foie gras, he said the extra $10 was not worth it. He didn’t know what to say about the dish.. There’s so many flavour going on and it was just weird. The meat was cooked right, but the flavours didn’t go well with it. I didn’t really had a good bite cause its covered with black pepper everywhere. And black pepper is just something that my palette couldn’t accept. Sav did describe that there were citrus, spiciness, and sweetness and they didn’t blend together. He was upset that he spent that $10..
The potatoes tasted like they were poached in olive oil. Served with the steak, it was not the most appealing combination. The steak had a soft texture and the potatoes were smooshy. The two created zero texture. Nothing was excited for your palette. After a while if the potatoes turn cold, it was disgusting… Its like putting a sponge in your mouth that was soaked with oil. I know you’re not meant to it it cold, and I didn’t do that on purpose. But dishes does get cold fast when weather is cold. And I always agree that a good dish is meant to taste good whether it was hot or whether it turn cold after a while. Yes, I’m picky.
Last but not least the three dessert options:
- Chocolat brule Chocolate espresso torte, apricot puree, pecan brittle, caramelized apple, lemon ice-cream.
- Plateaux de fromage 3yr old white cheddar & beddis blue with hazelnut fruit bread & tomato jam.
- Meli melo de fruits Coconut raspberry panna cotta, green apple sorbet, macerated pomegranate & Asian pear.
I had the meli melo de fruits (panna cotta). Very light and refreshing dish. Nothing too special on my palette other than refreshing. I would say that I appreciated it cause the pomegranate didn’t give the dish any sour taste which does usually annoys me… A fine dessert. I just wished that the asian pear was more elevated. The flavour was too light on it. So is the green apple sorbet. It was so light that it tasted like shaved ice on my first few bites.
Sav got the chocolat brule. Tasted more like a chocolate brownie. Super thick and rich. The lemon ice cream tasted more like cream in general. The texture was not really creamy and thick like normal ice cream. It melted really fast and it was really light and flavourless.. Sav was confused and told me it was cream until we get a second look at the menu.
My high expectations wasn’t really reach. A bit disappointed but I wouldn’t say its a bad restaurant or experience. But Sav and I both agreed that the food was not worth the money we paid for. I don’t think we will come back for another Dine Out night. But I’ll still recommend people to try Chambar if they were looking for a romantic restaurant with great ambience. The menu is at least somewhat more interesting compared to restaurants like Cin Cin or the C Restaurant…
If you’re looking for great French food, I highly recommend cafe salade de fruits! Worth every single penny!