The Apron

Update! New chef as of August 5, 11.

Previous Executive Chef Hamid Salimian has returned back to Diva at the Met, therefore this menu and post no longer applies. See my post for Diva at the Met here.

Restaurant: The Apron
Cuisine: West Coast/Pacific Northwest/Fusion/International/Eclectic/Fine Dining
Last visited: February 28, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: 3099 Corvette Way (Inside Westin Hotel)
Price Range: $30-50, $50+

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 6
Service:
n/a
Ambiance:
4
Overall:
6
Additional comments:

  • Executive Chef Hamid Salimian
  • Multi-award winning chef
  • Causal fine dining
  • West Coast/Pacific Northwest
  • Contemporary cuisine
  • Culinary competition food
  • Specializes in gastronomy
  • Hidden gem
  • Local ingredients
  • Seasonal menu
  • Intricate details
  • Exceptional presentation
  • Tasting course available
  • Cocktails/Wine bar
  • Complimentary parking
  • Mon-Sun 6:30am – 10:30pm
  • Mon-Sun Lounge: 11am – 12am
  • The Apron – Persian New Years Dinner
  • The Apron – Summer dessert menu

**Recommendations: A must try. I highly recommend a 5 ($50), 7 ($70), or 9 ($90) course tasting menu. Only a tasting menu can show the brilliance. But if ordering a la carte I would recommend North Arm Farm Sunchoke Soup, Side Stripe Prawn, Puffed Quebec Foie Gras & Queen Charlotte Sablefish. For dessert, the Shattered Baklava & Glow Haven Cawston Peaches, 24 Hour Baked Apple Tart or The Apron Chocolate Bar.

This has been one of the most challenging posts to write. I could go on and on about how wonderful The Apron is, but I don’t feel like I can ever give it the justice it deserves. I am so overwhelmed by the culinary brilliance that goes on here that I don’t even know where to start. The Apron and Chef Hamid Salimian is nothing short of a culinary wonder. It’s one of the finest chefs and restaurants that I have had the pleasure of trying in my life.

It’s an undiscovered hidden gem in a world and league of its own. I was invited here on a Monday night and I tried over fifteen courses with a customized tasting menu. I actually enjoyed it so much that I personally made reservations three days after just to do it all over again. The only way I can repay them for giving me one the best and most memorable dining experiences ever is to share the immense amount of love, belief and passion I have for it.

A chef with talent that is second to none. The talents behind this gastronomical experience is something I can only praise. The culinary genius that leads the team is none other than the humble and soft spoken Executive Chef Hamid Salimian. There’s something magical that happens when a chef is so dedicated and passionate about his craft. Being true to his roots, characteristics of his Persian heritage are found in his dishes and part of his unique style.

A Michelangelo of chefs, I am confident that his masterpieces will make him go down in history as one of the greatest. He’s a culinary leader with a vision that goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

It was food that told a story. Food that showed where it came from, why it was there, and where it was heading. Food that led me to cultures I love, while bringing me to ones I never knew existed. Food that showed an appreciation for the past, yet exemplified an excitement for the future. It was food that was led by science yet expressed a celebration of art. It not only stimulated my mind, but it changed my palate and captured my heart with every bite. It was an experience that left me emotionally touched and inspired.

From the moment of the amuse bouche to the last bite I was left permanently enchanted. I’m not even saying that it’s the best food you may ever try, but it comes to the point of not even being about that. Instead I am invited on his journey of exploration for something new and different. A brilliant chef that can convince you to like things that you think you don’t. He made me appreciate and look at ingredients in unimaginable ways, whether it was through his intense use of molecular gastronomy, or creative flavour combinations. He taught me so many things without even being there. The manner in which he executes the dishes also shows that nothing goes to waste, and these are all skills that I can only admire.

The approach he uses was representable of dishes prepared for world renowned culinary competitions like Bocuse d’Or. It is competition food. It is no wonder that he is the team leader and mentor for some of Canada’s up and coming chefs.

Chef Hamid’s style is almost a contradiction of all opposites. At times I felt that he knew exactly what he was doing, and at times I felt like he had no idea. He is precise in technique, yet free in thought. Traditional in concept, yet adventurous in execution. True to the dish, yet innovative in flavours. He’s a believer in science with a passion for art. He knows the palate, yet manages to challenge it. His style is almost the biggest and best contradiction, which means he delivers the best of both world’s in the perfect equation. Everything he represented illuminated with every dish I tried.

It is restaurants like The Apron and chefs like Chef Hamid that make me so passionate about what I do. I am so inspired by this dining experience and incredibly proud of the culinary talent Vancouver has to offer. I can only thank him and his team for giving me one of the most memorable dining experiences ever. I am completely in awe with his culinary mastery and quiet confidence. I have been to The Apron on four occasions now and he never seizes to amaze me. His attention to detail, balance of flavours and achieving every type of texture in each dish is something that shows dedication of a legendary chef. I also just discovered his personal website (see here)… it’s so being book marked!

On the table:

Amuse Bouche

  • Complimentary. This is one of the two seasonal amuse bouche they serve throughout the year.
  • Not only was this potted plant of delicate ingredients visually intriguing, but after trying it I could not wait for dinner to start.
  • It was a creamy creme fraiche mousse with toasted brioche croutons at the bottom topped with baby celery, baby turnip and baby radish. It was covered with a popcorn powder and freeze dried peas.
  • Wow. This was so amazing and unique and it was just the beginning.
  • It was like a liquid creamy tangy light mousse with crispy mini cubes of toasted brioche.
  • It was incredibly airy and light and had the dusting of popcorn powder that gave it a feathery texture.
  • The popcorn powder tasted like finely grounded and slightly crispy popcorn seasoned with powdered Parmesan cheese.
  • The freeze dried peas were ultra light and added an airiness and crispiness to what was already light.
  • It was so unique, delicious, well composed and it prepared me for the culinary elegance that was ahead.
  • Note: Just be careful to not breathe in the popcorn powder, or “mmm” too much during the experience, I did that and it was a bit of choking hazard… but so worth it! 🙂

Truffle Popcorn  4/6

  • Parmesan, chives, maldon salt $6
  • This was a bar snack and it was already excellent, but relative to everything else it ended up being “very good” and really just a teaser of what was to come.
  • It was perfectly salted and it even took the idea of “truffle popcorn” to the next level of gourmet by using real shaved truffle (not just oil) and real shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • The table behind me actually ordered it first and I could smell their truffle from my table.
  • It had a strong truffle aroma and flavour and I would assume it was previously frozen in order to get it shaven this finely. It did end up giving off a bit of moisture so the popcorn wasn’t as crispy.
  • The Parmesan cheese was of the same texture and surprisingly not that salty or aged, so the little bit of maldon salt just helped bring out the flavours.
  • My only thing is that the popcorn was room temperature and I think if it was popped fresh and hot it would have brought the flavours out of the chilled truffle even more.

**North Arm Farm Sunchoke Soup  5.5/6

  • Bacon Onion Jam, Sunflower bread $9 (tasting size shown)
  • This was a beautiful sunchoke veloute. It was a rich and creamy French style soup and incredibly indulgent, yet well balanced with the components chef had prepared.
  • My favourite soups to date are almost all veloutes. They include Chef Redd’s Chestnut Soup, Chef Marcel’s Onion & Apple Soup and Chef Lee Humphries Parsley Soup, which was also inspired by North Arm Farms Root Vegetables – see my post here.
  • The soup was served on Sunchoke chips which was the texture of a more brittle and crisp seaweed.

  • It was silky smooth and thick with a nicely pureed creamy texture of sweet caramelized earthy sunchokes and it had a mild tang.
  • I think there is celery root in the base and the onions enhanced the sweetness of the sunchoke, yet sunchoke was the most obvious in flavour.
  • The bacon onion jam was very bold and it was definitely the accent to the rather mild sunchoke, although the soup was still very flavourful.
  • The bacon jam was enriched with what tasted like Hoisin sauce and it added a very robust smoky and tangy barbeque flavour to the soup.
  • The sunflower bread seemed dehydrated and almost like a crouton, but much airier and lighter with a very open and loose crumb.

**Side Stripe Prawn  6/6

  • Dungeness crab croquette, squid mayo, soy vinaigrette $16 (tasting size shown)
  • A thing of beauty in flavour and presentation!
  • It looked like Japanese art and the ingredients were also Asian inspired, so I loved the direction chef took with this.
  • It was so well thought out and precise in execution and every ingredient had its place adding a unique texture and flavour to the dish.
  • At times the squid mayo could be a bit salty, so I’m not sure if you can make a request to make it less salty.
  • What I loved most was the different levels of saltiness he achieved without actually using that much salt. He had the salt coming through with the cod roe, sesame powder and then the squid ink, and each one brought a different texture to the plate.
  • It was juicy bursts of salty salmon roe and house smoked caviar, and every ingredient had an intense and distinct flavour.
  • The compressed cucumber was also concentrated and it helped to balance out the stronger flavours and act as a cleanser.
  • I loved the Asian inspired components and the most Asian tasting thing was probably the sesame powder which was amazing! It tasted like the powdered form of a hot bowl of tossed sesame noodles. The flavour was intense and deliciously savoury, nutty and aromatic. I could have overdosed on that powder…
  • Underneath the sesame powder were squiggly prawn cracker crisps which was a nice surprise for texture as well. It was almost like Asian chips seasoned with sesame powder. Addicting!
  • The dungeness crab croquette was a crispy one biter with a juicy burst of flaky crab meat and a hint of lime, or kalamansi (Filipino orange), that made it come alive.

Locally Grown Pickled Winter Vegetables  5/6

  • Crisp veal marrow, black pudding, pine mushroom, almond $16 (tasting size shown)
  • Another artistic masterpiece.
  • I enjoyed this dish piece by piece, ingredient by ingredient.
  • I felt the love from the local farmers that harvested them as well as the labour that went into preparing them.
  • It was a tangy Winter vegetable salad paired with very strong flavours of meaty components.
  • The pickled veggies actually cut the richness of the somewhat disguised meats involved.
  • This is a very time consuming dish. All the winter vegetables are preserved in house, but not too sour or sharp in pickle flavour.

  • There was shaved Burgundy and a lemony Pine mushroom infused with herbs, a sweet and slightly tangy red beet, and also the crunch of a single roasted candied almond.
  • That twisted white spiral beside the folded carrot is a pickled Chinese artichoke. I really don’t get them. The first time I tried one was earlier this year at C Restaurant at the root vegetable dinner – see here, and I didn’t like it then either. I’ll still eat it, but I also don’t enjoy it. It tastes like a firmer, starchier and mealy pickled onion meets turnip. It just breaks apart in your mouth.
  • The crisp veal marrow croquette had a puffy and crispy flour tempura batter and it was filled with a burst of veal marrow liquid. The liquid tastes very fatty, rich, and greasy in flavour, but not in texture. It was very indulgent and not meant to be eaten last.
  • The pickled veggies help cut the richness of  the veal marrow juice and it’s one of the most intense flavours you could get from a clear liquid. It tastes like the renderings of pork fat. It wasn’t smoky and there was a bit of minced chives to lighten it up, but it didn’t do much.
  • The burgundy paste was a rich pate of blood sausage and it brought out the sweetness of the vegetables as it killed the pickled tang.
  • The pumpernickel dust added a ginger powder tone and warm essence to the overall dish.

**Puffed Quebec Foie Gras  6/6

  • O’neil Orchard Quince, candied walnut, Babe’s honey $16 (tasting size shown)
  • This was brilliant! I’ve never had anything like it and it is something I will remember forever.
  • Beautifully presented, and a must try.
  • It’s served with home made brioche buns and I actually wasn’t a fan of them alone. The brioche had a crunchy exterior and it was buttery and flakey, but almost dried out. I didn’t understand it at first because I’ve had much better brioche, but then it made sense because it was served with the puffed foie gras!
  • The puffed foie gras was so rich and buttery that it was essentially the “butter” to the brioche, so the dried out quality of the brioche seemed to be intended to complement the puffed foie gras.
  • It’s not an actual piece of foie gras, but let’s get a close up and go in detail… come closer to the screen…

  • This “foie gras puff” is an airy light chilled puff made of what seems like semi-frozen layered sheets of butter infused with foie gras. It’s rich in flavour, but light in texture.
  • It melts as soon as it hits your lips, but you can also bite into it and let it melt that way.
  • I enjoyed it the most by letting it melt on my warm brioche bun and dipping it into the tangy quince puree and sweet honey to give it that buttery sweetness and dynamic flavour.
  • It was like a shaved salty buttery ice cream with a foie gras flavour and the tang of the quince cut the richness while the honey added sweetness. The added crunch of the candied walnut just made it delectable.

Pan Roasted Scallops  5/6

  • Spiced basmati rice, shaved pineapple, cilantro coconut curry froth $16 (tasting size shown)
  • I love what he did with this dish! At this restaurant it’s probably considered one of the “safe” ones where the flavours aren’t as unfamiliar.
  • I’m assuming he was going for Middle East meets South East Asia, which is something I’ve never seen done before. Well even if I have, it obviously wasn’t memorable…
  • I can’t believe that this was the most “simple” his dishes ever got, and for most other restaurants reaching this level would be considered already quite adventurous.
  • It would appeal to most palates and it wasn’t that hard to dissect and enjoy since all the ingredients are familiar.
  • The scallop was crispy and pan seared on both sides, although a bit overcooked for me. It was still tender, meaty, sweet and caramelized with perhaps some Maldon salt to finish off.
  • The rice was nutty, crispy and toasted and it tasted like the rice you find stuck onto the bottom of clay pots at Chinese restaurants (it’s the best part).
  • It tasted like a crispy Middle Eastern rice pilaf spiced with cardamom, caramelized onions, scallions and a hint of lemon bitters. Some crispy Thai basil would have been a great addition.
  • Another way to look at the dish was a play on Thai Pineapple fried rice but with Middle Eastern style and flavours.
  • The sweet and tangy fresh pineapple carpaccio strips were almost the palate cleaners to the dish and it just freshened up your mouth in between bites of the aromatic rice.
  • The coconut froth was delicious and I could taste that it was infused with lemongrass, ginger and a hint of curry in the background. This is where the Thai flavours came in and with the fresh lemon in the rice it was a match made in heaven.
  • I think some cashew powder would be nice in this.

Atlantic Lobster Globe  4.5/6

  • Truffle scented potato gnocchi, king oyster mushroom shellfish emulsion $17 (tasting size shown)
  • This is one of their signature dishes, but it wasn’t my favourite, although still enjoyed.
  • Everything was delicious, but I would ask them to ease up on the salt in the shellfish emulsion if possible.
  • The lobster globe was a sous vide ball of lobster meat. It was super soft, juicy, and yet still flaky with a slight crunch. It was melt in your mouth and almost creamy from being so moist.
  • The lobster globe was topped with a fresh house made thin and salty prawn cracker which was a brilliant Asian inspired complement.
  • I just wasn’t a fan of the gnocchi because it looked and tasted like egg noodle pasta rather than potato gnocchi. The mushrooms in it were sweet with a truffle scent and it was almost like a mushroom seafood pasta soup when eaten with the emulsion.
  • The shellfish emulsion was a frothy broth made with I think shrimp and lobster crustaceans and perhaps some clam nectar.
  • It was slightly creamy, salty, smoky, and tangy from a a squeeze of lemon.
  • There was an acidity from tomato broth, but it was just very salty and too overwhelming for the delicate lobster globe. It had more seafood flavour than the lobster globe.

Spiced Duck Confit  4.5/6

  • Pomegranate, walnut, orange, kale $18 (tasting size shown)
  • This was a Middle Eastern style duck confit, and it was totally unexpected for what it was. It’s made for a particular palate.
  • It’s incredibly aromatic and the sharp tang of the pomegranate and warm scent of the cinnamon hit your nose immediately. It smelled like a tangy gingerbread.
  • I did enjoy it, but it was very salty so I lost the duck flavour if I ate it with the pomegranate walnut paste.
  • The pomegranate paste was very sharp, tangy and salty, but the salt was overwhelming so I’d ask if they could ease up on that.
  • It seemed like a combination of molasses, pomegranate paste, and Majoohl dates, but it wasn’t sticky or even very nutty and there was walnut paste in it.
  • It was more savoury than sweet and very sour from vinegar with spices such as cinnamon and cardamom mixed in.

  • The crispy sheets of buckwheat on top and crumbs of buckwheat powder led a nutty texture and crispy accent.
  • The duck had a very crunchy skin and a very crispy popcorn like topping which was a Rye crumble.
  • The Rye crumble tasted like Rye bread crumbs and mini rice cereal balls mixed with warm spices such as cinnamon and I think 5 spice powder, cumin, ground ginger, and cloves. It was generously sprinkled on top giving the duck a crispy and powdery texture and smoky and earthy warm flavour.
  • Duck and cinnamon is a wonderful combination since duck is already quite sweet and there was enough tang to contrast all the sweetness.
  • The duck leg was confit and extra crispy with a very thin layer of creamy buttery fat that was just enough to not be overindulgent. The skin was almost like fish and chip batter meets roasted sucking pig and it was delicious. The meat shred incredibly easily and it was nice and savoury and almost flakey and very cured in texture and flavour.
  • The duck breast was tender and sous vide, but it could have been juicier.
  • The texture the Rye crumble gave the duck was so unique and the buckwheat crisps almost played their role as crispy skin for the duck breast.

Pacific Provider Salmon  4/6

  • Provencal tart, sun choke, basil, braised fennel, split coriander vinaigrette $25 (tasting size shown)
  • It was a melt in your mouth buttery piece of sous vide salmon and almost thought it was made confit. It was silky smooth like tofu, but not oily and moist throughout.
  • The salmon went lovely with the silky smoky sunchoke puree which had a celeriac tang to it.
  • The puree added a sweetness to the salmon and the salty bursts of juicy capers were a nice touch.
  • The braised fennel coriander vinaigrette was what gave the caramelized sunchoke the smokiness and it was reminiscent of the sunchoke soup. It also gave a slight licorice flavour in the end notes which lightened up the dish and made it taste a bit exotic.
  • The capers also broke up the smokiness and I think some deep fried capers would have been nice as well, or maybe some salmon roe.

  • The Provencal tart was very unexpected and not much of a tart rather than a medley of vegetables with a puff pastry shell on top.
  • There was so much going on with this side that I wasn’t quite sure where it was going, but it was definitely interesting and complex.
  • The puff pastry was crispy and flat rather than puffy or flakey. It was covered with very finely shredded feathery Parmesan cheese that was mildly salty.
  • The filling underneath was a sautee of tomato, roasted red pepper, salty olives and smoky bacon like chorizo sausage and it tasted Mediterranean meets Mexican in flavour.
  • It was almost an olive tapenade meets salsa and it was tangy, meaty, smoky, sweet with salty bites of olive.
  • It sat on a pine nut puree which looked and tasted nothing like pine nut puree.
  • The pine nuts gave it the creamy texture, but it was salty, thick and tangy and tasted like a sour meat pate. There was also some artichoke champagne vinegar in it giving the strong tang it carried and it tasted like it was infused with some bacon as well.
  • The puree and sautee sausage and vegetable medley was very sharp in flavours and quite tangy so it did overwhelm the salmon as a side and I didn’t really see them going together.

**Queen Charlotte Sablefish  6/6

  • White navy bean cassoulet, apron chorizo, squid, red bell pepper emulsion $25 (tasting size shown)
  • This is one of the best West Coast versions of sablefish I’ve had to date and it almost seemed a bit Spanish.
  • My only thing would be to ask them to ease up on the salt in the red bell pepper emulsion.
  • Again brilliant! Making fish skin appealing to the masses! I love fish skin and don’t require it to even be crispy to eat it, although it is much better when crispy.
  • In this case he deconstructs the sablefish and deep fries the fish skin into a puffy chip which tastes like a juicy prawn cracker. It was nicely seasoned and naturally oily since it was skin.
  • I think the top crust of the sablefish was executed with a blast freezer, and it made it seem like the top was lightly battered and deep fried. It’s served hot, but the texture left you with a “how did they do that?”
  • The sablefish tasted smoky, flakey and juicy with a puffy airy light fish and chip like crust which imitated the fish skin.
  • The crust almost pops in my mouth and out flowed the buttery juices once I hit the fillet. It’s like getting double the skin and it’s incredibly satisfying.
  • It was matched with a smoky sweet buttery red pepper foam that was still rather thin and it also had a tang from perhaps some tomato. It was a bit too salty, but the scallion puree helped tone it down a bit.
  • The scallion puree tasted like there was some fresh parsley, mint, and green peas pureed into it because it was sweet and fresh and balanced out the smokiness of the red pepper emulsion.
  • The navy bean cassoulet was a very Mediterranean take and it tasted Italian meets Spanish rather than French.
  • It had a smoky house made chorizo, which tasted like bacon or cured pork’s belly, tender squid, firm beans, salty bites of olives and it complemented the sauce and sablefish perfectly.

Sous Vide Pork Loin  5/6

  • Braised pork press, buckwheat spätzle, pickled cabbage, brown butter vinaigrette $25 (tasting size shown)
  • The dark brown cube on the plate was the braised pork press. It was a pressed pork hock terrine made with coffee and pumpkin seed. It was glazed in a sherry gastrique.
  • The terrine was quite sweet and sous vide, but it was a bit chewy with a few gelatinous parts.
  • The shredded pork meat in the terrine was flakey and tender and there was a hint of bitterness from the coffee that made it seem like it was previously roasted before being sous vide. It was a very aromatic, nutty and almost the bitter component of the dish, which is intentional.
  • The terrine was also interwoven with caramelized sweet chives and perhaps a hint of mustard.
  • The sous vide pork loin was almost like salmon it was so tender. It was sliced very thin and it was incredibly buttery and moist.
  • The dollops of brown butter vinaigrette was syrupy with a tang and slight bitterness and the crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds was a nice garnish.
  • I liked the pork with the butternut squash puree for the sweet and savory aspect, but it was nice to have the hint of vinaigrette for the additional tang.
  • The pork skin (white squiggly crisps) were interpreted into chips, very typical snack in Latin America. They were super light and airy and a bit savoury and expectantly oily. They were fantastic and a nice change from the typical cracklings that we usually see being made with pig skin. I love how nothing goes to waste here.
  • The pork skin sat on a bed of buckwheat spätzle and pickled cabbage and that’s the only part I didn’t really like.
  • The buckwheat was coming across as very rough and it made the spätzle taste sandy and coarse.
  • There was some firmer pickled onions and fresh tang of parsley and lemon mixed with the spätzle, but the texture of the spätzle was just distracting and gritty.
  • I loved the execution of the three interpretations of pork, but there was so much to explore that I didn’t know how to best enjoy it.

Lamb Duo  5/6

  • Grilled Sirloin, cous cous, young garlic, red kidney bean, stone dry lime, Italian parsley stew $25 (tasting size shown)
  • This dish is Chef’s pride and joy as it represents his culture. It can be considered a national dish of Iran.
  • This is perhaps one of the most typical and traditional Persian stews and I’ve actually tried it on a couple occasions prior to this.
  • It was an honest representation of what it was, although presented completely unique and different.
  • This was a deconstructed Ghormeh Sabzi so when the stew is made at home all the ingredients you see and incorporated together. Therefore it’s almost best to mix this dish.
  • The dish is a bit acquired and suitable to people who can tolerate sour flavours that can come across as quite mucky.
  • The lamb neck was braised and compressed into a terrine and it was incredibly juicy and buttery with layers of melt in your mouth tendons that are slightly gelatinous, but not chewy or distracting. I think it was sous vide for 12 hours (no joke).
  • Lamb neck is very difficult to get this tender, and one of my favourites was the Chef’s Special Lobster & Gnocchi with Lamb Neck from Ebo Restaurant.
  • The lamb neck was topped with stone dry lime, which is usually made together in a stew, but the tartness and saltiness of the stone dry lime was a bit overpowering for the lamb.
  • The thin slices of lamb tenderloin were also sous vide and medium rare, but it was a bit chewy. I’m glad it wasn’t gamey though, but the chewiness kind of caught me off guard.
  • The stone dry lime is acquired and it’s a very sour, smoky and earthy Persian stew made with limes and mixed herbs with a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. It’s purse your lips sour and it’s supposed to be like that.
  • It’s an creamy yet airy puree of strong flavours coming from spinach, dill, parsley, cilantro and herbs with lots of lemon/lime juice, and usually the meat is stewed into it.
  • I have to note that if any chef can get me to love red bean, it’s this one. This isn’t the Chinese red bean though.
  • This red bean was savoury and tangy with olives and coriander pureed into the mixture. Red beans are usually added whole into the lime stew, but in this modern version it was almost like a pommes puree.
  • It was velvety smooth and creamy and delicious as a side or a sauce. For me, it played it’s roll controlling the sourness from the stone dry lime puree next to it, which could get very overwhelming and overly sour.
  • Mixing the two sauces together and dipping the lamb into it was the perfect balance of tang from the lime, savoury from the meat and sweet from the beans.
  • The starch of the beans also helped round all the flavours up and almost bind it all together.
  • Besides the lamb neck one of the most memorable parts was the caramelized and roasted young garlic and pearl onion.
  • The young garlic was so sweet and juicy like a smokey caramelized green onion that still had a slight crunchy and flaky charred exterior. It’s very memorable for such a minor element.
  • The pearl onion just popped in my mouth and it was like a burst of honey liquid. I could have eaten these like popcorn.
  • The toasted cous cous was good and nutty with some preserved lemon parsley.
  • There was a tangy aspect in every component so again, it is for a sour tooth. It was honest to Persian flavours, but still a modern take.

Dessert

A chef that can do it all! I obviously appreciate when there’s an actual in house pastry chef, but he had my fooled. I could have sworn that the desserts were from an award winning pastry chef. These are probably some of the nicest desserts that I’ve ever seen in my life. I honestly felt like I was in Dubai or some exotic destination that was definitely not Richmond, BC.

The desserts were just as exquisite and memorable as the savoury courses and I ate every single crumb and scraped every bit of sauce and melted ice cream off my plate. I am very rarely impressed with the dessert scene and feel like there’s a lack of love for pastries and desserts in Metro Vancouver, until now. Oh my sweet lord… the magic just never stopped.

I can barely decide which one I liked the best and I don’t even think I could come here without ordering at least two. Even non dessert lovers could appreciate the work, art and science that go into these sweet masterpieces.

 

**24 Hour Baked Apple Tart  6/6

  • Vanilla, rose water marshmallow, Babe’s Honey ice cream $10
  • Chef took apple tart to the next level!
  • It was a very tender, delicate and incredibly paper thin crust and it tastes like it was made with some hazelnuts.
  • The apples were melt in your mouth tender and it was served with a salted caramel sauce and nutty crumble on top.
  • There was just a hint of rose water in the tender marshmallow fluff but it wasn’t overpowering. It went perfectly with the Babe’s Honey ice cream that sat on almond or walnut powder.
  • I felt like I was eating blossoms when I ate the marshmallow with the honey ice cream, which was so pure and not too sweet at all.
  • I loved the dollops of the actual honey used to garnish the plate and the two levels of sweetness from the caramel and honey, but it wasn’t too much.
  • The nuttiness of the dessert and sweet apples with the floral aspects just made it taste like a balance of Fall and Spring.
  • I loved the delicate flavours of every component and then the sudden saltiness from the caramel to enhance the flavours.

**Matcha Green Tea Mousse  5.5/6

  • Calamansi, young coconut, lychee, black sesame seed cake $10 (Unfortunately it’s no longer available)
  • This was the Asian inspired dessert, and it incorporated pretty much all the best flavours of Asian sweets that appeal to a mass market.
  • It was the perfect play of sweet, tangy and even bitter.
  • The black sesame seed cake was a dehydrated tea cake and it was airy light, dry and very crumbly and almost powdery when you’re eating it. It’s very strong with sesame so almost a bit bitter and earthy.
  • I probably would have enjoyed an actual moist sesame cake, but this was artistic and creative so I appreciate it for aesthetic reasons more than flavourful ones. Mochis filled with black sesame paste would be interesting to use.
  • Calamansi is a tangy Filipino orange and it tastes like a lime. In this case it was made into a puree and it was the tang to everything else that was a bit sweeter. The tartness of the fresh raspberries also helped.
  • The green tea mousse was very light and fluffy with a bold matcha flavour and a slight sweetness.
  • The lychee cloud on top was a great compliment and it made the mousse even lighter, frothier while adding a fruity sweetness.
  • There was also a sesame seed and apple ash crumble on the plate which added the powdery crumb like texture and it enhanced the nuttiness in the overall dessert.
  • The young coconut was interpreted as a coconut sorbet tower and it was rich with coconut flavour and so delicious with the matcha and lychee cloud.
  • Everything was aromatic, floral, fruity, tropical and nutty and so light and airy that I even felt like I was floating on clouds… above a tropical Asian island.
  • This would have gotten a 6/6 if I didn’t try any of the other desserts.

**Shattered Baklava & Glow Haven Cawston Peaches  6/6

  • Saffron pistachio ice cream $10
  • This was the Middle Eastern and Indian inspired dessert and it was so unique and well thought out.
  • It was a deconstructed baklava with crispy phyllo sheets balanced on top of a block of pistachio and saffron kulfi, so it actually wasn’t ice cream. It suited the theme of the dessert even better.
  • Kulfi is an Indian style milk based ice cream and it’s thicker and denser and almost like a frozen paste.
  • The liquid gels were filled with rose water syrup so that it wouldn’t make the sheets soggy. So smart!
  • It was very light, not to sweet at all and the perfect balance of pistachio, rose water, saffron and a hint of cinnamon. Those flavours are quite strong and a little goes a long way and they were incredibly well played and balanced in this dessert.
  • It was crispy and crunchy yet not too dry since it had the floral bursts of rose water syrup and the aromatic and refreshing Kulfi ice cream that just made it even better.
  • There was also a vanilla creme anglaise on the plate that added a nice creaminess.
  • The green flakes on top were like shaved flakes of powdered pistachio with cinnamon and it added to the lightness of the whole dessert. Amazing!

**Apron Chocolate Bar  5/6

  • Salted caramel ice cream, almond crumble, coco crisp $10
  • This is another one that would have gotten a 6/6 if I didn’t try any of the other desserts.
  • This was a fantastic play of sweet and savoury in a dessert.
  • Chocolate and salted caramel are no longer strangers and this was surprisingly the “normal” dessert of the selection I tried.
  • The chocolate bar was made with 70% Lindt chocolate topped with crispy shattered sheets of cocoa crisp that was sweet yet bitter and it reminded me of the cereal. It was the perfect play with the bittersweet chocolate.
  • It was a rather thin bar, but it was creamy and rich with a thin crispy hazelnut wafer crunch on the bottom layer. I could have used a thicker layer for more crispiness.
  • It was served with a salty almond crumble that was powdery, but also semi-crispy, crunchy because it was mixed with a vanilla brulee for some texture.
  • There was also a salted caramel ice cream which could have been a bit saltier, but it was good.
  • I’ve had caramel infused with Rosemary before and I think it would have been great here.
  • It was a delicious dessert, but because everything else was so creative, this became the “typical” dessert, which actually wasn’t that typical at all in the broad scheme of things.

Assorted Chocolate Platter & Pistachio Cake  n/a

  • Special feature
  • I felt like I was going jewelery shopping for chocolate! It was beautiful!
  • The assorted chocolates are actually from Chocolate Arts in Vancouver, which specialize in gourmet handmade chocolates. Delicious!
  • The green clouds were the pistachio cakes and they tasted like dehydrated tea cakes. They were airy light and dry with a crumbly and powdery texture, and it’s not hard like honeycomb either.
  • It wasn’t necessarily strong in pistachio flavour so the nuttiness was faint and it really wasn’t that sweet at all.
  • I wouldn’t say they were particularly good, but they visually served their purpose.

I think I took “eat my dust” too literally… the only thing left on my plate at the end of the night was my foodie foot print for a restaurant that is definitely 100% Follow Me Foodie approved.

[geotag]

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