Nicolas Hipperson, executive chef and owner of Farm 2 Fork, and chef and co-founder Nooshin Rasouli invited Follow Me Foodie’s Mijune Pak to one of their underground dinners.
Restaurant: Farm 2 Fork
Cuisine: West Coast/Pacific Northwest/Local/Canadian
Last visited: February 23, 2014
Phone: (778) 772-3037
Location: Vancouver, BC (Gastown)
Price Range: $50+ ($75-85 for 7 courses)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- by Mijune Pak , Follow Me Foodie – WE Vancouver
- posted Mar 5, 2014 at 1:00 PM
As a “foodie” in Vancouver you would think I would have my finger on the pulse of everything food-related in the city, but I don’t. Despite dining out on average once a day, there are many things that fly under my radar, and this was one of them.
I’m kind of embarrassed I did not know about Farm 2 Fork before, but it is a legal underground restaurant project which started in Spring 2011. Yes, it only took me about three years to discover it and I did not know about it until owner and executive chef Nicolas Hipperson invited me to attend one. It was for a future episode of Secret Suppers of Vancouver, a soon-to-air CBC documentary about underground restaurants in the city.
Farm 2 Fork is the brainchild of Hipperson and chef and co-founder Nooshin Rasouli. Hipperson is actually the executive chef of C Restaurant and Raincity Grill, but he started this project with Rasouli before taking the position. Rasouli was part of the early “underground restaurant” movement in the UK, and she was looking to replicate the concept in Vancouver. They had their eyes set on Gastown and the secret location ended up being Hipperson’s private home. Read the full story.
On the table:
- Pickled North Arm Farm beets, Okanagan goats cheese mousse, beetroot gel roll-up, shaved bosc pear, apple gel, watercress, shaved raw beet
- The plate was a bit big for the amount of salad so there was a lot of white space, but this isn’t a big deal.
- It was a fresh and light salad with rich goat cheese mousse to bring it together.
- There was a good acidity and sweetness and play on textures.
- It was finely executed and the beetroll gel roll-up was even, thin and well piped with goat cheese mousse.
- The dill ash dusting on the edge was actually one of my favourite parts.
- It was very complementing to the salad and it was fragrant with dill and not too bitter.
- Usually I find the ash too subtle and not making much of a difference, but here it played right into the goat cheese and beets.
- I mentioned Beet & Goat Cheese salad as a Food Trend I’d want to see die in 2013, but it’s pretty much a staple now.
- I also mentioned “Textures of X” in my Food Trends for 2014.
- Crème fraîche, Northern Divine sturgeon caviar, fresh dill
- Are you serious? Sustainable Northern Divine caviar at an underground supper club? Where am I?
- Crème fraîche + caviar + dill… effortless. I could use a smoked or unsmoked quail’s egg, but now I’m being greedy.
- See my article on Northern Divine caviar here. It’s undeniably the most popular and well recognized caviar in Vancouver at the moment.
- I’m a sucker for velouté soups.
- It’s a rich and creamy white soup or sauce and it’s know as “the Mother of French sauces”.
- It’s made with cream, butter, egg yolks and a fish or chicken stock.
- It’s a simple soup, but with good ingredients and garnishes it can be excellent, and this was excellent.
- This sunchoke velouté had a nice thick and silky smooth texture that was still fluid. Go Vitamix!
- The sunchokes were sweet and woody and the crème fraîche made it richer, but also gave it some acidity.
- It was one of those soups where I wanted bread to wipe the bowl up with.
- The only thing this was missing was crispy texture… and really I could have used some bread.
- See my recipe for Wild BC Salmon & Cauliflower Velouté with Maple Crème Fraîche & Crispy Prosciutto.
- Sous vide octopus, smoked tomato puree, squid ink & roasted garlic emulsion, blood oranges, chorizo, shaved easter egg radish, frisee
- This was Nic’s twist on a Panzanella.
- It was lighter than the soup, but had many flavours and dimensions to it.
- It was different to go from salad to soup to salad again, but this was more about the octopus.
- It was a heartier panzanella, but heartier with meat and not carbs, yet the chorizo and octopus didn’t make you feel weighed down because it wasn’t a lot.
- All the flavours he chose were classic combinations and very Spanish/Mediterranean.
- I love octopus so I was really excited with this dish.
- Being sous vide (at 85 degrees), it was expectedly tender yet meaty and not chewy at all. It was also flavourful on its own.
- The squid ink was savoury with the added garlic and the tomatoes and oranges gave it brightness and acidity.
- The semi-spicy chorizo was meaty and went hand in hand with the octopus and the radish just kept things fresh.
- The toasted focaccia was lightly toasted and not hard, but I wouldn’t mind more squid ink sauce, tomatoes or a drizzle of olive oil to absorb the bread with.
- I still prefer the octopus appetizer at L’Abattoir, but this one was pretty fantastic. Apples and oranges.
- He has a really good palate for sauce and just like the velouté the squid ink sauce was addicting and well seasoned.
- Mission Hill riesling ice wine gelée, sour cherry gel, torn toasted brioche, blackberries, crème fraîche, fresh pea tips
- What? Caviar and foie gras at an underground restaurant? Can I expect truffles? Exciting!
- I love foie gras so I was wide eyed when I heard it was the next course, but it ended up being my least favourite although still good.
- There seemed to be very little foie in the torchon so it tasted like mostly fat and cream even though it was foie only.
- I couldn’t taste the foie which is the whole point.
- There was also quite a big spoonful of foie and not enough aerated toasted brioche to eat it with.
- We asked for more brioche and that was happily served.
- The berries and wine gelée were nice components to cut the richness of the foie, but the star of the show should have been the foie so I was a bit let down.
- It was cutting the greasiness and the fat, but not the foie flavour which lacked.
- The berries aren’t seasonal, so perhaps another pickled or preserved fruit would be better considering the theme of the dinner.
- House made pasta, egg yolk, fresh chives, manila clams, raw sea urchin, clam consommé, radish sprouts
- Oh god. What an unassuming dish!
- I thought “a pasta is a pasta” and this looked to simple to be that impressive.
- However I was pretty blown away to get caviar, foie gras, and uni in one dinner for $75, albeit it was only a little of each, but still.
- It was a fresh take on a linguine vongole, but it only had one clam, so how good could it be?
- @#$%. It was good! Better than good, it was my favourite bite of the whole dinner and I still remember it weeks later.
- The pasta was al dente with a nice bite and it was licked with egg yolk to give it richness and buttery texture and flavour.
- The manila clam consommé was so savoury and fresh and again he nailed the sauce aspect.
- The clam ended up being secondary to the pasta and the raw sea urchin was just a small noodle sized slice.
- I could have used more, but it was enough to make an impact for the few bites of linguine.
- I loved the idea of adding sea urchin to give another layer of umami to the dish.
- There was also anchovies and melted down parmesan so overall it was an umami bomb with so many savoury flavours. I loved it!
- I was surprised how much the house made pasta became the star of the show, but it was his technique and execution that really elevated this simple pasta course.
- It was just enough to leave you craving for more. I could have had a whole plate and been totally satisfied.
- Roasted turnip puree, bitter celery leaf, walla walla onion jam, blue cheese condiment & peppercorn sauce
- Usually by this point, the main can be super boring and I never feel passionately about it, but not the case here.
- The sous vide beef tenderloin was executed like a fine dining restaurant, not an underground restaurant.
- The meat was medium rare, consistently cooked (thanks to sous vide technique – sous vide 62.5 degrees for 1.5 hours), warm, soft, tender, well marbleized and succulent.
- Being tenderloin of course it was going to be tender, but the quality of meat was also very good.
- I would have liked more peppercorn sauce, but the steak didn’t need much sauce anyway because it wasn’t dry.
- The blue cheese condiment was a classic addition which melted right into the steak giving it more savoury fat and pungent flavour.
- The toasted turnip puree was another highlight and I could have used more of that. Again, go Vitamix! Super smooth, rich and creamy.
- Underneath the beef was also some braised kale which was a nice vegetable side because I didn’t need any more carbs at this point.
- The bitter celery leaf was great to pair with the blue cheese and the walla walla onion jam gave the dish sweetness.
- I wouldn’t mind smaller celery leaves, but I like them as a garnish and the dish benefited from them.
- Raspberry puree, chocolate mousse, preserved blackberry jam, dehydrated marshmallow, candied walnut, chocolate streusel, preserved raspberry in verjus
- A chocolate dessert was suitable for the last course considering what had been served.
- I was a bit caught off guard chef used raspberries though considering it isn’t the season and it’s supposed to be a “Farm 2 Fork” dinner.
- I get the winter has limited local fruits and vegetables, but perhaps sour cherries or something locally preserved from summer would be better.
- It was quite classic with traditional flavours and components.
- I don’t go crazy for mousse, but this was good and the components was what gave it sophistication and class.
- It was not too sweet and the sweet was balanced with acid.
- I loved the crumbly, nutty, crispy and crunchy textures of all the garnishes and there was a good ratio of everything.
- It was a nice way to end the meal and you won’t require a dinner #2 because Farm 2 Fork is great with portions – that’s coming from someone who has a bigger appetite too.