The room is stunning. I just came back from Rome and I feel like I’m in Paris now. Lavish colours paint the walls, gold rimmed mirrors and exposed brick give the large space that old-world feel. I mean, it’s almost like I’m strolling down the streets of Paris! One may choose to dine overlooking Chef Paul Benallick’s daily selection of fish directly in front of the kitchen. Dining here is meant to feel like you’re at the table with your grandmother, giving you the warmth of being surrounded by family. The menu is always evolving, however, will always be meant to share, try and inspire conversation. The cocktails are based on classics with a twist, also offering a wine program with a low affordable price point.
French modern (Skyy Vodka, Chambord, Pineapple Juice) pairs remarkably well. Love the sweet bubbles and the pineapple. Starting out tuna tartar that peppery, love the niscoise olives. Roasted duck poutine is elevated to sexy by a softly fried egg, covered in salty rich gravy. The Qualicom Bay scallops silky on the palate, love the crunchy peanut texture.
The Guillotine (Maker’s Mark, Liqueur de Noisette, Gingembre, Citrus,Egg White) fragrantly accompanies the next few dishes. Citrus cuts through rich heavy flavours of spicy watermelon and tomato soup – so fragrant, it cools as it spices, and the seasoning is incredibly on point. Bravo Chef Benallick! Many are not so. Love the American in with the Buffalo fried sweetbreads. Frog legs normally are hit and miss, here they hit – heavy and rich aromatic spices, pickled celery cuts through nicely. Love the plump figs stuffed with Roquefort.
Moroccan chickpea is so aromatic, the flavours envelop my senses, and my eyes feel swirly. Mesmerized. The veal meatball was a tad on a salty side until my neighbor explained I must have sip of wine to unlock (like a dial on a safe) the savory, pepper flavours – it literally clicked open on the palate.
A misstep: passion fruit soufflé, does not work, the citric passion fruit really splits the creamy vanilla crème anglais. It’s alright Chef Paul, nobody perfect. And bittersweet chocolate truffle bar is not my thing (fruit and chocolate) my neighbors enjoyed it. I did however, enjoy the cotton candy touch.