Last night was a Media preview of the new food menu at the Establishment Lounge in Kitsilano, 3162 W. Broadway (at Trutch). The Establishment Lounge food is created by Executive Chef Victor Bongo. Chef Bongo is the author of a cookbook titled: “The Excellence of Chef Victor Bongo“, which was published in March of 2009 by Xlibris Corporation. The international fusion tapas menu is made with fresh, local ingredients that create unique dishes that are packed full of flavor.
With @diannechow, we tasted through the menu, and here are my results. The menu:
- Vegetarian Peanut Soup – with coconut milk, finely chopped veggies and African spices
- Black Truffle Saccottini Pasta – tossed in a vanilla Galliano cream sauce, served with sweet pea puree, garnished with merlot micro-greens and fresh pancetta
- Bison Sliders – topped with port-wine cheddar cheese, cranberry onion relish, and a fresh beet aioli
- Okanagan Goat Cheese & Fig Souffle – served with golden beet carpaccio and drizzled with a maple truffle vinaigrette
- Lamb Merguz Frank – in a warm croissant with chipotle aioli, cucumber pico de gallo, and a fresh honey-mint yogurt.
- Malaysian Chicken Satay – free range chicken infused with Malaysian spices and served with a peanut sauce
- Thai Tiger Prawns – served with coconut steamed rice and cucumber raita
- Moroccan Lamb Lollipop – topped with a Chambord fig jam and goat cheese creme fraiche.
- Latin Pan-Seared Scallops – served over chile morita on a sweet corn cake with avocado mousse and chipotle aioli, accompanied by a pico de gallo.
- Shrimp and Lobster Cakes – almond crusted and accompanied by chipotle sauce, miso sauce, and jerk aioli
- Chilled Raspberry Soup – a blend of plain and banana yogurt, soda water, fresh basil, Triple Sec and Chive creme fraiche.
They do have a selection of wines; some of which are served by glass, 1/2 litre, or bottle, and others by bottle only. Their wine list is below.
My Food Impressions
My overall favourite menu item of the tasting was the Shrimp and Lobster Cakes. It was packed full of shrimp and lobster, no fillers. There was only the jerk aioli sauce on the cakes this evening. The sauce was not very spicy but full of citrusy flavour. Cooked so they have a crunch on the outside, yet still moist on the inside. I’d try this with either of their sparkling wines by the glass, or the Domain de Tariquet Sauvignon Blanc.
The Vegetarian Peanut Soup was also very nice and creamy. It was topped with finely diced fresh vegetables giving you a bit of a crunchy texture too.
The Black Truffle Saccottini Pasta was quite filling with the cream sauce. I believe Saccottini pasta is a hand-made egg pasta. The black truffle earthy aroma filled your nostrils as you slipped the saccottini in your mouth. It was very rich and you should drink a wine that can cut through that richness. Sparkling wine goes with just about anything so you could try that. The Joie Riesling or Rose could also work.
I heard comments from others at the tasting that they really liked the Bison Sliders. I did too. Cooked so that the bison was juicy, not dry, and the cheese and toppings added flavour and texture variety. A good change from a regular burger. Have the Peter Lehmann “Weightbridge” Shiraz with the slider.
If you like satay, they made a nice Malaysian style chicken sate with peanut sauce. The sate was cooked well, but I missed the charcoal flavour and aroma like you get when you eat at a hawker stall in Kuala Lumpur.
If you like spicy, go for the Thai Tiger Prawns. In case you don’t know your spice tolerance, I suggest having a glass of water to douse the flames. I really enjoyed this. Grilled nicely. Try with the Joie Riesling or the Grey Monk Pinot Gris. If you prefer red wine try the Emilio Merlot. The fruitiness and roundness of the Merlot should tame the spice.
I love Lamb Lollipops and was looking forward to trying the Moroccan Lamb Lollipop. It was tender and tasty, but I think the Chambord fig jam was a bit strong for it. Enjoy this lollipop with Mark West Pinot Noir or Pascual Tosco Malbec.
The Latin Pan-Seared Scallops probably is tied for my second favourite menu item, together with the Vegetarian Peanut soup. The scallop was cooked to perfection and tasted wonderful with the Latin spices.
The Chilled Raspberry Soup could be served either at the beginning or the end of your meal. It was different, with the melding of the raspberry flavour with the fresh basil flavour. I probably would not order this one again, but you cannot like everything.
Establishment Lounge also serves beer. In particular Efes beer from Turkey. I mention this specifically as the Efes beer is made from rice, not barley or wheat. The beers I tasted all were light bodied. My favourite was their dark beer. I think Dianne Chow preferred the Mariachi beer, which has an agave (tequila) edge to it.
Overall I would say that there are many tasty food selections at Establishment Lounge and would be a fun place to go with friends for a weekend meal. Enjoy!
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