With the changing seasons we have changes in menus at our restaurants. Last week Dianne Chow and I went to Beachside Forno in West Vancouver to have a sample of items from their new fall menu. We were greeted by manager, Andy, as well as Chef Jason Harris. This evening we were treated to 3 of the new fall items, paired with wines. I had never been to Beachside Forno although I had worked just a few blocks away a few years ago. Now that I know about it, and tried their excellent food, I am going to make a trip across the bridge to enjoy their food in the future.
First Course – Appetizer
Our first course was: Seared scallops & cauliflower with peanuts, sweet peas, candied bacon, and orange-bacon vinaigrette. It was paired with La Stella Un-Oaked Chardonnay from BC’s Okanagan Valley. This scallop dish I was told was Beachside Forno’s best selling appetizer over the summer, so they decided to keep it on for the fall. I enjoyed the grilled crust on the outside of the scallop leading to the soft sweet inside. The crunchy peanuts, sweet peas, crunchy candied bacon, and the whiff of curry on the cauliflower all combined with lots of different flavours and textures, but never overpowering the star, which are the scallops.
The La Stella Un-Oaked Chardonnay was up to the task of providing the fruit flavour and acidity to complement the dish. It had a nice tropical fruit nose which continued to the palate. Medium body, with a nice acidic prickle; many flavours, including tropical fruit, apple, pear, and a hint of sweet cherry (I’m not sure if the sweet cherry was really there or a result of the dish interacting from the wine, but it was interesting to recognize it). This is a very fresh tasting wine and matched the freshness of the scallops.
Second Course – Main Dish
The second course was: House Made Carnivore Flatbread, topped with home made chorizo, Italian sausage, bacon, roasted tomatoes, and boccochini cheese. The wine pairing was the Badiola Mazzei Sangiovese / Merlot 2008 (a Super Tuscan) from Italy. As the name of this dish said “Carnivore”, it was loaded with meat, but it did not overwhelm you. I think Chef Harris added enough toppings to make it a filling dish that you can enjoy without feeling like you need a nap after finishing it. One caveat is that you should be able to handle some spiciness as it does have a fair bite to it coming from the ground chorizo. A nice touch is that our serving plates were provided to us warm, keeping out slices of flatbread pizza at the perfect eating temperature. The flatbread had many flavours, from the peppery chorizo, the fennel in the Italian sausage, and the sweetness from the roasted tomatoes. The flatbread was crispy which is how I like it. The boccochini cheese is there adding a creamy texture to the dish, but as Dianne said, the flatbread has so many nice flavours already, you don’t need the cheese. With all the meats and cheese you may think this dish would be salty, but you would be wrong. The salt was nicely integrated with the other ingredients so you did not notice it.
Our wine, the Badiola Mazzei Sangiovese / Merlot 2008 had beautiful violets, plum and oak aromas. Medium plus body, dry with violets, plums, cherries and vanilla on the palate. Some spice showed up on the mid palate, and there was also a bit of blackberry leaf too. The wine I think helped to tone down the spiciness in the dish and helped enhance the flavour from the roasted tomatoes. Another excellent dish and pairing.
Third Course – Dessert
A Pumpkin Parfait with white chocolate rum mousse, and a speculoos cookie was our dessert. To the dessert, we had the Elephant Island Apricot Dessert wine 2011 from the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan. The parfait ice cream made with pumpkin and sweet spices was a very flavourful and creamy. The white chocolate mousse made the ice cream even creamier. There was also tiny chunks of roasted banana or plantain to add a topical fruitness component to the dessert, and the home made speculoos cookie with it’s sweet spices and crunchiness kept building and complementing the other flavours of the dish.
I really enjoyed the Elephant Island Apricot Dessert wine. I am usually not one for non-grape, fruit wines, but this one was a winner. It has a very sweet spice on the nose with apricots and honey backing it up. Off dry, with apricot skin and apricot fruit flavours. It is round when it first greets your mouth but then it becomes dry and acidity comes through. Very nice. Another complementary pairing. The acidity in the wine helps to lighten up the creaminess in the parfait.
More Fall Dishes for You
A super effort by Chef Harris. Besides the dishes he had us sample, there are many other additional dishes coming to the Fall menu:
- Celery Root and Onion Soup with parmesan chives formato
- Roasted Chicken Consommé with speck canederli
- Warm Beetroot Tart with house made chevre, raisins, quinoa, truffle honey crème fraiche
- Crispy Veal Sweetbread with mushroom ravioli, apples, pumpkin, hazelnuts, brown butter vinaigrette
- House Made Cavetelli Pasta with tomato olive ragu, preserved lemon, roasted peppers, zucchini, parmesan
- Grilled Albacore Tuna and Octopus with chickpea, roasted kale, hazelnuts, chorizo vinaigrette
- Seared and Smoked Local Steelhead Trout with spatzle, melted leeks, sweet peas, celery, pancetta emulsion
- Maple Roasted Pork Tenderloin with potato gnocchi, squash puree, roasted sprouts, house made bacon, tomato relish
- House Cured Corned Beef with smoked gouda pierogies, corn puree, savoy cabbage roll, grainy mustard jus (growing up on the prairies, I have to try this for sure!)
- Grilled Peace Country Lamb Loin and Merguez Sausage with white bean cassoulet, mushrooms, eggplant, chimichurri sauce
Lots of new and exciting dishes I think to keep you coming back several times this fall. Enjoy!
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