Last night, Dine Out Vancouver presented its Kronenbourg 1664 Brasserie Mystère night. We were given details of the location and start time but the chef who’d be preparing the meal was the one major detail left out in the mix.
Event sponsor Kronenbourg 1664 kept its beer flowing throughout the reception and three course meal that followed. The newly-available in Canada Blanc beer was introduced towards the end of the evening, to pair with our dessert.
The long table communal seating arrangement seemed daunting at first, but later proved welcoming as I made new friends and dined with friend and food/travel writer Lenora Hayman. After a few rounds of appetizers and music to greet guests, we were asked to take our seats for dinner.
Anticipation mounted as Nick Relph, Director of Marketing for Carlsberg Canada appeared on stage, finally breaking the silence by introducing David Hawksworth as our chef for the evening, to a hearty round of applause.
For those who don't know about David's new restaurant, Hawksworth, it will open in early May when the Rosewood Hotel Georgia opens its doors. David was formerly chef at West for seven years and serves on the board of the Chefs Table Society of BC.
Our first course was a choice between a Dungeness crab salad served with grapefruit, avocado, and ginger, or a shaved fennel salad, with radish, lemon, ricotta and sourdough croutons. I chose the fennel salad, as I often find certain vegetables challenging to prepare to taste, and fennel is no exception. I was blown away by the fruity, delicate flavour of the fennel mixed with slivers of radish and ricotta cheese. The only ingredient that I didn’t clearly taste was the sourdough croutons, however they may have been well hidden within the ricotta.
Our main course featured a choice between Beef Bourguignon shortrib with pearl onion and hedgehog mushrooms or a roasted Sablefish with sunchoke, leek, carrot, onion and fine herbs. A third vegetarian option was available: Mediterranean braised chickpeas with black olive, basil, and pine nut.
I chose the Sablefish (I’m a seafood lover at heart) and again was not disappointed. The green herb sauce was marvelous when eaten with the flavorful, flaky roasted sablefish. I noticed that the majority of my table mates went with the fish. In fact, I don’t think I saw a beef dish pass my eyes during the table service.
Before dessert was served, Nick came back on stage to talk about Kronenbourg’s Blanc. This is a wheat beer with notes of orange and coriander with a very light colour. It smelled wonderful, and had a refreshing taste, however I didn’t find it a beer that I’d order on a regular basis. I much preferred their trademark 1664 beer. I was amazed at how enjoyable a beer could be with so many dishes. Normally a wine drinker at dinner, I’d have chosen a Sauvignon Blanc to pair with the citrusy salad and roasted sablefish, however this was a beer-sponsored event, so when in Rome…
The dessert was a yogurt pannacotta served with citrus and crispy vanilla. The vanilla melted in my mouth, and the pannacotta was a nice finish to the meal.