Dinner at Chambar (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)
Chambar a huge, gorgeous, casual fine dining restaurant in Vancouver. The dining area has the brick walls, wooden beams and vaulted ceilings, and wood and black leather tufted banquettes, strong and masculine, balanced by colorful floating light fixtures. The atmosphere is definitely lively and it sets up for a fun meal.
The menu reads international cuisine. Chambar draws influences from various cultures while sticking to flavors they are familiar with. The menu is seasonal and culturally influenced while incorporating a little farm to table.
We started with unique cocktails like the Beety Street (a not too bitter with a touch of sweetness drink made of beet juice cocktail with Jim Beam bourbon, dry curacu, orange vermouth, ginger and pineapple juice) and Oi Ling (a floral, sweet cocktail of jasmine infused Aboslut vodka, Cointreau, passion fruit and elderflower). One of my friends stuck with a very good Belgian, Gavroche; a strong, red beer, in which the deep malt flavor and brisk hoppiness are very well balanced. The beer as a whole is gracefully accentuated by fruity flavors from a special top-fermenting yeast.
We had an amuse bouche of local sardine, tomato relish, chermoula, fennel on paprika toast. This potently flavorful bite was delicious. The sardine was oily (in a good way) and sweetened by the tomato relish with anise accent and the bit of crispiness from the toast.
When you normally think of appetizers, it tend to be on the small side (at least in the NYC dining perspective) but at Chambar, it’s a substantial dish. The Thon Tropical is Albacore tuna that is prepared two ways – fried and ceviche. The tuna preparations were done nicely though the ceviche is technically more like a tuna filet coated in paprika then sliced in chunks. The spicy cabbage kumquat salad added a flavorful, crunchy side.
The spiced foie gras terrine can easily serve three people for what we’ve received. Besides its huge serving size, the most interesting and smart thing on the plate was the icy, tart cherry granita to refresh the palate from the delectable goose liver butter. The Duo de Porc Et Morue is a beautifully presented sablefish and pork hock dish which our server poured the intense and clean porcini mushroom consommé. Besides the looks, it’s a swoon worthy, hearty dish with the perfect hard boiled quail eggs, sweet roasted leaves of brussels sprouts to balance out the dish.
Our waitress told us that their moules frites is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. I’ve opted for the moules frites ‘Congolaise’, an Asian inspired moules frites that’s smoky, coconutty, and simply so delicious. I almost wanted to ask the waitress for a loaf of bread to sop up all of that delicious sauce after eating the two pounds of mussels.
The Canard et Gnocchi is a spiced rubbed duck breast on a bed of celery root and apple salad with watermelon radish turnips, hazelnuts, pea tips. Hidden underneath the salad are large, pillowy soft gnocchi.
The beautiful plate of seared steelhead trout, sautéed greens, purple fried rice topped with crispy lotus root chips. The trout was very moist and wonderfully seasoned. The sides were tasty and made the dish substantial without weighing you down.
Despite the fact we’re full, we had to have dessert. We shared a plate of cheese, a frozen chocolate mousse bar, and a dessert called Mama Rizk. The cheeses were very good and liked the pickled apricots and fig chutney. The frozen Belgian chocolate mousse bar was delectable since it’s not too sweet and the chocolate stresel and meringue added some crunchy textures. The Mama Rizk is actually a creamy bar of honey custard with a sweet blood orange gel and crisp sugar.
We were very satisfied with this dinner at Chambar. The food isn’t stuffy or pretentious but it’s creative yet familiar in terms of flavors. Service was fantastic with very knowledgeable with the food and drink menus. We would definitely go back here for another meal if we head back to Vancouver.
To view more photos of this visit, please view the photo set or the gallery below: