Kitsilano Daily Kitchen
Kitsilano Daily Kitchen
1809 West 1st Ave.,
Ph: (604) 569-2741 or Reserve Online
As the choice for a pre-show dinner, before heading off to opening night of The Merchant of Venice at Bard on the Beach, I was eager to try Kitsilano Daily Kitchen, which had recently been recommended to me by another Foodie friend.
The "daily kitchen" concept implies that Chef Brian Fowke sets his menu for each day to take advantage of the fresh ingredients he buys from the markets. I was impressed even before I set foot in the restaurant, by the fact that on my reservation confirmation was the sentence "please feel free to forward special request directly to me". So I emailed him with a question and got a response back almost immediately.
The space is small, with about 30 seats but the feel of the room is open and airy. It seemed that almost all the tables were reserved for the evening with several parties of 8 to 10 people so I was pleased I had booked early. The tasting menu looked intriguing but because we were going to the play we decided we did not have time to be able to enjoy a leisurely tasting. Another time.
While we were studying the menu for the day, our server brought a basket of in-house baked foccacia bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a variety of olives and the irresistible touch, St. Augur cheese, which along with Cambozola is one of my favorite blue cheeses. Naturally I had to try the foccacia with the St. Augur. It was so fresh and tasty that I tried another piece with the oil and balsamic dip.
We each had a glass of wine. I was intrigued by the Honest John White by Road 13 Vineyard. I had not heard of either the vineyard name nor the wine name so I did a little research when I got home. Road 13 is the name of the winery in Oliver, and where two of their vineyards are located. The Honest John wine range, white, red and rose blends are named for Honest John Oliver, the 19th premier of BC for whom the town Oliver is names. The 2009 white is predominantly Riesling with Kerner and Gewürtztraminer and lesser amounts of three other white varietals.
I settled on two appetiser courses. The first was chilled avocado soup with bacon , scallion, creme fraiche and a pan-seared dayboat scallop. The soup was exquisitely presented as you can see in the picture above. It looked almost too good too eat. But I went ahead and loved each spoonful. It was creamy and rich and the finely sliced bits of bacon and scallop added a slightly different flavour to each spoonful without overwheming the subtle avocado taste.
Some more research told me that the term "dayboat" promises that the scallops were bought from fishing boats that return to shore with the day's catch rather than staying out for several days to harvest scallops from beds far out to sea. They are sometimes known as "dry"scallops because they are fresh and therefore not soaked in STP (sodium tri-polyphosphate) which is used to stop dehydration of scallops that have to be stored for more than a day. Anyway the scallop in the avocado soup was perfectly cooked.
My friend had the unilateral seared Northern BC Arctic Char with cous cous salad, local asparagus and Banyul's vinaigrette. I had a taste and agreed that it was delicious.
My second appetiser was the jump-fried wild white pacific prawns with smoked serrano and papaya, and a charcoal aioli. The prawns were cooked in the shell and the dish came with a bowl and a damp napkin to cleanse my messy fingers. I enjoyed the flavours of the dish but I don't like to work for my food when I am eating out. I prefer them shelled.
I tried to find out what exactly jump-fried means. I assumed it meant a very short cooking time but even Google proved no help. I need more research on that one or maybe Chef Fowke can enlighten me. The charcoal aioli also was intriguing. I had no idea that there was edible charcoal. In my medical training charcoal was used as an antidote for poisoning. Anyway it gave a interesting tart taste to the sauce.
I really liked my meal and am determined to go back soon to try the daily tasting menu. I also enjoy menus that send me off to do homework and learn something new so the place scores on both counts.