Supping in Vancouver: Blue Water Cafe
Blue Water Cafe
1095 Hamilton Street,
Ph: 604-688-8078 or Reserve Online
Not that one should need an excuse for dining out but out-of-town visitors provide a special opportunity to show off our superb Vancouver restaurants, our fresh and varied edibles and our fine BC wines. For my guests from Arizona, I thought seafood was the way to start. A pleasant ten minute walk through Yaletown got us to Blue Water Cafe right on time for our 6:15 reservation. Most of the tables on the outdoor patio were already full. We debated sitting outside but the overhead heaters were on whereas the interior of the restaurant felt pleasantly cool. So we opted for a comfortably spacious booth inside.
Shortly after we were seated, Carl, our server was there to offer drinks. Fortunately my guests were fine with white wine and we decided to try something from the Okanagan. I chose a 2008 Gewürtztraminer, from Kettle Valley Winery in Naramata. The wine was rich with citrus tones, and the sweetness and acidity were perfectly balanced for my palate. My guests agreed that the wine was excellent.
To my surprise, Carl picked up on my (what I consider subtle) South African accent, and that of my friends. But that was soon explained by the fact that he had lived and worked in Cape Town. We chatted a bit about the Cape, the wine regions and the wines and his enthusiasm for the city in which we had all grown up, made me somewhat nostalgic. You can read about my last visit to the fair Cape and see some of the spectacular scenery in my travelblogue, London & Cape Town.
We sipped on our wine and watched the restaurant fill up. The bread basket came with two spreads, a seaweed butter and a roasted red pepper/chickpea blend, both delicious.
To start my guests ordered the ahi tuna carpaccio (with t omatillo and grilled pineapple salsa and coriander shoots) and the hot and sour lobster soup with tofu, beech mushrooms, butternut squash and mussels. Both declared their plates to be delicious. I love uni (sea urchin), so I decided to try the dish that won executive chef, Frank Pabst first place in the Vancouver Culinary Championship Gold Medal Plates in 2008 - Qualicum Beach scallop and red sea urchin blended into a mousse and glazed with ponzu sauce, served with a wakame seaweed and leek salad, and a cucumber vichyssoise foam. I loved the contrast between the textures and flavours. The subtle taste of sea urchin in the creamy mousse and the delicacy of the cucumber foam, was highlighted by the piquant crunch of the salad. I agree it is a winner.
This rated a definite uhuhuhu - jigglejigglejiggle. (For explanation see my review of Boneta - I plan to develop the uhuh-jiggle response into a rating scale for future reviews- so watch for it - coming soon on video to a website near you!)
For our main courses, one of my guests ordered the evening's special, pan roasted halibut served over sweetpea mashed potatoes with a creamy dark sauce and the other ordered the bouillabaisse, a stew of saffron, garlic, tomatoes and pacific rim seafood. I tried the sablefish in a yuzu, soy and ginger broth, which was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was served with miso roasted eggplant and baby bok choy. I asked for a substitue for the quinoa and got a portion of crisp asparagus spears that complemented the sablefish nicely.
The crowning touch was the raspberry cream brulee which was sweet, creamy and delicately flavoured with a thin glazed coating. We shared the dessert so our palates could rejoice while our waistlines did not have to worry too much.
With our check Carl brought us three choclate petit fours with a delicious nutty taste and texture. Kudos to pastry chef Jean Pierre Sanchez for those and the creme brulee.
This was an excellent meal, good choice of wine, and great service. I realized that though I have eaten often at Blue Water Cafe since it opened nine years ago, I have not eaten there since I added the food and wine section of Sipping and Supping to Review From The House. But with a steady stream of visitors expected over the summer, I suspect it will not be too long before I dine there again. I have to check out the work of their sushi chef next.