I am not a beer fan but if you are, you're in luck, they have over two pages of Belgian beers available. However, I do love a good cocktail and their Blue Fig is one of my favourites. The fig infused gin pairs so well with the salty sharpness of the blue cheese, it's so inspired. The other cocktail I was tempted to try was the Fall 75. My friend ended up getting it but we were undecided as to whether we liked it or not. There was just too much thyme in the drink for us, and we didn't know if we were having a cocktail or a cold broth.
We all brought our appetites with us, so we ordered four appetizers and four entrees. Yes, we were going to tear through this menu. First off is the Brochette de boeuf et chorizo. No actual brochette comes with the dish, but the beef striploin and the chorizo were deliciously grilled. The tangy lime and spicy chili dry rub gave both meats a really good flavour. The beef was much juicier than the chorizo which was a bit tougher.
The next beef appetizer was the Boeuf braisé au tamarin. These beef short ribs had a sourness from the tamarind, but not overly soo. And the corn pudding on the bottom really helped mellow out the tartness. The salsa was surprisingly lacking in heat, since it was made with tomatillo and jalapeno. Nevertheless, the short rib was fork tender and the slow cooking method really injects the beef with the flavours of the braising liquid. A double order of this and I could skip the entrée entirely.
The next appetizer we got was the our seafood appetizers, we started off with the Duo de Pétoncle et porc. What an interesting pairing, seared Qualicum Bay scallops with crispy pork belly and crackling! There is also a bit of Belgium endive and and some bright green watercress purée. The topping of the crispy pork rind was amazing and totally decadent. Though I am not a fan of scallops, these reminded me of the ones I tried at Shangri-La during the summer.
No visit to Chambar is complete without an order of their Moules Frites. Both the Coquotte and the Congolaise had a cream based sauce, but we wanted something lighter and opted for the Vin blanc, with a simple white wine sauce with celery, leeks and black peppers. Oh, and bit of butter too. The bucket of mussels seemed bottomless, we kept digging and there would always be more. The juices from the mussels and the remaining sauce was so tasty that we actually ordered some bread to soak it all up.
And now, onto the mains, this is the Grillade au Roquefort, a AAA culotte steak chargrilled to a medium rare, topped with a pat of roquefort butter. The black crispy kale chips and some celeriac purée finish the dish. If you are looking for something a little sweet, the balsamic & shallot jam will do the trick. The steak was done perfectly and the roquefort butter gave the dish a nice blue cheese tang and it melted wonderfully onto the steak. If you are going to put butter on a steak, make sure it's rich in flavour and that the steak is warm enough to actually melt the butter, unlike the Taste of Yaletown offering from Glowbal Group.
More meaty goodness came in the form of the Le Ragoût du chasseur. This was few meats in one, with venison short loin, elk meat balls and wild boar salami. There were also sheets of fresh pasta, and some chanterelle mushrooms too. The quail egg was a nice touch, but I found the lingonberries a bit sweet for my liking in this plate. The sheets of pasta was amazingly fresh and the venison was so well seasoned. This was definitely a good portion of meats, and it is their priciest entrée, coming in at $31. It's probably big enough for two to share.
For our next dish, we went with the Canard et chèvre, a seared duck breast, on a bed of Okanagan herb goat cheese. There were also whole roasted hazelnuts and a doughy ricotta gnocchi. The presentation of this dish was the most elegant and the duck was really good. It was seared to a medium rare and there were plenty of pieces to share. I don't know if you can see what looks like a wonton crisp in the back, but that was amazing. You expected a crunchy salty cracker but what you get is almost akin to the topping of a cupcake, that this caramelized layer on top. It was unexpected and quite delightful.
And here is the final dish of the night, whew, the L'omble de l'Artique et tarte flambé. The skin on Arctic char was served with a sultana, capers & meyer lemon tarte flambé, reminiscent of naan. A braised fennel and dill beurre blanc is the sauce, and the earthy tang is a good match with the fish. The fish had a nice crispy skin and the flesh flaked away easily. I didn't get to try the bread, but it was nice that they served a bigger portion of carbs here with a lighter entrée.
- Lots of new seasonal items on the menu, but the Moules Frites are a staple
- Reservations are hard to come by, especially for large groups, so book early
- Knowledgeable staff and can give recommendations based on your palate, just ask!