Cork and Fin: Mussels in Bacon and Cream Paradise
221 Carrall Street, Gastown, Vancouver
First of all, I love quirky details at eateries and I instantly fell in love with the file folder menus at Cork and Fin. I was also impressed that they used cut-up pieces of paper from old wine lists as liners for the condiment plates. A great creative way to recycle. And maybe a convoluted way to advertise the cool wine list.
When the basket of warm bread came, Dennis commented on how he loved the soft, whipped butter. There’s nothing worse than hard butter that breaks your bread before you take a bite. Cork and Fin doesn’t cut corners.
I also enjoyed the service, our server spent time to explain the menu to us, naming his favourite items.
I knew exactly what I wanted to order though, the mussels with bacon and cream since I was suffering from the biggest mussels craving for days. It was also the perfect day for mussels, being a cold windy and rainy afternoon. A typical Vancouver day, really.
The mussels smelled amazing when they came to the table, buttery and rich. I smelled the smokey bacon right away. And there was a lot of it, practically piles of fatty bacon bits stuffed into every crevice found in the mound of mussels. I was also very distracted by the bowl of giant fries served with the mussels.
The mussels were very big and plumb, they were so meaty that they practically spilled out of their shells without me doing much prying with my seafood fork.
The bacon and cream tasted exactly like the way it smelled, like the best mixture of rich butter, heavy cream with bacon fat melted right in. Honestly, I wanted to swim in it. And thank goodness our server came back with big soup spoons for us because I was scooping up big spoonfuls of the bacon and cream with every bite. It’s amazing how bacon fat truly enhances the natural fresh flavours of mussels, it actually kind of curbed the brininess and brought out the fresh sweetness in the seafood.
There was so much bacon and cream left over that I ended up mopping it up with the giant fries. There was still a large mound of delicious bacon left after I ate all the fries. Again, good thing for the soup spoon.
The fries were incredible. I’m not sure what kind of large mutant potato they were cut from but they were delicious, crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle. They were so well seasoned too, covered in course sea salt. They made wonderful sponges for the bacon and cream sauce at the bottom of my bowl.
May ordered the mussels too but with chorizo, tomato and chillies. Her bowl of mussels also came heaping high with bite sized pieces of chorizo and wonderfully seasoned tomatoes. The chorizo added some heat to the dish, the meat was tender and moist. Her mussels really had some kick to them too, one nibble and my mouth was filled with spice. It was a great dish for a cold day. I found it spicy but May thought it was on the mild side. I really have to work on my tolerance for spice!
Dennis ordered the lobster roll, and it was so gorgeous when it came to the table that I wish I ordered it! The big chunks of lobster meat spilled out of the brioche bun. I thought the bun could have been questionable since it’s not a traditional New England lobster roll bun but the brioche bun worked well; it was soft and cushiony, and slightly sweet. The lobster meat, lightly dressed in spiced aioli was so good. The meat was tender and delicate, tasting so fresh and light, I’m pretty sure I can eat two of these sandwiches in one sitting.
We didn’t save room for dessert but I can’t wait to go back. I’m dying to try Cork and Fin’s brunch or even their dinner menu and cocktails. Cork and Fin is currently serving Easter Brunch for the long weekend.