Cache Bistro and Lounge: French Decadence meets Asian Flavours
Cache Bistro and Lounge
1269 Hamilton Street, Yaletown, Vancouver
Rick invited me to Cache Bistro Lounge’s media tasting to try the menu before the Grand Opening on Thursday, April 26, 2012. I was pretty excited when I saw creme brulee on the menu! Cache Bistro is located in trendy Yaletown, directly across the street from Rodney’s. Also at the tasting were food bloggers, Sherman and Sean.
As soon as we sat down, we were served a delicious glass of hibiscus champagne, just the perfect floral bubbly to whet our appetites for the five course meal.
Set out on each table was a cutting board with sliced baguette and three types of gourmet butter: cranberry, satay and truffle. The truffle was my favourite, smooth but with an edgy, rustic taste. The cranberry butter was very sweet and the satay just didn’t compare to the truffle butter.
I love the concept of Asian and French fusion cuisine. Having a lot of extended family in France, I can tell you firsthand that one of the best cultural mix of foods is when Asian flavours meet French cooking techniques: when intricate Asian spices and seasonings are combined with delicate French cooking methods to create unique dishes that elevate the best flavours from Asia and France.
Chef and owner of Cache Bistro, Alex Mok has experience in melding together traditional dishes with a contemporary spin, all while using seasonal ingredients. Chef Mok also has experience in private dining, having run an Underground Supper Club. Needless to say, the ambiance was perfect, intimate but funky.
Like I said, creme brulee was on the menu and it was the first dish: Foie Gras creme brulee with flying fish caviar and a side of frisee salad and white truffle vinaigrette. My favourite thing about creme brulee is that first, satisfying crack with my teaspoon. I was almost too distracted by the plating of this creme brulee to even think about that though. It was in an egg! It almost looked too delicate to eat.
I’m happy to report that the thin layer of caramelized sugar did crack when I dipped my spoon in. And the custard was thick, gooey and creamy. The Foie Gras was also rich and moist. This was decadence at a whole new level. What a way to start a meal!
Here’s my favourite part about the tasting: the wine pairings! Paired with this creme brulee was the Domaine de Chaberton Siegerrebe (2009, Fraser Valley, BC), a delicious white wine that was fruity, sweet with strong lychee notes. I loved it.
Next up was the black tea smoked duck breast salad with an arugula salad, lemon vinaigrette, onion jam and white wine soaked raisins and candied walnuts. The duck looked gorgeous when it came to the table, all glistening and pink, fanned out on the white plate.
The duck breast was incredibly moist and juicy with just the right amount of fat rimming the side.
I wasn’t crazy about the salad but only because I’m not keen on bursts of spiciness and the onion jam turned out to be a little bit spicy with every other bite. I liked the crunchy walnuts and the raisins though.
The wine served with this dish was definitely strong enough to stand up to the duck breast: Tinhorn Creek, Merlot (2008/09, Oliver BC). It sweet and nutty.
The next dish was my second favourite next to the creme brulee. Actually, the above picture is taken by Rick only because I was so excited about digging in that I forgot to snap a photo before I started eating. This dish was bacon wrapped semi de-boned Quail stuffed with marinated dried cranberries with a side of grilled vegetables. And you know how I feel about bacon. It would have been nice if the quail was fully de-boned though, there’s nothing more awkward than peeling meat off a little quail bird bone. Thankfully, I was too happy about the crispy bacon to care too much. The bacon also acted like a seal for the quail, trapping moisture and flavour in one tiny, tasty package. The inside of the little bird was also chock full of sweet and re-hydrated cranberries. It was like eating a mini Thanksgiving meal!
The quail meat was juicy and succulent. I wish there was more of it! The colourful veggies were also a great side, although there was a little bit too much pepper on the eggplant. The wine pairing was Kim Crawford Marlborough, Unoaked Pino Noir (2007/08 New Zealand). It was bold and spicy.
The spinach and cream cheese stuffed portobello mushroom cap was next with an aged balsamic reduction and spinach salad. Rick and I both dislike mushrooms but since there was so much creamy cheese jammed into this mushroom cap, we barely tasted any of the fungi flavours. All I tasted was salty and rich cream cheese with delectable seasonings and spinach and that deep sweetness from the balsamic reduction. I’m amazed at how much cream cheese can be piled into a mushroom cap. I also loved the crispy toasted topping, a great contrast to the soft mushroom and the creamy stuffing.
The spinach salad with strips of carrot was simple and classic, as French cooking should be.
The wine pairing was a fruity and playful Cotes Deu Provence, Rose Domaine Houchart from France. I was wondering when they would whip out the French wine! Saving the best for last, I suppose.
For dessert, a beautiful pavlova was served with strawberries and fresh hibiscus cream. Needless to say that the dessert looked stunning on the plate, the dramatic red strawberries against the angel white hibiscus cream and clouds of pavlova. What I love about pavlova is that it reminds me of my favourite part about macarons: the chewy centre. Cache Bistro’s pavlova was definitely the perfect crispiness on the outside and light and chewy on the inside. I thought the herbs on the dessert were a little heavy handed though, masking the more delicate flavours of the hibiscus cream and the fresh strawberries.
I’m excited for Cache Bistro’s Grand Opening on Thursday, April 26, 2012! Make sure you check them out and order that amazing Foie Gras creme brulee with flying fish caviar.