Our anniversary is a once-a-year chance for me to pick a can’t miss Vancouver restaurant for us to try. The other days of the year we evenly rotate our business between only about six Chinese diner-type restaurants. Thus, this year, I picked Chambar Belgian Restaurant because it’s consistently one of those top-named restaurants that’s displayed staying power.
I’m not sure which restaurant has the most reviews on my preferred Vancouver restaurant review website, dinehere.ca, but I can tell you that I was giddy at the prospect of having 118 reviews to sift through to figure out Chambar’s best dish(es). I only made it through about 40 reviews before calling it a day… and they only dated as far back as last summer. This review only adds to the pile but – look-ee – I’ve got pictures!
I ordered the blue fig martini that I kept reading about; however, no one really describes its taste. I liked how it steeping roasted figs the harshness I think gin would normally be but without the sensation of drinking artificial syrup. I couldn’t figure out how the martini and accompanying blue cheese really complemented each other but I liked nibbling on the cheese throughout the night straight from the spoon provided :D NPY ordered Leffe, a blonde ale which the waiter told a neighbour table pairs very nicely with the moules frites prepared with white wine.
Hands down, people raved about moules frites – the quality, the portion size, the sauce. As a Maritimer, I’m prone to be skeptical. I can report that the moules frites were as special as advertised. The portion size was adequate – too much for just two of us! – and each mussel was similar to the last in being delicate, fresh, and luxuriously slippery. I’m glad we got the moules frites with the leeks and celery – however much I don’t like those particular vegetables, they were braised to softness in the white wine sauce and a great vegetable accompaniment to the mussels.
We had a view of Gate 2 of GM place which appeared to be just a city block away and I can see why people might report about wandering over after the game for a beer off their list of exclusively Belgian beers and have a pot or two of moules frites. It sounds like a brilliant pairing, especially on a night after the Canucks win.
We each also got a main dish. NPY got the much reported char and it turns out to be a very suitable diet dish: antipasto and 2 2×2 pieces of pan-fried char. That is, kind of bland. Re-reading the menu, perhaps he should have gotten the halibut. :-( My duck, on the other hand, was underreported or a new item on the menu. I’ll almost always order the duck and it was all sorts of flavourful with each of the three pieces sitting atop yummy and inventive vegetable sides.
We didn’t actually have room for dessert but it was a special occasion and the cafe belge dessert at the top of the dessert menu caught our eye. There was rich chocolate mousse! There was crispy caramelized sugar wafers! There was this weird jelly strip with crushed cocoa beans! But it was the espresso cheesecake that made the dish – I likened it to a solid form of a perfectly made cappuccino….
Yes, it’s very good when I still get a little dreamy over the food….