Another year, another Dine Out Vancouver! This year I’ve decided to stay with the $28-$38 range of restaurants as I think those give you the best value for your money. The first one for me this year is Shaughnessy Restaurant located at the Van Dusen Gardens. I’m all for exotic game meats, so when I read that Shaugnessy Restaurant has elk and monkfish on their menu….BOOM! Done!
The lobby area of the restaurant is quite large, the dining area itself seemed smaller. Probably because a lot of people rent out this restaurant for weddings and such.
Bread basket arrived with two pieces of warm, fresh crispy rolls. They were light and crispy on the outside (not tough and chewy) and warm, fluffy and soft inside. They were perfect.
Buddy and I both decided on the Crispy Pork Belly to start. It came on a bed of arugula and blue cheese, hazelnuts, and julienned apples. Accompanying it were two light pieces of deep-fried pork rind (heaven!!).
The belly was moist and tender as expected. The apple cider and oil vinaigrette really cut through the fattiness perfectly. Toasted hazelnuts were very aromatic. A good start indeed.
I was torn between either the Slow Cooked Rangeland Elk Osso Buco or the Pan Roasted Monkfish. But I digressed and let Buddy take the elk since it should be more filling for him. The meat came with sundried blueberry jus, leek confit with green lentils, apple cider & ginger braised purple cabbage.
The dish actually came quite lukewarm, more to the “luke” side. That’s a problem I’ve been noticing at a few restaurants nowadays, that the food doesn’t arrive hot. This being a braised osso buco, I expected it to be quite piping.
Anyways, putting that aside, the meat itself was tender enough to be fall-off-the-bone. But it was a bit drier and tougher than your usual osso bucos of lamb or beef. It was also distinctly gamier. All in all, not bad. Would definitely rate higher in my books if it was hot.
As for my Pan Roasted Monkfish, with sweet potato & yam mash, sauteed Asian vegetables, lime, ginger & mild wasabi sauce, the fish actualy came steaming hot, and stayed hot during the course of the meal. The white fish was moist and had an ‘elastic’ bite to it and was super enjoyable. I love white fish. If only the piece was bigger =)
Fortunately the wasabi sauce was indeed mild and didn’t kick me in the mouth. It went very well with the sauteed Asian vegetables. The mash was creamy and smooth.
For dessert, I decided on the Apple Biegnets. I thought they were donuts. Turns out they’re apple slices battered and deep-fried, dusted with cinnamon sugar (way too much) and with a honey and orange whipped mascarpone smear.
There was too much batter, and perhaps the oil wasn’t hot enough because these were quite oily, almost soaking inside. I can’t say I really enjoyed these all that much. and seeing how dark the beignets were, I don’t think they used fresh oil either. Tasted that way too.
Buddy’s Pistachio & Lemon Goat Cheese Filo Parcel with ouzo ice cream was much better. It tasted like a refreshing baklava. However when the filling oozed out it was quite unappealing as it was a greyish color. Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored liquor that tasted like licorice. It was a nice touch.
It was a nice dinner but I wouldn’t say it was best tasting meal I’ve had. I think this will be my only visit to Shaughnessy Restaurant =(