Helen and I celebrated or 11th anniversary with dinner at the Chef's Table at Gastown's newest gastronomic hot spot Pourhouse. http://www.pourhousevancouver.com/ Our six course dinner took place in the kitchen, with it's heat, bursts of flame, the possibility of Chef Gordon Ramsay outbursts, the din of equipment, and the clatter and ting of plates and glassware, and watching the well honed brigade not only prepare our food but a full house of diners. Chef Chris Irving and Partner/Mixologist Jay Jones looked after us through our three and a half hours of cocktails, wine and food. Our amuse to start was a well constructed twist on the
classic Champagne cocktail. Mr. Jones' version was made from Moet et Chandon Brut, 5 year old Torres brandy, and peach bitters. 1st course was a selection of BC oysters (Kumamoto and Royal Miyage) with a red wine mignonette and fresh horseradish paired with a Last Word Cocktail (Tanqueray gin, Chartreuse, fresh lime, and Maraschino cherry liqueur). The sea saltiness of the oysters paired well with the herbal notes of the gin and Chartruese. 2nd course was a charcuterie/cheese plate from Fuel Restaurant's "The Cure" paired with the wonderful Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2007 from Martinborough in New Zealand. This Pinot had a lovely texture and classic Pinot Noir notes of rhubarb, red cherry, spice, subtle oak, and hints of autumnal wood smoke and mushroomy earthiness. 3rd course was a beautifully flavoured leek and potato soup with smoked cod flakes. Mr. Jones paired this lusciously flavoured soup with the Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2008 from Australia. This fuller bodied version of the regular Viognier was richly textured and complexly layered with notes of apricot, honeysuckle, Mandarin orange, white peach, and a hint of sweet spice. For a rest between dishes Jay prepared a 1917 Aviation Cocktail (Plymouth Gin, fresh lemon, creme de voilette, and Maraschino Cherry liquor) a nice refreshing cocktail. 4th course crispy boneless turkey wing with braised celery, chorizo and cornmeal cake - this was paired with Jay's creative take on a Bloody Mary a.k.a "Brave Bull" (Maker's Mark Bourbon, tomato juice, turkey jus reduction, spice and Maldon sea salt).
Our main 5th course was a traditional lobster roll with creamed corn and Saratoga chips. This rich course was balanced by a refreshing Pike IPA Beer Float wth apple juice, Aztec chocolate bitters and a Donnafugata Nero d'Avola float. Our final course, Maker's Mark Bananas Foster with house made vanilla ice cream and sweet dough cookie was made by Chef Irving with lots of heat and flame in the kitchen. We brought along from our cellar a bottle of Chateau Rayne Vigneaux Sauternes 1er Cru from our wedding year 1998 which Jay kindly opened. The Sauternes was medium-bodied and full of apricot, pineapple, honey, subtle botrytis, and decent sugar and acidity - not overly rich or sweet but no complaints on the wine - it travelled with us through three countries back in 2006. Although we have eaten at Pourhouse several times since it's opening - the experience of the Chef's Table is not to be missed. The table seats four comfortable or six cosily. Service by Jay and Chris was nothing short of stellar. Sitting at the chef's table is an insight into front and back of house operations and if you enjoy watching cooking shows this is the real thing. Pourhouse is a beautiful looking restaurant with an emphasis on American comfort food and I detect a slight English influence (no doubt from Chef Irving's UK kitchen stints). The room is a luscious blend of rich woods, re-claimed architectural and industrial elements, and art deco influences. Cocktails are classic or a twist on classics with a short "There's" and "Ours" list all served in the "proper" glassware. Wine list bridges the new and old world with just under ten wines by the glass. Jay's love of draught shows with some great beer from Pike and Brooklyn and other interesting local and imports for your session drinking at the wood.