This past weekend, I was invited by Chef Thomas Heinrich from the Hyatt Downtown to try his latest Chef’s Tasting Menu that is available until June 28th. It’s a five course meal that’s $45 per person. I honestly love the creativity that goes into every dish he makes and that he is so approachable to everyone that has rolled through Mosaic and Grain. Making food into art is definitely a talent and an inspiration for when I make my own feeble attempt to cook at home.
For this blogger dinner, I dined with Sean (Sean’s Adventures in FlavourTown), Melissa (Eyes Bigger than My Stomach), Adrian and Jeremy (FoodGays), Dennis and May (Pangcouver) and Caroline (Food Persuasion).
Our first dish was something Chef Thomas created on a whim which turned out to be quite delicious and one of my favourite dishes of the evening. It’s an Avocado Mousse and Crab Cannelloni made with jalapeño, sprinkled with smoked paprika and a citrus dressing. I love the complementary flavours between the mousse and cannelloni. The mousse is savoury, whereas the crab cannelloni had a bit of a bite from the citrus flavours. I hope Chef will think of keeping this on, it’s a great dish.
Our second dish is Smoked Salmon brined for 7 hours in smoked paprika, cucumber jelly, a sour cream ribbon with caviar and fried leeks on top and served with freshly pressed olive oil from early harvest olives. Another visually stunning dish by Chef Thomas. I appreciate the different way of serving both the sour cream and cucumber. The sour cream ribbon has a muted taste to it (as does the cucumber) as the salmon and caviar with the fried leeks give a stronger flavour. The salmon is meaty and lovely. I know Chef is still playing around with this, so I can’t wait to see the end result.
Now onto to the real five course tasting menu. We started off with a Roasted Sweet Corn Bouillon, served with tomato, chanterelles and feta foam. This dish is plated dry and then the bouillon is added before you.
Chef Thomas mentioned that the further into summer we get, the sweeter the corn will become bringing a sweeter flavour. The soup was one of my other favourites from the menu, but I am a big fan of chanterelles, corn and tomatoes, so my opinion is a bit on the biased side for this dish! I liked that the feta was served as a foam, as it continued to melt throughout my soup and made my last impressions to be creamier than my first couple of sips.
Next up was the G.B.E Heirloom Tomato Salad. It is served with basil gel, pickle okra and aged parmesan. The tomatoes are prepared differently – the most delicious part of this dish was the crispy tomato skins that was crisped up in a microwave! I’m going to have to try this out one day at home, hopefully I don’t set anything on fire in the process. I liked that this dish is served before the heavier dishes as it served to clean the palate with the clean tastes of the tomato and basil. I’m not a big fan of okra – because my dad prepares them in a way where I can’t enjoy them. But I actually enjoyed them here, they weren’t so strong in flavour. Just crispy. The parmesan slivers gave the tomato a bit of a kick that complimented the dish well.
The main attraction was the Skuna Bay Sockeye Salmon. The salmon is seared on both sides and served with a sorrel puree. There is sweet garlic gnocchi, garlic confit and spinach leaves that are crisped up in the microwave as well. Again, the salmon is meaty in the centre. It isn’t overly flavoured as the sweet garlic gnocchi is the pop of flavour in this dish. Being a garlic fan, I really enjoyed the gnocchi in this dish.
Our next dish is the Taleggio D.O.P Italy. Chef Thomas warned us that this is quite possibly the most pungent cheese there is in the world. However the flavour is quite mild. It probably gets a bad rep much like durian. Perhaps the reason why I enjoyed this dish so much was that he mixed the Italian Taleggio cheese with parfait style granola, pistachio tuile and pair it with fig jam. Honestly, this was quite good. I am learning more and more about cheese and I’ll have to say that if Taleggio was served this way constantly, I wouldn’t object to eating it on a regular basis.
Finally, the most “Wow!” inducing dish of the evening – the Watermelon dessert. First off, this dish defies some laws of physics (well, I’m assuming it does, I’ve never taken a physics course). Secondly, this dish is as deliciously tasty as it is visually tasty. The watermelon panna cotta is served with a dollop of lemon sorbetto and dark chocolate curls. I would have never thought to pair watermelon with lemon, but the subtlety in the lemon sorbetto compliments the watermelon. This delicious dessert is refreshing and makes quite the photograph!
As a parting gift, we were given some truffles, salted caramels covered in chocolate (my favourite part!) and macarons.
I had a wonderful time catching up with fellow foodies and eating very well at Mosaic. Chef Thomas definitely has a passion for making food not only aesthetically pleasing, but delicious in an unpretentious way. I’d like to thank him and the staff for their ongoing hospitality.
Check out this Chef’s Tasting Menu until June 28th – but even if you miss it, you should check out Mosaic and Grain anyway, as all the creations from Chef Thomas are fantastic.