The name hails from the fact that the Hotel Vancouver was one of the railway hotels built by the Canadian Pacific railways. I normally enjoy a fab cocktail here (especially during happy hour!) but I’ve never had the chance to eat here yet.
I felt that Dine Out Vancouver, based on their menu was the perfect introduction to the cuisine offered at Notch8 for a great price point ($40 per person).
Their menu looks more like a storybook than it does a regular menu, with names such as “Foraging in the Woods” and “Forests and Pastures”, but I kind of like this – it’s fun.
For our appetizers, Brian and I ordered the Foraging in the Woods and Garden under the Sea.
Foraging in the Woods is venison and lingonberry tartare, quail yolk, sunchokes, pine nuts, forest mushrooms and spruce tip vinegar. The venison and yolk gave this dish a good weight to it. There were slightly sweet and earthy flavours that balanced it out nicely.
Garden under the Sea is marinated chargrilled octopus and BC shellfish, sea asparagus, kelp, smoked oyster horseradish cream, sake fermented radish and nori chips. This was definitely an interesting dish to enjoy. There were different textures – the nori chips gave the dish crunch, while the sea asparagus and kelp gave the overall dish a slight briny flavour. The octopus and shellfish were nice and tender and were elevated by the delicious smoked oyster horseradish cream which brought weight and rounded the dish out for me.
Our mains were Forest and Pastures and Rivers and Streams.
Brian had the Forest and Pastures made with porcini and scallion crusted Angus beef striploin sitting atop of local mushrooms, braised plums, shishitos, purple potatoes Pemmican “soil”, chestnut and drizzled in black garlic truffle jus. The striploin was perfectly roasted to a medium rare, it was tender and juicy. The sauce gave it a beautiful flavour without overpowering the meat itself and the soil and mushrooms really gave it that ‘earthy’ flavour in a complimentary way. The larger flavours were balanced out by the plums and purple potatoes sweetness.
I had the River and Steams, a Cedar smoked BC Coho salmon, candied salmon and mixed bean cassoulet. It’s served with Bottarga Chive Spaetzle, wild berries, pickled Maitake mushrooms with a sprinkle of smoked Ikura and charred shallots. The Coho was tender throughout. The candied salmon mixed with cassoulet and spaetzle brought weight to the dish. I normally am not a huge fan of mixed beans/cassoulet, but I really enjoyed every bite of my dish. The wild berries gave it a nice slightly sweet and tartness to the dish that helped balanced it out. I loved the addition of the Ikura to give it a briny flavour as well.
Finally, for dessert, we had the Maple Chocolate Cake served with warm caramel, Vancouver Island sea salt center with a crystallized maple snap and whiskey raisin ice cream. What can I say? I’m a big fan of chocolate and this delivered. The chocolate cake had a nice hint of maple that isn’t overwhelming and the caramel and sea salt just elevated this chocolate cake. The maple snap is a nice, crispy addition and whiskey raisin ice cream is an interesting boozy accompaniment.
For drinks we ordered the Pineapple Cucumber mocktail and a Mango Colada . My Pineapple Cucumber mocktail was fantastically balanced, not too sweet and not too ‘cucumbery’. It was a great alternative to the cocktails they normally serve at Notch 8.
Overall, I had a great time at Notch 8, the service was good and attentive and our food arrived very quick.
For more information on Notch 8 and their menus, check out their site here: http://www.notch8-dining.com/