Often I get asked about what a true Vancouver dining experience is – it’s hard to pinpoint mostly because we are such a melting pot of different culinary experiences. However, if I were to define Vancouver dining, it would be our love for using everything that grows in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Wildebeest incorporates locally sourced items in it’s farm-to-table concept.
Wildebeest’s Executive Chef Ian McHale incorporates local ingredients thoughtfully in all the menu items – including the new, limited time menu Field & Forest Festival. This menu runs from today, June 3rd until June 17th.
We were invited to a preview of the menu items last week and here are our thoughts:
We started off the evening with the How to Dougie cocktail ($15) – created with Douglas Fir-infused Resurrection Spirits White Rye, dry Vermouth, foraged flowering currant cordial, maraschino liquor and herbal bitters. I liked the cocktail as it was sweet but with a good balance of herbal notes. The smell of the cocktail reminded me of Christmas.
Our first dish was the Foxglove Farm Asparagus ($13) made with licorice fern, buttermilk, wood sorrel, strawberries and mustard seed. I’m normally not a fan of asparagus, but I loved every bite of this dish – it had a nice warm flavour throughout with a slight bit of sweetness from the berries.
Next up was the Smoked Yarrow Meadows Duck ($18), served with trailing blackberry, Buffalo blue and wild herbs. Not only is this a beautiful dish to stare at, I wish it never ended. Each slice of duck was tender, not too salty and had a great smoky flavour while not too gamey. The usually intense flavour of duck was balanced beautifully with the sweet, slightly tart blackberry and sharp blue cheese.
This dish was paired with the Bartier Bros. Cerqueira Vineyard Merlot ($13) – it’s a stronger, smokier merlot that compliments the duck quite well.
Our first main dish was the Rabbit Rigatoni ($28). The rigatoni is made in house and the rabbit is tender and has a nice, slightly smokey flavour to it. It came out piping hot and the aroma of the dish is captivating. The lovage and elderflower components give this dish an interesting twist to the taste – as the aroma made me think that it would taste differently! This is an easy dish to devour.
The Rigatoni was paired with Reyneke Biodynamic Chenin Blanc 2016 ($15) – it was such a lovely white, I will definitely have to pick up a bottle for when I make pasta at home.
One of my favourite dishes of the evening came in the form of their Peace Country Lamb Shank ($39). The lamb was very tender and fell off the bone easily. The flavour of the meat was not too gamey and had spice, herbal and slightly sweetness to it. I have to say that the morels stole the show, especially since it was stuffed in foie gras. I never knew heaven until I bit into a morel mushroom stuffed in foie gras. Yum!
The dish was paired with TH Cabernet Franc 2017 Okanagan Valley, BC ($17) – another well thought out pairing.
Finally, we finished our dinner with some dessert – Grand Fir ($11). Made with malted custard, cannoli pastry and paired with Grand Fir ice cream. The first thing that came to mind was that this dessert reminded me of Christmas – the smell of the fir and the flavouring throughout. I liked the subtlety of the taste and the light, crispiness of the cannoli.
This was paired with the Chateau d’Aydie Doux Petit Manseng 2016 ($10) – easily one of my favourites of the evening.
We are so incredibly lucky to have beautiful herbs, produce and meats available to us here – this is the perfect way to enjoy these local flavours. I’d definitely recommend you check it out – I’m going to have to come back in the next week or two to introduce my husband to some of these dishes!
For more information on the menu and details on how to make a reservation, check out their website here: https://wildebeest.ca/field-forest