Updated 4 June 2009: closed (source from Urbanspoon)
It was Saturday night — one of those DOV nights that were unrushed, unlike some of the nights where we had to rush from work to dinners. It has unbelievably busy at work in that I hardly had time to to even have a proper lunch. So, I treasure my weekends a lot more these days.
We went to the Aurora Bistro located on Main Street in Vancouver. This was a last minute change of venue from an earlier booking for Pub fare. It’s surprising that we even got a table considering how absolutely packed the bistro is on a Saturday night with a DOV event on.
We were the first in and within just 20 minutes, all the tables were already taken up. They had a sign posted by the door that due to the demand during the DOV, there is a 2 hour limit for each table.
We had never been to Aurora before but had heard a lot about them. I had imagined that they would be rather big and posh. However, the place is long and narrow with just enough tables arranged in two rows.
I guess looks can be deceiving because for what it’s worth, the Aurora Bistro is actually a Gold Medal winner of the Vancouver Magazine’s Annual Restaurant Award. They won the 2007 Best Regional Restaurant of the Year for contemporary West Coast cuisine.
We started off with the Aurora Cocktail. It is a gin, Elephant Island apricot wine, and fresh lemon juice served up with a splash of BC bubble. It’s Aurora signature sparkling cocktail. They loaded up the gin quite a bit which got me quite tipsy for a while.
The appy was a great start with what called the Sloping Hill Pork Rilettes with quince mustard and cornichons. Rillettes are made by slow cooking pork in lots of fat until it’s very tender. It is then shredded and then mixed in enough of the cooking fat to form a paste. The pork was cold and had sourish pickles. The quinche mustard certainly went well with the thin crusty and crispy toast. More so, the pate like rilettes was dense.
The Smoked Sablefish Brandade Cake on the other hand was warm. It was served on top of tomato chutney and topped with daikon, frisee salad. Quite French and quite a good start.
Suanne had the Harissa Roasted Ling Cod which was served with warm puy lentil, carrot and parsley salad in preserved lemon vinaigrette.
There were lots of lentil beans. We had never had lentils like this before as we normally see them mashed. The ling cod was flaky and great but our gripe is that it is just one small miserable piece only. Given another choice we would have chosen the Half Cornish Game Hen which we saw our neighboring table had.
The Roasted Bison Eye of Round was served with celery root gratin in red wine blackberry jus. It was some of the best meat we had but again the serving is really small. There are only two small rounds, hardly enough to call it a meal. The gratin went superbly well with the red wine blackberry jus. Don’t get us wrong — the food was great but the quantity is lacking.
The Fig Sticky Toffee Pudding served with creme fraiche was hot and sweet. Creme fraiche is like sour cream but not as heavy or sour.
Then there was the Red Wine Poached Pear with dark chocolate pate. We were not really sure what pate really meant. We thought that pate meant something like liver and such but chocolate? Anyway, the chocolate pate was very much like softened dark chocolates and with some sprinkles of coarse salt — great idea as it gave a great contrast of bitterness, sweetness and saltiness.
In all, dessert was the best among all. The mains were disappointingly lacking on quantity but overall, the quality was apparent. This is a $35 menu and so the total bill for the two of us came up to $100. Nice meal, nice experience.
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pate means paste