Restaurants seem to come and go as quickly as the seasons do, but now and then you go to one that you know has longevity and will be a repeat offender to your eating endeavors. New openings can fall flat, even with big names behind them and a fantastic PR team, but it’s really the food, service and atmosphere that will engage peoples taste-buds (and their wallets) to keep them coming back.
Edible Canada started off as a shop in Granville Island that sold yummy things from British Columbia and was always a treat to visit. When you look at the products we can acquire in our own province, it makes perfect sense to have a store that sells just that. They also organize gourmet kayaking trips, tasting tours and dinners with some of Vancouver’s finest chefs. As if that wasn’t enough for them, they have branched outside of the market (though they remain right beside the Public Market) and have set up shop in a much bigger space. Why the larger space? Well, they have created a truly local edible experience, served in their new bistro. It’s hard to miss when you’re walking into the Pubic Market; the large patio is a magnetic force to reckon with on a hot summer day. Not only do they serve breakfast, brunch (on weekends), lunch and dinner, but they also have a to-go window where you can grab a coffee or some tasty treats to take with you as you explore Granville Island.
On a warm Thursday evening, we decided to check out Edible Canada and we were quickly seated inside the bistro. The place was buzzing with happy diners, which made us that much more excited to sink our teeth into the menu. This full service restaurant has their focus on BC and Canadian food and beverages and it makes sense, considering its proximity to the market. The menu was overwhelmingly good just to look at, so much so that it was difficult to choose what to order. Fortunately, most of my friends like to share, which made ordering our starters slightly less painstaking.
The Fried Fraser Valley Chicken and Crispy Duck Terrine ($12.50) caught our eye. Is it a terrine? Is it deep fried glorious meat? Well, it’s a bit of both. The tender shredded duck and pulled chicken have been pressed into somewhat of a terrine and then deep fried and served on top of what felt like a bit of a slaw like salad, sans mayo, with the addition of Oddball Organics garlic hot sauce.
I’ve been thinking about the Seafood Soup from the moment I read the menu, prior to going in and it was silky smooth, full of flavor and held capture a hearty piece of buttery, white fish, a few spot prawns, a mussel and clam. We ordered the small size and it was a generous portion, complete with quality ingredients for $7.00. The fish is seasonal and will change accordingly. The rich coconut broth, mixed with the fresh seafood was a bowl of comfort that had a bit of heat and hit all the right senses.
We let our lovely server, Maya, pick the white to go with our starter and we both enjoyed a BC Riesling (The name escapes me. Faux pas!) that was full of crisp honey notes that cut our rich starters.
Generally, I’m not a fan of pasta and prefer to take the fish and vegetable route, but the Peace Country Braised Lamb Pasta caught my eye. The lamb was exquisite and there were hearty, yet delicate, pieces of braised, very tender lamb floating throughout the al-dente Pappardelle. The lamb and pasta danced in a brown butter sauce, mushrooms,
fava beans, arugula and I think a few fresh chickpeas were also making an appearance that night.
The vibrant favas, garbanzos and beautiful micro-greens that graced this dish come from Mikuni Wild Harvest. They source some of the most precious mushrooms, wild produce and all-around stellar products and supply only the best of the best with their goods. In fact, ensemble restaurant is featuring their wild BC Morel mushrooms this month. They’re only in season for a few months of the year and are so worth enjoying.
While I chose the pasta, my lovely friend went for the Pemberton Meadows Steak Frites, mainly for the duck fat frites. If you haven’t ever tried potatoes fried in duck fat, your heart and cholesterol may be happy, but you’re missing out on a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence. The French love to cook their frites this way and you can actually buy duck fat inside the market to make your own at home if you can’t get back to Edible Canada when the craving strikes. The steak was served with a Poplar Grove Tiger Blue butter, bacon mayo (yes….), grilled asparagus (you need your veggies!) and a homemade tomato dipping sauce for your frites. Please let the picture speak for itself and if it tries to be modest with you, don’t let it be coy. It was beautiful.
If you’re looking to savor the best of British Columbia’s and Canada’s produce, Edible Canada should be on your radar. The no-frills, yet cool atmosphere, create the perfect unadorned canvas to serve some of Vancouver’s best dishes and most fabulous service. Also, the store is still around and at the back of the restaurant and there are some great products to take home with you.