Dine Out Vancouver 2008 - FigMint Restaurant & Lounge
OK, so I lied in my last Dine Out Review. My Port Moody Boathouse Review will not be my only Dine Out Vancouver 2008 review after all 😉
It was kind of funny how this review came about. MONSTER Cable came to town today and invited me to check out some of their new products for 2008. They wanted me down in Vancouver at 8 AM. Hmm... I only get up at or around 8 AM because I have to...go...like...go to the can (and then I go back to bed)...so I'd need to be up and gone by 7:00 AM just to make sure I would make it in time. Umm.... I think I'll pass. My "People" promptly called me back to tell me that they really want me there and offered to put me up at the same Hotel that MONSTER was holding the event at. Since I'd be downtown, the day before, for my photography class and my second meeting with the Lab With Leo Crew, I thought...what the heck! Hook me up! Coincidentally, the hotel that they put me up at, The 500 Plaza Hotel on the corner of Cambie and 16th in Vancouver, is attached to FigMint Restaurant & Lounge so I took this golden opportunity to get in one last Dine Out Vancouver experience.
I really didn't leave much time for a dine out experience. It was 5:30'ish by the time I was checked in and my class was at 7:00 PM. Since I wouldn't be able to eat till 10:00 PM if I didn't eat now, I took the plunge, hoody, camera bag and all. However, I must say that I was very pleased with the fact that I was treated with great warmth and courtesy despite my scruffy appearance. When I mentioned my time constraint, they said no problem, quickly seated me and told me that as long as I ate fast, they'd have me out of there in 45 minutes. They got me a selection of bread to nibble on right away and explained the menu choices for the Dine Out Menu to me. I was pleased to see that the menu had genuine selections that did not require any cheesy upsells like they tried to pull at C Restaurant last year. After a couple minutes, my waitress returned to take my order and I was off to the races.
My first course was the Prawn Bisque with Crème Fraiche and Crisp Prawn. The most unique aspect of the dish was the way in which it was served. The dish was brought out with the soup seperate from the crisp prawn, crème fraiche, and the garnish. I assume that this was done to preserve the crispness of the prawn. After the dish was placed in front of me, the bisque was poured slowly and evenly into the bowl as my server explained to me the highlights of the dish to get me mentally prepared to dive in. I really enjoyed how the crisp prawn mated nicely with the smooth creamy texture of the bisque and the crème fraiche.
For my main course, I chose the Pan Seared Arctic Char with Butternut Squash and Amaretti Ravioli and Almond Smoked Buttered Green Beans. What I loved about this dish was the crispness of the Arctic Char skin. I'm not normally a fish skin lover, but it was really crisp and tasty. The most surprising thing I found out about this dish was how well the amaretti ravioli went with the arctic char. The filling had an almost citrus-like pop that really complimented the flavour and texture of the fish. All the flavours really worked well together and I was quite pleased with this dish.
Finally, for dessert, I chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Walnut Tuile and Vanilla Ice Cream. This is a truly decadent dish. The sticky toffee pudding mixed with the caramel sauce is so sticky and sweet that it was almost too much to bear. However, the trick to eating this dish is to eat each bite with just a bit of the vanilla ice cream. The ice cream takes that too sticky sweet taste down and really smooths it out. The walnut tuile ads a bit of crunch to each bite. I do recommend eating the mint leaf as it really accents all the flavours and further binds them together.
Despite my truncated timetable, I really enjoyed my meal. The server took the time to explain each course as they were serving it to mentally prepare me for the experience and the service througout the evening was exceptional, even though I was dressed a bit like a bumb. They kept their promise of getting me out of there in 45 minutes, but despite my 45 minute limit, I never felt like I was rushed through the meal. I was also pleased with how my pictures turned out despite the low lighting in the dining room. Exposure compensation is definitely your friend when you want to take better pictures without a flash though I have to admit that having my Nikon D80 and a 35mm f/2.0 lens helped too. Unlike a point and shoot, I was able to really exploit the aperture and the higher ISO's along with a bit of exposure compensation to get the pictures to turn out more naturally in challenging lighting situations.
Michael Kwan also checked out FigMint during the Dine Out Vancouver 2008 promotion so do check out his review as well.