[Vancouver] Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar – The Food Orgasm

11 07 2011

Summer School came and went in the blink in an eye and despite spending the most carefree days of my life here in Vancouver, I had been left high and dry in my pursuit for yumyums due to the packed schedule and inertia to travel too far off campus. And as a result of gastronomic imbalances, I found myself a victim of my cyclical PMS (Peter Mood Swings) towards the end of the month.

It starts at Phase 1: The Guilt Trip. That occurs after a flurry of heavy consumer spending, be it on food or shopping. One feels utterly guilty and decides to hold off the splurging temporarily, eating economic rice and at home, forefeiting restaurant meals.

In Phase 2: The Mount of Annoyance, one feels increasingly annoyed because of the absence of nice meals. Economic rice starts to get really monotonous.

This annoyance comes to a climax in Phase 3: Deprivation and Frustration. Some time has passed since the period of excessive spending and one is ready to go out for a posh meal. However, one finds it hard to do so given one’s (or one’s meal buddies) hectic schedules, leading to deprivation. Alternatively, some hyped up meals turned out disappointing, leading to frustration.

In Phase 4: The Food Orgasm, a meal finally hits the spot, but the hefty price tag brings you back to Phase 1: The Guilt Trip.

I haven’t really been having really great food during this Vancouver trip, so dinner here at Blue Water Cafe was definitely Phase 4 for me.

The PMS (Peter Mood Swings) Cycle

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar specializes in seafood, which is prepared in a “east meets west” fusion nature. The ambience is classy, though no compulsory dress-code is enforced.

To diversify their risks as first time diners here, R and Nana opted for the BC Tasting for 2, comprising tasting portions of 4 appetizers (Dungeness Crab Salad, Scallop Ceviche, Tuna Tatare, and Smoked Salmon Terrine) for 2 pax.

BC Tasting for 2 (C$37)

Cooked within White Asparagus Panna Cotta and topped off with Green Apple Foam, I found little symphony between the mild individual flavours.

Dungeness Crab Salad

Ceviches’ are what I consider to be Central America’s answer to Japanese sashimi. My 2nd favourite amongst the 4 BC Tasting appetizers.

Qualicum Bay Scallop Ceviche

Very similar to the Ahi Tuna I had at the now defunct Raw Kitchen Bar (which has now reopened under the new name “Kilo”), though I find the Albacore Tuna to be much fattier and hence tastier.

Albacore Tuna Tartare

The Smoked Salmon Terrine was served with “Golden Caviar marinated in Sake, Green Onion Creme Fraiche, Pumpernickle & Toasted Filberts”. I was amazed at how “chim” the description was when I read it myself. Pumpernickle is a type of rye bread, and filberts are a type of hazelnut. While this scores average on the taste-o-meter, it does look pretty, no?

Smoked Sockeye Salmon Terrine

Baked with Tomatoes, Olives, Capers and Thyme Lemon Butter, I took pleasure in every bite, wishing if only the scallops could be larger.

Gulf Island Swimming Scallops (C$15.50)

Since its a seafood restaurant, it isn’t surprising that the Kurobuta Pork Cheeks wasn’t up to standard. Cooked in a “Milanese style with Cauliflower Couscous, Golden Raisins, Hazelnuts and Brown Caper Butter”, most of us felt that that the pork cheeks were insufficiently marinated and hence bland. We were slightly appeased as the portion turned out fairly large for an appetizer portion though.

Kurobuta Pork Cheeks (C$16.50)

Noticing that every table had a bowl of sliced lemons, it became clear that one of Blue Water Cafe’s strengths lies in their Oyster Menu, which offers almost 20 different breeds of oysters, originating from British Columbia in Canada, Washington and the East Coast of the US.

Based on the waiter’s recommendations, we tried the Effingham Oysters which the white larger ones and the Kumamoto Oysters which are the dark small ones. R and Nana preferred the Effingham ones which started off with a strong saline taste, before giving way to a subtle sweet aftertaste. I preferred the Kumamoto ones because I’m a fan of distinctly sweet rather than salty oysters and these ones.

Effingham Oysters (C$2.75/piece) and Kumamoto Oysters (C$3.75/piece)

Served with Morel Mushrooms, Artichokes, Pearl Onions and a Madeira (a type of fortified sweet wine) reduction, I found the risotto to be excellent, with the sweet wine complementing the cheesiness well.

Pearl Barley Risotto with Okanagan Goat Cheese (C$24.50)

Given that the lobster was uber fresh and really sweet, this was probably the best lobster dish I have ever tried. A light dip into the cream base and taking a bite out of that crunchy pincer is simply orgasmic.

Poached Live Lobster (C$60)

I’m not really into Halibut because I find the meat too firm and chewy that reminds me of the fish served in airline meals. Still, the crisp pan fried exterior provided some consolation.

Day's Special: Halibut

My first time eating Arctic Char. I found the flesh rather lean and flaky, which is possibly best enjoyed with a light seasoning to appreciate its natural delicate taste. Although it has been touted as an alternative to Salmon, I still prefer the latter which possesses a richer taste and is fattier too.

Arctic Char (C$29.50)

During the past 2 months of traveling, I learnt that there are quite a few species of cod around the world. In Singapore, the “cod” that is usually served is actually Chilean Seabass. In Europe like London, Spain and Portugal, the “cod” used is usually Salt Cod aka Baccala (in Italian) or Bacalhau (in Portuguese). As for Black Cod, it is also known as Sablefish and it was what I had for my main. Glazed with Miso and Sake, this is the best Miso Cod I have eaten, where the flavourful miso had been infused well into the cod without being used over excessively.

West Coast Sablefish (C$36.50)

Although the mains were filling, going at how well the meal had progressed so far, we decided to order a side of Truffle Fries before moving on to dessert. Nothing much to comment about though, apart from the fact that truffle fries seem to taste the same everywhere and loses its novelty quickly. I started feeling kinda “gelat” after about 20 fries. So, this is best for sharing.

Truffle Parmesan Fries (C$9.50)

Finally, time for desserts!

While the desserts weren’t bad by a long short, it didn’t give me the same “oomph” factor that I got while eating the sablefish or lobster mains.

Mandarin Cheesecake (C$12.50) & Warm Dark Chocolate (C$11)

Warm Dark Chocolate (C$12.50), Lemon Tart (C$11.50) & Raspberry Creme Brulee (C$11.50)

Complimentary cakes given to us after we finished our desserts 😀

Truly impressive world-class fare!

But after blowing C$100 on this well deserved meal, it’s time to move back to Phase 1: The Guilt Trip again.

Bon Appetit!

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

1095 Hamilton St., Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 5T4, Canada

Tel: 604 688 8078

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