This year, participating restaurants of Taste of Yaletown (TOY) were encouraged to put on their own special events to help make this year’s TOY more interesting and diverse. The Parlour organized a free public menu tasting last week that featured an array of their existing menu options, as well as some new menu items, and items that are in development, to collect feedback. This was open to the public, and was free to attend.
We started with a couple of new cocktails that will be on the menu soon, High Tea (first photo below) and Rye Grin. With breakfast tea infused gin, High Tea had a subtle tea flavour; it was a bit sweet yet refreshing, and it can almost be a summer cocktail. Rye Grin, on the other hand, reminded you of fall. It was strong and warmed you right up. The ladies around the table all seemed to prefer the High Tea.
Then, we tried a few share plates that were already on the menu:
Ahi Lettuce Wrap – Tuna, Avocado, Citrus Ginger Soy, Mint, Spicy Ponzu Aioli, Crispy Shallots. It had a good combination of texture with the silky Ahi tuna and crunchy lettuce and crispy shallots. This batch of dressing was a bit too acidic but overall it’s a refreshing starter.
Salmon Tartare – Steelhead, Seaweed, Bonito, Sesame Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Ponzu Aioli, Micro Cilantro. Asian inspired flavours are used in this salmon tartare. The dressing can use a bit of heat, but I thought it was a generous portion of tartare.
Stacked Short Ribs – Hoisin and Tamarind Marinated, Granny Smith Apple and Jicama Slaw. The short ribs were a bit too thin for my liking, but I liked the Asian flavours in the marinate — it was finger-licking kind of delicious.
Next, we were introduced to their new Sandwich – Prosciutto, Arugula, Burrata cheese, Roasted Pepper. It uses pizza dough as bun! It had just the right chewy texture without breaking your teeth. I liked the soft Burrata cheese, along with the salty prosciutto plus peppery arugula it was a great combination for sandwich filling.
Lastly, there were two types of pizza to try. Gluten-Free Greek Pizza (first photo below) used dough made of tapioca flour and rice flour. The texture was a bit loose, naturally, because it’s missing the gluten to bind it together. I did like the toppings with fresh tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese. The Yaletown Pizza is already on their menu; the use of Ahi Tuna on pizza was interesting, but it turned out to be quite creamy with the avocado and spicy aioli.
I thought it was a great idea for The Parlour to host menu tasting events like this to engage their customers and collect feedback. It will help them fine-tune the flavours and focus their menu on items that the customers like and enjoy. Overall, I was quite happy with the quality of food, and I could sense their passion about putting out tasty, well thought-out dishes for their customers. And the prices are quite reasonable, especially for a Yaletown eatery. I would go back and try more of its menu items in the future.
1011 Hamilton Street, Vancouver