For a girls’ night out, we revisited Sol Sun Belt on the West End. Since attending its grand opening party, I’ve been back a couple of times but never had a chance to write about them. I think it deserves another post.
With a focus on Mediterranean/Moroccan/French cuisine, its menu is surprisingly small — which I think is a good thing since I always believe that smaller menu means more attention to each dish. Between the three of us, we shared two small plates and two entrees. But before we got to the dishes, I must tell you about their Moroccan Fried Bread. Fell in love with the version I tried at the grand opening, then every time I went back I looked for it on the menu. Gosh this time around they actually took it off the menu!! Thankfully, our server was able to put through an order of it to satisfy my craving. It was nice and puffy, similar to a donut but denser and savoury. I really like the seasoning and herbs sprinkled on top. I hope they will keep it on the menu because I will keep on asking for it!
All other dishes basically arrived at the same time for sharing. First, the Grilled Squid Steak was cooked decently, tender, with a nice chew yet not rubbery. I did like the thick cut of the squid steak, which was different from most other squid preparation. The citrus vinaigrette and olive oil drizzle made a refreshing dressing. It feels like this could pass as a summer, salad item as well.
The Pan Seared Prawns & Scallops was good, nicely seasoned. The prawns tasted fresh, crunchy, and scallops were cooked just right. The highlight for us was the crispy pork belly (not bacon) and truffle sunchoke puree, which added extra layers of saltiness and fragrance to the otherwise standard affair.
The Grilled Mackerel was a generous portion. The mackerel was flaky, not overly salty, but I wish the skin was crispy. Instead, the potato latkes became the crunchy element, which paired well with the pepper-based romesco sauce.
Last but not least, the Lamb Cheek Tagine was the evening’s special, and it was no doubt our favourite dish of the evening. The meat was oh so tender! So soft that it just melted in your mouth! The use of dried apricot and raisins added some sweetness to it; to some it may be too sweet for a savoury dish but I thought it was just right. The only down side was that the sauce got all dried up in the hot tagine pot and what was left was oil — we couldn’t really dip our pita bread in it.
We also discovered that they made their Ginger Ale in-house, so we had to give it a try. It was a bit of a letdown. They added too much soda water so it’s really bland, and I couldn’t really taste the fresh, kind of spicy gingery flavour that most fresh ginger ale would have.
Of the couple times that we were there, the food was really good and was priced reasonably. And it has a nice view of the harbour. Being tucked away on the north end of Denman Street (and north of Georgia Street) is a drawback for them, which could explain why previous businesses haven’t been successful at that location. If you haven’t been there, now you’ve heard about it and know where it is. So go visit them and try their food. You won’t be disappointed.
Sol Sun Belt Cookery
100 – 550 Denman Street, Vancouver