Ever since Irish Heather created the Long Table Series, I’ve had my eyes set on it. I was intrigued by the idea, and its menus, especially the Roast Suckling Pig dinner which proved to be the most popular one. After all the summer vacations taken place, I finally was able to gather my coworkers and plan a “pig’s night out”.
The concept is simple. Four days a week the restaurant sets up a 40ft communal table and seats 48 customers. Each customer gets an entree and a drink at a low price. For this evening, each one of us received a serving of the Roast Suckling Pig with a pint of Orchard Hill Cider for $15. We all got the same thing. Straightforward. Hassle-free. Perfect for the indecisive me who can’t seem to decide what to order from a menu that has more than 1 item.
Prior to dinner, we were led to the Whiskey Room aka the waiting room. In there we could order some appy and drinks to start the evening. I opted out of it because I arrived only minutes before we were seated at the table.
And the verdict on the food? Let’s first hear what my guests have to say:
BF: “Great food with even better company. Best ‘Pigging out’ experience in a very long time”
CP: “The atmosphere was a lot of fun. Great value for a fabulous dinner and drink! Looking forward to going back again.”
LH: “The atmosphere and libations were conducive to rousing conversations, the food was abundant and tastier than anything I’ve had in a long time and service was prompt and friendly – when can we book again!!”
My take? It’s just like how I imagined. The meat was tender, and it’s flavourful. I love the fact that the chef deboned the pig before roasting it so it’s easy to eat. It’s a generous portion of meat, too. Apple sauce often goes well with pork and it’s no exception in this case. On the other hand, I wish they would add an extra layer of flavour through the braised cabbage. Now the overall flavour profile is a bit on the boring side. And because the pig was rolled up for roasting, not all skin was exposed to the flame so we didn’t have cracklings all throughout the piece of meat.
Afterwards, we were given the option of ordering a dessert for $7. Between the creme brulee and plum mousse, I chose the London Fog Creme Brulee. It’s quite smooth and creamy and I could taste the earl grey tea and vanilla in the custard. I quite enjoyed it.
As a customer, I want consistent service from restaurants, showing me that they care for my business no matter how big or how small my bill is. In this case, Irish Heather for sure has customers’ dining experience on their mind. It offers us a great meal at a decent price, and it provides a bit of a food lesson by inviting Chef Lee and a representative from Orchard Hill to explain the two components of the meal. Then, dinner was served. In unison, servers came around the table and gave us each a pint of cider and a plate of roast pig. Quick service, and everyone just dug in.
The unexpected took place when one of my guests asked for a pig’s ear, snout, foot or any part of a pig that was not served at dinner. Being a good sport, the server came back with a Pig’s Foot, which definitely gave us all a good laugh.
Having walked through most part of the restaurant, I think the Heather is the place to be for a relaxing dinner with friends or colleagues. Or simply for a few drinks after work. It’s located in Gastown, which is convenient for those who work in downtown. It stands out from the rest of the neighbourhood and it catches your attention when you walk by this well-lit gastro-pub.
If it wasn’t a Wednesday evening and that we all had to work the next morning, we definitely could have hanged out for much longer. The Long Table Series is a brilliant idea and the restaurant is a great venue for gatherings with friends and colleagues. I’d definitely go back for more.
The Irish Heather
210 Carrall Street, Vancouver