I must confess, as soon as my body felt better and I got an OK from my home doctor (aka Mama Lam), I got out the door right away and went for my first Dine Out dinner this year. While I was sick I missed a few DOV dinners so I have to make up for it. First up, a girls’ date with CC and LW at Catch 122 on Hastings across from the Woodward Building.
Because I can’t drink just yet, I ordered myself a mocktail, the Gastown Riot. It’s refreshing, with subtle flavours from raspberries and basil. I liked that it used actual raspberries puree, although it also means that you’d be chewing some raspberry seeds while drinking. For some reason it tasted gingery so I’m not sure if it’s mixed with a bit of LW’s ginger beer.
For appetizer, I chose the Cold Smoked Salmon and in my head I was picturing something similar to what I had at Mosaic. Not even close. In fact, it looked nothing like smoked salmon – it looked and tasted like seared salmon filet (it’s served warm). That being said, the salmon was well seasoned, nicely cooked to about medium so it’s moist and a little bit pink inside. It paired quite well with the dill sauce. I didn’t really care for the fingerling potato or leek ralish. I thought the potato was a bit too much for an appy course; would rather have a small salad to go with the fish.
LW had the Smoked Beef Brisket and she said it was good with a little bit of fatty bits at the bottom. She also liked the potato chips. I’m off beef temporarily so I didn’t try it.
Cassoulet was my entree, but don’t be fooled by the name. It included a block of crispy pork belly, which was tender and the fatty part just melted in your mouth. Felt guilty eating it. The skin didn’t crisp up all the way so it was a bit chewy at certain bites. The confit tomato was fun to eat, roasted to nice and soft and each cherry tomato just popped in your mouth. I thought the texture of the duck breast sausage was a bit too mushy for my liking.
I tried a bit of LW’s Arctic Char and it was delicious. Meat was moist and well seasoned, and I liked that the skin was crispy. LW said the smoked mussels were a bit too salty for her liking. There was also an abundance of green peas on the plate.
For dessert, I ordered the Lavender Panna Cotta. Lavender is such a difficult flavour to infuse, but to my surprise, it was full of lavender flavour. It’s so prominent that I wonder if they used lavender flavouring, the soapy flavour that is not appreciated by some chefs. The panna cotta itself was creamy and was of decent portion. Because it’s cultured cream it had a bit of tang in it, almost lemony. I thought the aerated candy sponge gave it a bouncy, crunchy texture, along with the biscotti.
The hazelnut whiskey ice cream in LW’s Chewy Caramel dessert was rich and creamy and went well with the chocolate brownie. The caramel was indeed chewy and apparently you had to work your jaw for it.
I noticed a bit of inconsistency in portioning, as some customers had a relatively bigger pork belly than mine and CC’s, and my salmon filet was noticeably smaller than CC’s.
On the other hand, I thought our server was nice and friendly. LW actually didn’t initially order the combination of beef brisket and arctic char. She ordered the wild boar terrine and braised beef cheeks. Unfortunately, they made a mistake in the order so when the appy was served she got the beef brisket, and she went for it without noticing the error. We did notify the server and he gladly offered to grab her a plate of wild boar terrine. Even though LW declined the offer, she did appreciate the gesture. And to avoid having two beef dishes, LW also had to switch her entree order to arctic char, a last minute change that the server was able to accommodate.
The restaurant wasn’t super busy when we finished our meal, so the server didn’t rush us to get the bill and suggested that we could just hang out for a bit for more girls’ time together.
Flavour wise I was quite happy with all the dishes, despite some on the rather ordinary side. The portion wasn’t very big, but enough to be filling. Going for the rustic feel, there was no fancy plating but I thought it’s acceptable. I think Catch 122 is worth another try for its regular brunch or dinner menu.
Catch 122 Cafe Bistro
122 West Hastings Street, Vancouver