We were invited to go on a tour to check out the various Donnelly Group properties and their Dine Out Vancouver menu. Executive Chef Alvin Pillay has recently returned to the company group, and he’s quite proud of the menus that he’s put together. Ten of the Donnelly Group properties are offering similar items. Specifically, there are 6 core items that can be found at all these locations, which we tried on this tour, along with their respective beverage pairing. Each Donnelly Group location also offers an additional entree option on their Dine Out menu.
Our first stop was at The New Oxford, where we tried the two appetizers.
The Curried Parsnip Soup could definitely warm you up on a chilly winter day. The curry spices really came through; I could taste a lot of ginger. Soup was creamy, and the roasted apple offered some texture in contrast. Suggested wine pairing is the Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris. The apple note in the white wine was a great match with the soup.
The Winter Salad sounded and seemed simple, but there’s an interesting depth to it. The buttermilk sumac dressing brought tartness and spice, black sesame added some nutty flavours, and the Moroccan pita bread gave it some crunch. The 50th Parallel Riesling isn’t as sweet as a typical Riesling, which worked well with this light salad.
Next, on a trolley, we were taken to The Blackbird Public House, right upstairs from Royal Dinette.
The first of the two core entrees was the Bangers & Mash.
What surprised me the most was the blue cheese mash. I don’t like blue cheese at all because of its funky, pungent taste & smell. I could still taste hints of blue cheese in the mashed potatoes but it wasn’t too overpowering. In fact, I thought this mild blue cheese flavour has made the ordinary mash more interesting. You see only one sausage here in my picture, but in the Dine Out entree you will receive two sausages. Merlot is usually suggested for dishes with rich sauces, and the Tinhorn Creek Merlot did just that, cutting through the rich bacon onion gravy. It’s not super full body, and relatively softer on the tannins.
The Mac & Cheese would be your vegetarian entree option. I liked the choice of cavatappi pasta, which helped soak up the sauce. The garlic gremolata was a great addition, giving it some crunchy texture. I would’ve liked some meat to go with this; luckily it seems like you can pay an extra $2 for some double smoked bacon. It was served on a hot cast iron skillet, and the actual Dine Out entree would come with a side salad as well. The mac & cheese is paired with Road 13’s Honest John’s Red. It’s an easy drinking red wine; I could taste the blueberry note. My favourite wine of the evening.
At Blackbird, not only did we we sample the two main entrees, but we were also shown what some of the other entrees individual locations may offer. There was only one plate per entree, so I didn’t get to try everything. I did try the Octopus Bolognese, which is available at the Blackbird. They’ve added some west coast touch by including octopus in this classic dish, giving it some fishy/ocean flavours that reminded me of anchovies. If you like anchovies, which we do, then you’ll like this version of spaghetti bolognese.
What comes after entrees? Dessert! Back on the trolley, we then arrived at the door of The Lamplighter Public House in Gastown. The place was packed because it’s Trivia Night on Tuesday!
If you like a rich, decadent dessert, then the S’more Jar is for you. The fluffy marshmallow on top was very good, so was the scotch caramel. But overall, it’s a bit too sweet for my liking. This dessert was paired with the Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve. It had a fruity note, and help balance the richness and sweetness of the s’more jar. I’m not a whisky drinker, but this wasn’t too bad.
And just a few steps over, we got to the newly renovated Clough Club for our last dessert.
Turns out the Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t available at all locations. It’s only available at Clough Club! This is another rich dessert – double chocolate chip cookie with mint chocolate ice cream and salted caramel. It’s not as memorable as the s’more jar, but it’s elevated if you enjoy it with its beverage pairing, the 33 Acres of Darkness Black Lager. The black lager was creamy yet light, with a hint of chocolate note. It’s a lighter end to a meal than the s’more jar.
Donnelly Group locations are offering their Dine Out menu at $20. For that price, and after tasting some of the items, I thought it’s pretty good value for the money. The menu seems ordinary, but executive chef and the kitchen teams have added some flare to the classics. And they have picked out a few good wines and beer to go with the dishes. Pick a location that offers the vibe and atmosphere that you want (I personally like the Blackbird, and the interior of Clough Club was pretty cool), a $20 3-course dinner isn’t such a bad idea for a dinner out.
You can check out the menus of the remaining Donnelly Group locations below:
- Cinema Public House
- Library Square Public House
- The Bimini Public House
- Butcher & Bullock
- The Three Brits Public House
Disclosure: This menu tasting was provided to us complimentary of Donnelly Group. However, the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely my own.