Last year, Beach Bay Cafe popped up in the space where Raincity Grill used to be. Since then, they’ve made some slight adjustments on the menu direction, as well as found a new executive chef, so with their Dine Out participation, I decided to give it a try.
To start, Mr. ordered the Seafood Chowder. It’s creamy, wasn’t super thick, yet loaded with lots of ingredients. Every spoonful there were chunks of potato and carrot and seafood such as shrimp, mussels and squid. There’s smokiness and savoury flavours coming from the bacon as well as crispy leeks. I had a few spoons and I quite liked it; Mr. had most of it and thought it’s a bit too salty for him.
For an extra $4, I had 1/2 Dozen Oysters for appetizer. The night’s feature was Little Wing oysters; they were not too big in size, but had a deep cup shell. The flesh tasted clean and crisp with a hint of sweetness. I’ve never had this kind before and thought they were pretty good. The oysters were paired with an apple mignonette, which was on the sweet side, so you had to add a squeeze of lemon juice to bring a bit more acidity.
I’ve ordered mostly seafood dishes during Dine Out, so I switched things up with an order of the Confit Duck Leg. Wow loved the crispy skin on the duck leg! Other than the fact that the duck meat was slightly too salty around the edges (where it’s thinner), this duck leg was pretty spot on! The lentils were tender and creamy, and the smoked butter emulsion added richness to the whole dish. I thoroughly enjoyed this plate and would order it again.
Mr. opted for the North Pacific Ling Cod, which was sitting on a bed of mussels and clams, and potatoes and green peas. According to Mr., the broth tasted like the base of the seafood chowder, just without the depth of flavours that the chowder ingredients would’ve added to (e.g. bacon, crispy leeks). It’s a bit on the bland side when combined with the potatoes and green peas. The ling cod was nicely caramelized on the outside and still silk and flaky inside; perhaps just a few grains of salt too much for our liking.
Mr.‘s Cheesecake was more of a deconstructed form. The shortbread crust was buttery, the quenelle of “cheesecake” was airy, creamy, with a lemony taste to it. What made this dessert interesting was the red onion jam. It looked and tasted just like cooked down red onion, except there’s no sweetness like what you would expect from caramelized onion. There’s no savoury note in it either, so it just felt out of place.
On the other hand, the Sticky Toffee Pudding was very satisfying. It’s not the typical ooey gooey sticky toffee pudding; in fact, it’s crispy around the edges. But it’s moist and warm, and the sauce was just to die for! It may be a bit sweet, but at this portion size I could easily finish the whole plate. And maybe just one more.
The service was a bit hit and miss on this Friday night. When the server was available, he’s attentive and offered great service. But he’s serving 4-5 tables in our section and they were all seated at around the same time so he’s being pulled in all directions.
Then, we ordered a bottle of white wine for the table, and we were quite surprised to learn that there wasn’t a bottle readily available for service. They basically put a room-temperature bottle in an ice bucket to chill, so when it was first served to us (after making us wait for a bit) it was still barely chilled. I would assume that restaurants would have at least one of each kind on the menu in the wine fridge, but I guess it may not be the case, and/or our choice of wine may not be a popular one. It didn’t take long for the wine to be brought to the right temperature so it was fine; I just didn’t expect that. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this before.
Overall, there’s some room for improvement, but the dinner was quite enjoyable. I think I had more luck with the menu items than Mr. did. They kept the fish and chips take-out window from the Raincity time, and 3 pieces are only $19. If I were in the area on a sunny day, I would totally give them a try!
Beach Bay Cafe and Patio
1193 Denman Street, Vancouver