The dinner at The Mackenzie Room was probably the most epic meal I’ve ever had so far. I had the chance to stay at Vancouver for 2 days after the trip to San Francisco, hence I got the opportunity to explore the food scene! Instead of going for Japanese food, my friend had given me few choices. The Mackenzie Room had caught my attention when I tried to look up the menu, because there is none on the site! They offer a menu (written on the chalkboard) that is in season, which totally reminds me one of my favorite restaurants in Montreal, Provisions 1628.
Locating on the Powell street, right across of the Oppenheimer Park, the restaurant is quite a hidden gem. Thanks to my friend, who had noticed it while she was on the bus. Yes.. she looks around and discovers new restaurants while on the bus.
The restaurant isn’t that spacious, but it was so cozy and warm. The décor is quite old-school but homey. It made us felt like dining at our grandparents’. As for their frequently changing menu, there’s an option which my friends and I wanted to choose —- “I WANT IT ALL”. However, it’s for 4 people or more, and you get exactly everything on the menu. But… we are only a group of 3. We’ll see…
While waiting for another friend, we started with some drinks. Since I don’t drink, I’m glad that they have mocktails on the menu. I had the Cardamom sour, which is apple and fresh lime juice, egg white, and cardamom syrup. Love the balance of the sweet and sour. Mocktails can be easily overly sweetened due to the syrup, but not in this case. My friend opted for a glass of draft beer.
First up, the Showstopper salad, which consists of fresh greens, pistachio vinaigrette, and farmer’s cheese. Good that the salad wasn’t drenched in the dressing. The greens were evenly coated with the pistachio vinaigrette, and the farmer’s cheese was quite smooth. It may have looked quite simple, yet full of flavors.
Loved the presentation of this dish. It’s called the Veggies from the garden, which the waiter told us to just pull it out and eat it as if we were harvesting carrots! There were assorted carrots, daikons, radishes, and other root vegetables in there. The dip isn’t regular hummus that we’ve expected. It was bagna cauda, which is an Italian type that is normally served warm. It’s a creamy paste made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, and butter as main ingredients. Better than hummus!
The third course, Strait Chillin, which is a seafood dish consists of mussels, prawns, red onion, and lemon vinaigrette. There’s no doubt that the seafood in the west coast is a lot better than the east. Not to mention the freshness, but the mussels are plump, and the prawns are meaty. The lemon vinaigrette brought out the sweetness of both.
When we saw weeds + seeds, we were wondering, weeds? But no worries, nothing illegal in this dish. It’s a dish full of greens, which consisted nettle custard, spruce tips, fiddle heads, and sesame seeds. Nettle is something new to me. It’s a type of herbaceous perennial flowering plant, which had a long history of uses in medicine and food. The nettle custard was just like pesto, but a lot creamier and less tart in terms of the green tastes. Fiddle heads seems like the rising star in the food scene. Restaurants that follow the concept of “eat local” uses it a lot.
Not done with the appetizers yet! Next up, the MacNuggets, which are the lamb sweetbreads served with sweet and spicy sauce. Since I don’t eat lamb (not as strict as beef), but I still had a piece of it. I was expected it to be smooth cause of the fats, but it wasn’t! It was chewy, and muscularly, just like chicken nugget! However, it was really gamey for my taste. The sauce was really good! Perfect balance between the sweetness and spiciness.
Last appetizer, which I don’t eat. It’s eat your heart out, which is the beef heart tartare, topped with quail’s egg yolk, black garlic aioli, horseradish, and crostini on the side.
Now.. we’re just half way through. Move on to the mains!
Did I already mention that I love the seafood in the west? This is the pop collar, which is roasted cod collar, and soffrito clams. I’ve always been a fan of fish collar, but never thought that cod collars are so big! It was full of meat, and the tomato sauce was so flavorful as there are the essence from the cod and clams that we wished there was more.
This was the Elmer’s revenge, which is confit rabbit leg with spiced carrot puree and hempseed streusel. I didn’t try it, but my friends said that it was just like chicken. The presentation and the sides of the dish are very thoughtful. The carrot purée (rabbit eats carrot!) was very smooth, but not too rich in cream. The hempseed streusel was fresh and crisp.
The Triple Deke was o-m-g level. It’s duck breast with confit croquette, rhubarb purée, and farro with hazelnuts. Unlike usual duck breasts that are served in thin slices, these were in blocks. It was cooked evenly inside and out. It doesn’t have the unpleasant duck taste too. Also, the farro was so chewy, and the hazelnuts were crunchy. Definitely a nice combination and contrasts in texture. I would totally just go back for this dish.
The Boarin supremacy, which was definitely a supreme dish. The bone-in boar chop with soubise, and bourbon apricot jus. Not exaggerating, but these succulent boar chop melts in the mouth. The distribution of the fats and meat is beautiful, gorgeous pink color. The meat came off the bone cleanly. The meat wasn’t fibrous at all, in fact, it was a bit “crisp”.
Not complete without desserts! The buffalo panna cotta with homemade blood orange liquor sorbet. Definitely a light dessert to end the night. I only had two bites due to the alcoholic taste of sorbet was too strong for me, therefore my friend finished it all.
These Louisiana “tim bits” were such a comfort food. When the desserts were served, we were already stuffed. We even offered the waiter if he wants one of these tim bits, because we were planning to just have one each. But guess what, we finished all 4. The doughnut wasn’t greasy at all! It was crisp outside, and fluffy inside. The chocolate wasn’t too sweet at all. Same as the condensed milk. It was watery compared to regular condensed milk, and not as sweet too. It was amazing that the friend who isn’t that into sweets, but had already finished the panna cotta, said she was only going to have half, but surprisingly, she finished the whole tim bits with constantly spooning the condense milk onto the tim bits.
Finally, we’ve reached the end of the meal. Did we finish all of the dishes? Yes. We cleaned the plates. Though the option is meant to be for minimum of 4 people, 3 of us finished it too. However, I do suggest to go with 4 people! We thought the portion would be tasting size, but apparently not. It’s the exact portion as if you ordered à la carte. Our waiter wasn’t that friendly, attentive in the beginning when we insisted on ordering the “I want it all” option. We guessed that he probably thought we were jokes? However, his attitude changed towards the end as we actually finished each dish. We didn’t waste any food. Another thing that I loved about each dish was that it’s full of greens and fresh vegetables! Both the appetizers and the mains are loaded with fresh vegetables that we even suspected if they have a garden at the back or something. I would strongly recommend The Mackenzie Room if you are in Vancouver.