A couple of weeks ago I posted about a dish I had at Ensemble Tap-the Roasted Potato Gnocchi, it was like something I have never had before. The manager Christopher Cho recommended that I try the version over at Ensemble and I got to do that and a bit more this long weekend. I really must say that Ensemble has been on my “must try” list since they opened so I was really happy for this visit.
The space is open yet provides a feel of closeness with the dark ceiling and furnishings. The floors are also beautiful dark hardwood. It’s always a good sign when the Owner/Chef is actually working in his establishment, I was greeted warmly by Dale Mackay and got set me up at the bar comfortably.
I started the evening with the West Coast Sling $12, it’s a perfect mix of Ketel One, Passion Fruit, Lemon, Saffron Syrup, Peach Bitters and a egg white foam topper. This was one nice cocktail, it was the perfect mix of sour with a bit of sweet and didn’t taste like alcohol~a dangerous mix!
After a couple West Coast Slings I switched over to some beer, in this case something that I have never had before-Tripel Karmeliet from Belgium $7. It’s a wheat beer that has a beautiful floral aroma and flavor to it. One thing I will say about it is that it make you burp alot!
Dale being the awesome guy he is brought over a nice Tarte flambée for me to munch on while the kitchen started up on my meal. The dough was nice and thin with a great bite to it. This has some of my favorite things~thinly sliced onions and lardons. The dish was a pleasure to eat and was a perfect start to the meal. The appy was complimentary and didn’t appear on the bill.
I went with a 4 course vegetarian tasting menu for $35, I came here to have the gnocchi and to my surprise I found its on this menu and how can you go wrong with 3 extra courses!
The first dish was a Roasted Beet Salad. The salad also had watercress, orange segments and mascarpone cheese what was whipped. Each one of the components of the dish really came through, the mascarpone was seasoned nicely and the beets were earthy with a hint of sweetness. The orange segments added a nice fruity element.
Next up is a Butternut Squash Veloute. It’s poured table side and the aroma of truffle envelops your nose.
The veloute is silky smooth. As I was eating this the cheese melted and added a nice salty note to the soup. There was a bit of sweetness from the butternut squash. This was something I could have eaten a huge bowl of on a cold day.
Now for the star of the meal, Potato Gnocchi in a tomato butter sauce with rocket and olives. I absolutely loved this and Chris was completely right with his recommendation. The gnocchi were buttery and tender. The rocket and oven dried tomatoes added a nice peppery and sweetness to the dish and it was all rounded out by the KILLER tomato butter sauce, it was smooth but had a thickness to it and a perfect saltines. It’s a rich dish that will fill you up nicely and at only $12 on the regular dinner menu it has to be one of the best deals in town!
For dessert I enjoyed an Orange Pavlova. Dale’s pavlova is not your traditional pavlova and is from his season on Top Chef Canada, his presentation is whimsical and it totally works by letting the fruit stand out. The other components and flavors on the plate were yogurt sorbet and green cardamom. I liked how the dessert was light and refreshing.
After returning to my seat I found these beauty’s waiting for me!
A basket of Warm Citrus Madeleines are a treat for sure and I was a happy camper. Warm and dusted with powdered sugar they were light and airy. A definite treat and great end to an amazing meal. Again, these were on the house and a gift from Ensemble.
My first visit to Ensemble was absolutely amazing, my food was delicious and the service was top notch. I found the prices completely on par with chain restaurants in the area and I’m my eyes the creativity level here is leaps and bounds above the competition. I’m already looking forward to my next meal-the meat tasting menu has my name on it!