I haven’t been to a lot of western vegetarian cuisine out there, so this year Dine Out Vancouver I decided to try something new. “Graze’s all plant-based menu (including all of our wines, beers & spirits) incorporates as many locally & organically produced ingredients as possible. Building on this foundation, we also grow our own herbs & vegetables, collect rainwater for our garden, compost our kitchen waste, reduce/reuse/recycle everything we can, support ethical suppliers, reduce our power consumption, solar heat our hot water, are very particular about our paper and cleaning products and are always looking for ways to do even more.” http://grazerestaurant.ca/ This is written on their website, and this is what sold me on trying them out.
When I first walked in their restaurant I noticed right away their beautiful wall full of people. Yes it is a giant wall with paintings of people, but it was so dark that I couldn’t take a photo of it. But you really need to look at this beautiful wall. Seriously.
They actually have quite a bit of selections for the dine out menu, each course has about 4 selections which I think is great! After we placed our order, my brother unrolled his napkin to lay out his utensils… then he saw this.
Okay, this is quite disturbing. Knowing the napkin you were about to use has someone else’s lipstick stain on it… Maybe they tried to wash it and it didn’t come off? The waitress made a witty comment about the stain is hers. But still…. =_= Or I am just having my luck with these dirty restaurants experience… XD
Organic yam & red pepper chowder, local corn, cracked black pepper, lightly curried, smoked paprika
Now I know this soup is suppose to have smoked paprika, but something smelled real burnt here. Don’t get me wrong the soup is great aside from the burning taste, but you know if there is burning taste in any food it is very difficult to get out of it. Because you will simply keep thinking about it over and over – it is burnt.
Salad – Salad of persimmon, pistachio and pomegranate with arugula & almond chevre
This salad took me by surprise, there is a light tangy taste to the dressing and with the refreshing taste of persimmon at the bottom was really great combination. There are also bits of persimmon along with the salad with crunchy pistachio and almond chevre.
Winter Salad – Winter Salad of lacinato kale with roasted golden & red beets, pear & fig with toasted hazelnuts
My mom sometimes makes kale at home but usually cooked, this time I got to eat it raw with my favourite beets. :) This is also another delicious salad. Kale is originally very tasteless with very chewy thick texture, but it was so great to be mixed with light beets, pear and fig to balance out the flavours and textures.
TAGLIATELLE – Yam and parsnip broad ‘noodles’ with farro cakes & saffron coconut cream sauce
Their “noodles” are made out of very thinly sliced parsnip and yam. (Which I found amazing how they can slice them so thin.) Aside from the delicious ‘noodles’ I also adored their saffron coconut cream sauce. Oh my god it is delicious! Although the only sad thing about this dish is that all ingredients are good, but they don’t blend. None of the flavours were able to blend and absorb into each other.
STEAK & MUSHROOMS – Tea-smoked grilled tofu steak & pepita crusted portabello, beluga lentils & porcini-red wine sauce
I am not quite sure what is tea-smoked grilled, it was rich in flavour. But I little too heavy in my opinion, I wasn’t quite sure what I was tasting… However, the tofu steak was nice and chewy.
CREPES - Basil & chickpea crepes with marinated & grilled seasonal vegetables & organic tempeh
The flavour of basil worked really well with the chickpea crepe, brings out the flavour of chickpeas flawlessly. However the crepes are tough, quite difficult to cut with my knife and chew on. They almost taste like overdone pancake that had been left on the grill for 3 hours….
PEROGIES - Yam & eggplant perogies, sautéed oyster mushrooms, crispy shallots, pickled beet shred, smoky coconut cheddar sauce, spicy tomato jam
Every since I started to see perogies selling in food trucks, it always reminded me of Chinese dumplings but except it is made of potatoe. This one is made of yam and eggplant, which gave it a lighter flavour than potatoes but sure does stuff you up quickly. The sauce for this perogies is delicious, but here comes another smoky item that also taste a little burnt. (At this point, I really question how they make anything smoky in the kitchen.)
You will surprise how filling all their portions are, I could barely finish my entrée and dessert seems so impossible to finish. But regardless being a sweet tooth of course I will eat the dessert. :P
Hazelnut macaroons with cardamom pear sorbet and vanilla creme
Delicious macaroons that are not too sweet, with flaky coconut bits and light hazelnut flavour. My favourite? The sorbet, although it melted with the speed of lighting but I absolutely adore the flavour.
Cacao & rose-infused black cherry trifle layered with toasted cashew crumble
The flavour of rose shoots out as you take every bite of this black cherry trifle. Lots of overwhelming flavour, the cheei8es, rose and chocolate with bits of chewy cashew. This dessert is not for the faint of heart, they are powerful flavours that fights with each other for your attention.
Lemon mousse filled cannoli, lavender coulis
I have to say this was the most disappointing ‘mousse’. I know they cannot use gelatin because that would make it not vegetarian but as a baker myself I know there are many many ways to make mousse without gelatin and it will keeps its form. But this just looked like melted ice cream. The flavours are fine, they taste great but presentation is really lacking on this dessert. I almost didn’t want to eat it at all. L
Overall I think there are many better vegetarian restaurants in the lower mainland. This one is priced fairly high but not living up to its standards. There are lots of room for improvement, some of the dishes are so creative just need fine tuning.