When it comes to Dine Out Vancouver, I’m not exactly a keener. You would think that DOVF would be every Vancouver foodie’s dream, but no. To me, DOVF means rushed service, booking issues and loud crowds. This year, my Dine Out Vancouver summary was volunteering at 6 Course Discourse by Follow Me Foodie again and having a dinner at Pidgin. I always feel that the food is never as good in DOVF compared to a normal day.
Pidgin has always been on my wishlist and since their DOVF menu looked really attractive this year, the three of us decided to go. We made reservations one week before Dine Out began and we were already very lucky to get a 6pm table on a Friday. The biggest problem we had with Pidgin was the location. Walking there was slightly sketchy and it wasn’t exactly convenient.
When we arrived, some tables were already pretty full but no more than a quarter of the restaurant was filled up. We got a small round table right across the entrance at the corner of the restaurant. All menus were on a metal clipboard stuck to the magnet wall just behind the sofa seats.
You might be slightly confused with how Pidgin does there DOVF, so let me explain. All of their dishes are sharing portions and you don’t really need to order. When you tell a server that you’re there for DOVF, everything on the Pidgin DOVF menu will be served. You can also choose to order a drink (I highly recommend that) or anything off the a la carte menu as well.
For a restaurant located in Downtown East Vancouver, this is quite a fancy place.
One Eyed Samurai
Concocted out of: Watermelon Infused Tequila, Sake, Lemon, and Watermelon Granite.
I was recommended by Wing Hei from The Camera Eats First that if I had to splurge on one thing at Pidgin, it must be their cocktails, in specifically, their One Eye Samurai.
The presentation was pretty stellar, with a small spoon with watermelon granite on top. Instead of eating it by the spoonful, I stirred it into my drink.
The taste was like a spiked watermelon juice with a hint of sourness to it. Slightly watered down and it needed a bit more booziness, but I would still recommend it.
Appetizer 1 – Onsen Egg, Ikura (salmon roe), Pickled Kombacha, Lap Cheong Oil and Chicharron.
I was really looked forward to this! There’s nothing better than a rich egg yolk soup and the simple joy in poking into the egg and letting the yolk ooze out.
The chicharron was a good texture addition to the dish while the ikura just does what it always does – giving that fishy taste to everything.
Appetizer 2 – Miso Roasted Beet, Smoked Beet Purée and Dark Chocolate Crumble.
Beets and chocolate. What happened was that Jacky and Raissa ate most of the chocolate, and I ate almost all of the miso roasted beets.
You get the earthy flavours from the beets then a milky, sweet and slight bitterness from the chocolate. The uncanny flavour unison may not be for everyone but I enjoyed the bizarre blend of the two ingredients.
Appetizer 3 – Albacore Tuna Mi-Cuit, Smoked Egg Purée, Shishito and Pear Salsa.
Mi-cuit means half cooked but to me, this leaned on more of the raw side. Actually, all three of us got some type of stomach pain after dinner so I’m assuming it might have been this. On the bright side, I have already contacted Pidgin about this issue and they’re working on figuring it out.
Regardless, this was actually delicious. The shishito and pear salsa had some sort of salt in it that gave it a saltiness boost but it balanced the flavours in the albacore tuna and the creaminess from the smoked egg purée.
Entree 1 – Southeast Asian Bouillabaisse, Octopus Chips, Gochujang Rouille, and Softshell Crab.
In the entire Pidgin DOVF menu, this was the highlight because of the Southeast Asian Bouillabaisse and the crunchy octopus chip.
Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew but this actually tasted straight up like Thai yellow curry with a strong ginger essence. It doesn’t matter thought because all of us loved it.
The softshell crab was mouth watering with the juices kept in the meat and a crunchy external shell. I didn’t need to dip it in the bouillabaisse because it had all its flavours packed inside.
Entree 2 – Striploin, Lobster Bisque Cabbage, Pickled Shimeji, and Roasted Potatoes.
Striploin is probably the most conventional thing on a menu, but since it came with the DOVF, I was more excited about the lobster bisque cabbage.
The striploin was cut finely like sashimi and cooked to a red brick wall centre. The presentation and taste of the striploin reminded me of beef tataki.
I was telling my dad about the lobster bisque cabbage and he responded “Why don’t they just give you a lobster bisque soup, instead of cabbage dipped into lobster bisque?” True fact but I’ll give them points that the cabbage did contain the creamy lobster flavours from the lobster bisque.
Dessert – Carmalized White Chocolate Mousse, Persimmon and Black Sesame Crunch.
I loved this dessert because it wasn’t too sweet but it was so milky and creamy like a panna cotta.
The black sesame crunch took me back home to the traditional Chinese desserts I would eat in Hong Kong and the persimmon gave a tartness to do the chocolate dessert.