Contemporary WesternFood

Lily Mae’s Comfort Cafe

This is a long overdue post that was supposed to be published in Autumn for Lily Mae’s Harvest Moon 5 Course Tasting Menu. I haven’t seen Glenny for a while so we decided to meet up for dinner. Since we are both foodies, I was introduced to Glenny’s other foodie friend, Jessica, who also joined us at Lily Mae’s. Located in the heart of Gastown, Lily Mae’s is a small Parisian looking cafe with a view of the large intersection at Gastown. We had a beautiful view of Gastown since we sat next to the window and the restaurant was adorable; perfect for a girl’s get together brunch or dinner.

The Harvest Moon 5 Course Tasting features wild game meat which is quite a rare option in most Vancouver restaurants. I don’t usually see game meat served anywhere and the last time I had game meat was at Exile Bistro, where I had the game fondue. Ever since then, game meat has been quite a surprise to me in terms of its taste.

PSX_20141207_203504Roasted Vegetable Soup

What’s in it: Roasted root vegetable purée, crispy onion and sage brown butter drizzle.

The first course warmed us up with a delicious and rich vegetable soup with a rich sage brown butter and onion flavour.

Everything about the soup was soothing and flavourful, but the crispy onions were were practically the only flavours I could taste in each spoonful.

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Venison Tartar

What’s in it:Poached quail egg, micro greens, potato chips, and green olive dust.

I loved everything about this dish. The poached quail egg was delicately and beautifully done with a gorgeous golden yolk that spilled out onto the venison tartar like water falling between the cracks of a stone wall.

The green olive dust was a surprise because all three of us couldn’t taste what it was. The taste was salty and earthy and the texture was so fine. Adding it with the potato chips was very savoury.

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Pickled, Roasted and Raw Carrot Salad

What’s in it: Heirloom carrot,s roasted almonds, fresh mint, dill, shallots and a scorched lemon vinaigrette.

I didn’t get to taste this but Jessica said that this was a very refreshing and herb flavoured dish for a second course.

The lemon vinaigrette came out as a bit too acidic at first, but then it slowly complimented the fresh mint, dill and shallots. The sourness also helps to increase your appetite.

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Braised Elk

What’s in it: Braised elk, wild mushroom farro risotto, sweet corn purée and confit tomatoes.

Glenny and I both ordered the braised elk topped with a sweet confit tomato on top. Sadly, I couldn’t really taste the elk as I wanted to because of the sweet corn purée. The wild mushroom farro risotto could only be tasted if I ate it alone.

Since this menu is focused on wild game meat, I was a bit disappointed that the sweet corn purée stole the spotlight from the braised elk. It wasn’t as enjoyable since I wanted to taste the braised elk, but at the beginning, I have to admit that the corn purée was very creamy, naturally sweet and it melted in my mouth. It was good but I just think more emphasis should have been on the braised elk instead of the purée.

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Oysters Rockefeller

What’s in it: Stellar Bay Oysters with kale, bacon, oyster cream sauce and bread crumbs with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

This wasn’t much of a surprise but since I don’t like oysters, Glenny ordered this. I didn’t hear a lot of comments from her but everything seemed pretty normal like every oyster rockefeller out there.
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Hunters Ragout

What’s in it: Bacon wrapped chicken breast, shiitake mushrooms sauce, braised shallots, vegetable fricassee on house pasta.

For our final main, we all ordered the Hunters Ragout. Something about house pasta intrigued us and we’re always up for pasta that is out of the ordinary.

The shiitake sauce tasted like shiitake mushrooms you would find in an udon meal but the herbs gave the sauce a welcome boost to every aspect of the plate.

The bacon wrapped chicken breast was quite unnecessary since the bacon was already quite dry and salty and the chicken breast was already a bit overcooked making it drier.

The pasta wasn’t as good as we hoped. The texture was a bit tough to chew on, but we weren’t sure if it was undercooked or if it was supposed to be more tough than normal pasta.

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Beignets

What’s in it: White, dark and milk chocolate beignets drizzled with maple syrup with crisp bacon.

When the dessert was served, all three of us laughed because by far, the dessert had the largest portion in the tasting menu. In addition, the dessert was also the most filling.

The beignets were really a hit or miss because some had a runny chocolate centre while others were merely dry and dull inside. We were a bit confused as to whether this was done on purpose or not.

Overall, these little dough balls were sweet and those with a chocolate centre gave it a richer and moist texture. The bacon helped to balance out the sweetness with a hint of saltiness to it.
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