by George Froehlich
Vancouver’s foodie glitterati have not fully appreciated this restaurant, one of the best in town.
Wild Rice is unique. It is steeped in the tradition of ancient Chinese cuisine but what it offers, has a modern contemporary twist to it.
Chef at the Wild Rice kitchen has a deft touch. He balances soft with crunchy, hot with cool and sweet with tart. And when your food arrives – your mind and your taste buds say “this is unbelievable”.
Our first course – caramelized Qualicum Bay scallops. Moist, juicy, tender and so sweet. The bamboo shoot pea vine salad, at once bitter and earthy, the ginger soy reduction, sweet and salty. But all of those flavours do not overwhelm. Instead they are a subtle combination accentuating all the flavours, resulting in something yummy and delish. Likewise the seared orange-spiced B.C. Albacore tuna. The tuna nicely seared on the outside, even a bit crisp and crunchy, the inside buttery and heavenly. And that bit of orange spice was perfect.
Chef’s philosophy obviously is less is more. His spices complement and enhance the dishes. The coconut ginger rice cake was crisp, crunchy and when you bit into it, the coconut taste and the soft rice tickled the palate. Again, crunchy and soft, the mango cucumber emulsion, sweet and bitter.
Dessert was coconut beignets. Beignets – a French version of donuts – were crisp, but when you cut into them, the star anise-flavoured caramel just oozed out on to the plate. In the background a slightly spiced pineapple sorbet, waiting to be scooped up.
The kitchen at Wild Rice is like a fine orchestra ensuring that the symphony of flavours it produces result in a memorable dish.
George Froehlich has more than 35 years media experience abroad and in Canada. He is an avid cook, art collector and world-wide traveler. New York still is his favourite city. For more than two years he has been producing the Savvy Insider, a funky, eclectic newsletter that’s all Metro Vancouver and what makes it one of the great cities of the world. Check out his site, and stay bookmarked to Poivre Media for weekly “edible” anecdotes from George.