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Market in the Shangri-La

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Fantastic lunch today - $28 for 3 Courses.  Great deal.

Do you need a reso for lunch or can you walk in at sit at the bar? Sounds great and I'm going there this week.

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005


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Haven't had a chance to try it yet but stopped in for a quick look today after checking out the new Urban Fare.

I obviously haven't been paying attention because a). I somehow thought it was street level (instead it is through the Shangri-La lobby and up on the 3rd floor and b). All the talk about the great value and the name Market somehow gave me the impression that it was more casual than it is so I would definitely dress up a bit before trying the place. Ran into Jean Georges himself as he came rushing in with some sought after ingredients!

The bar has the look of a sushi style bar just to the left as you walk in. That's where I'll go first as well.

From the look I would try for a reso as I bet it is very busy at lunch.

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I made a reso - but was still seated in the cafe area. The dining room was full. I would ask to be seated at the bar next time.

Dining room is very handsome - for $28 you have your choice of two courses and a dessert.

I had crab cakes, soy glazed short ribs, and passion fruit pavlova. The food is full flavored and deeply seasoned - the short ribs had rich asian flavors - but not cloying or too sweet. The pavlova was a hard meringue 'egg' with a passion fruit sorbet yolk, all doused with passion fruit pulp.

Well executed, service was a little skittish - I suspect because of Jean George being in the house (I almost asked him for his autograph - I know, its sad). All in all - a tremendously fun experience.

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Made reso's for Friday (before V-day). Interesting that they didn't ask me where I wanted to sit!

P.S. Andrew's link is dead but HERE is the correct one.

Can't wait. The scout pictures look marvelous.

Edited by fud (log)

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Thanks fud. Whenever we move a story from the carousel into one of the blogs the permalink changes. I sometimes forget to fix, tech not being my strong suit...

I went for dinner again after the Van Mag "Big Night" party tonight. Full room. We managed to squeeze together a few seats at the bar. Good times. I agree about the jitters, but that'll work itself out fast. They have some pros working the rooms. Lots of familiar faces.

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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  • 2 weeks later...

My 2nd meal at Market last night, this time in the cafe. Some excellent crab and an astonishing black truffle and fontana split with a friend. He had the tuna burger, which I had a taste of and found too spicy for my tastes but loved it with shiso. I had the beef tartare which tasted more like a tuna salad than beef. A good ginger cocktail from the bar, a not so good red pairing with the beef, which I think would have worked better with a sparkling wine.

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We just got back from Market tonight. We were seated in the Cafe (on Valentine's eve it was referred to as the 'dining room overflow').

We took a look around the restaurant before ordering. The Raw Bar is gorgeous albiet a little tight to walk through. The fact that you need to walk through here to get to the dining room is both a blessing and a curse. It's important to see the bar, but it's extremely congested on busy nights.

Service was fast and a little skiddish at times but generally good. I was happy to see some great BC ciders on the menu.

Butternut Squash Soup - Black trumpet mushrooms and Chives

Served tableside with the trumpet mushrooms, chives and julienne potatoes arranged nicely in a bowl and then the soup poured at the last minute. The soup reminded me of the chapter in Thomas Keller's book on proper filtering of sauces. The soup's texture was very smooth and silky. The mushrooms were a little dry at the start but as they began eating up the moisture from the soup they took on a very strong complimentary flavour. Loved it to bits. I was soaking the stuff up with the bread I had on hand.

Dungeness Crab Dumplings - Meyer Lemon and Celeriac Tea

The lemon/tea sauce was tangy and spicy. I really like the use of spice here it was a welcome surprise. The dumplings were good but I'm a dumpling snob so I'll leave it at that. The sauce here was also served a la minute.

Sablefish - Nut and Seed Crust, Sweet and Sour Broth

The waiter gave my wife a spoon when this dish was served and our eyes both said the same thing: what's this for? Scoop up the sweet and sour broth and the spoon's existence was clear. Baby veggies still crisp in a lovely broth which again used spices which were strong and very unexpected. The fish was soft and fatty with a wonderful crunch from the crust. If they can make sablefish consistently like this I can do the world a favour and stop eating Sea Bass.

Grilled Rack of Lamb - Smoked Chili Glaze, King oyster mushrooms, Brocollini

There's something with this place that really jives with me. The portions are generous, the prices are absolutely reasonable and the food execution is top tier. The lamb was marvelous. The chili glaze was spicy (actually truly spicy) and when mixed with the oyster mushroom compote makes for a mean accompaniment to the lamb only to be topped off by a mint reduction and served with caramelized onions and the mutant broccoli-meets-gai-lan. The lamb had perfectly even pinkness throughout the rack - these guys love their lamb as much as I do.

Carmelized Banana Cake - Crunchy Praline, Carmel Ice Cream

Beautiful composition, we really liked the torched sugar/banana topping on the cake. This is no banana bread (although it is).

Local Artisanal Cheeses

All from the island and featuring Salt Spring Island brie and goat cheese as well as a chunk of mild blue, Montagne, and one more I have already forgotten the name of. This was a generous dish served with toasted raisin breads and crisp apple. Apple and Brie make the world a better place. There was so much cheese leftover at the end I had to insist on packing it home for further enjoyment tomorrow. And they will be enjoyed for sure. Market certainly did not skimp on the Brie.

All of this in today's showcase can be had if the price is right...say about $120. What a great evening.

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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