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Chambar


SBonner
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Yes, congratulations to Chambar for all their hard work and deserved success! Always inspiring when a labour of love receives its due rewards.

I noticed on Chambar's website that they are having a 1st anniversary bash on Saturday, September 17th. Media, 7pm, Public, 8pm onwards. The website asks those interested to RSVP by phone or e-mail. I alas, will be at gorging at a wedding buffet and so everyone else will have to report back to me about the soiree.

http://www.chambar.com/invite.html

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

~ Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Tara Lee

Literary and Culinary Rambles

http://literaryculinaryrambles.blogspot.com

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Just returned. Wonderful evening. Apparently there were over 500 RSVP's. By the time I left they could no longer pack them in. Busy, busy room of pretty-somethings. Awesome canapes of wildboar, walnuts, and balsamic on crostinis and what appeared to be duck confit on endive. Spicy prawns floating around aplenty, too.

Nice to see the owners on the floor looking relaxed. It's been a busy year with over 250 covers a night steady.

Happy Birthday to you.

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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  • 1 month later...

Went after the Home show this weekend with Mooshmouse and her spouse to check out the new menu offerings.

The food as always was top notch - I had the shrimp&harissa starter and my main was the duck breast with nectarine gastric. Excellent... Nico has a way of balancing the instrinsic flavours of the food with some pretty strong spices. The attention to detail always wins me over - for example the rice that came with the duck breast was excellent - flavorful, savory, perfectly cooked and not oily. The plates always work for me.

We did not have reservations so we sat in the front lounge. To be honest - it is awkward to eat up there - the space is designed more for lounging and drinking. The tables are pretty small and the spaces are cramped - our server was doing her best Cirque du Soliel contortion to serve us uninstrusively. Also - it seemed like it took longer than usual to get our food. As always - the place is hopping and the noise level can get pretty heavy duty.

That being said - if you haven't been in a while - you owe to yourself to check out the new menu at Chambar. Just make sure you make a reso and get some good seating.

P.S. - It is always nice spotting celebrities like Andrew and Sean Sherwood on the other side of the velvet rope. :wink:

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I went to Chambar a few weekends ago for a friend's birthday dinner and while I had been there before, my two friends hadn't. They were very impressed with the service and food and Quentin of course was very nice to us (i mentioned that it had been a rough week and he gave me a shot of tequila lol). We had 2 orders of mussels (the first one was so good we had to order another!), the filet mignon and the maple seared scallops. heaven :wub:

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  • 1 month later...

I ventured to Chambar last night for a birthday dinner with my love.

In a word, the food was memorable.

I don't have the time right now to go into too much detail, but I had the Tenderloin appy and the Venison. The venison melted in my mouth like a Dairy Milk bar and the gin & cherry compote was simply incredible. This dish was the best dish that I had eaten in all of 2005 and it was the first dish that made me recoil in awe since my last birthday dinner at Bearfoot Bistro. And if you had put the dish in front of me and told me it was only $20 I would have slapped you before I would have believed you.

The dark chocolate filled Chambord poached pear with chocolate lavender ice cream was also excellent.

To me, there was one thing that was truly exceptional... The dessert that my GF had was the Pineapple sorbet with coconut foam. Since she has a very sensitive dairy allergy, it was nice to see something on the dessert menu that she could eat other than a simple sorbet. Although the coconut foam was just one addition, to me it went miles that someone thought to put some more effort into it.

On that note, does anyone know of any good non-dairy desserts out there? It is painful for me as a dessert lover to know that I must abandon the love of my life on this journey into the heaven that is dessert.

I have told numerous people of my experience last night and through this post, no doubt the word will have been spread to countless more.

I have already followed up and expressed my delight with my friend Q, and it's a pleasure to see him working the room. I remember working with him years ago and I'm proud to see where he's at now. The Edmonton Oilers support has got to go, however.

I can't wait to go back for a pint of Stella and I gotta try the Poutine!

Ian McTavish

General Manager / Capones Restaurant & Live Jazz Club

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Must have just missed you, McTee. I was at the bar with a friend having a great dinner. Mushroom soup, poutine, and the beef tenderloin appetiser washed down with Stella and Leffe. All excellent. As for En Route Mag naming Chambar's poutine the "worst dish from a best new restaurant": they are just dead wrong. Service, as always, was perfect (with Brand behind the bar, when is it not?).

Too bad we didn't meet. :sad:

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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Must have just missed you, McTee. I was at the bar with a friend having a great dinner. Mushroom soup, poutine, and the beef tenderloin appetiser washed down with Stella and Leffe. All excellent. As for En Route Mag naming Chambar's poutine the "worst dish from a best new restaurant": they are just dead wrong. Service, as always, was perfect (with Brand behind the bar, when is it not?).

Too bad we didn't meet.  :sad:

I had an amuse of the mushroom soup and due to the aforementioned allergy, I got to have both!

Ian McTavish

General Manager / Capones Restaurant & Live Jazz Club

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Chambar was probably the first restaurant that I visited because of eGullet. The hype on this place last year was amazing, so J and I checked it out about 2 weeks after it opened. Remember those days? Food was excellent, but the service was all over the map. For a moment or two during our first visit, there was no map. I tried it again a couple months later during their brief foray into the lunch scene. Again, great food, but service was a big miss.

So I decided to give it a rest for a while.

We heard about changes. Andre came and left. Mark took over the bar. The Quentin offered me a free beer. It was time for a return visit. :raz:

Truth be told, it was my wife J who prompted me to return to what I still consider to be the coolest room in Vancouver (despite my dislike of noisy rooms). We were going to the Barenaked Ladies Christmas concert and staying downtown for the night. Drinks before the show and dinner at Chambar afterwards? Ho ho ho.

Even though we were almost 45 minutes late (hey, they played 3 encores, and yes I phoned to let them know we were going to be late!) Quentin had our table ready. The place was jumpin', full of the chambar for which it is named. I'll tell you now, I have no photos ... or at least no photos which I would share. The Treo may be a fine smartphone ... it's a crappy food camera.

We started with the aformentioned Mushroom Cappuccino. Dear God! If there were any more mushrooms in that little cup I'd be sprouting fungus out my ears! Wonderfully intense flavours (maybe a little bit of butter?) and the dollop of truffled cream rounded out the dish perfectly. I loosened my belt and sipped my Binchoise Noel. Dammit, this place needs a fireplace.

The first dish J & I shared during our innaugural visit was the Venison Carpaccio. It was even better this time around. The addition of the nero di seppia and the quails egg seemed odd to me at first (i.e. I was trying to find the obvious connection) but once I tasted it it all made sense. The saltiness of the salad worked perfectly with the capers and venison. The scampi came next ... the mint & cilantro pistou combined with a stripe of sour cream (?) to give this dish an almost South Indian flavour.

Mid-meal we changed beers. At mArk's suggestion J had a Chimay Red with the Duck Confit, I the Duchess de Bourgonne with the much maligned Poutine.

I felt the confit was a bit awkward ... i.e. not simple to eat. The filling from the philo (confit and taters) fell out as soon as you cut it open, forcing you to reassemble it to get all the flavours in one bite. There was also a small glass of "vin chaud" (warmed spiced wine) on the plate. It was never explained if it was to drink (our assumption) or to dip. Having said that, the flavours were amazing together, and the Chimay was the perfect beer.

Poutine. I am on record as saying that poutine is where all good frites want to end up. The Poutine a la Belge at Chambar may be lost on some people. Blue cheese and pink peppercornsmay be too much for some ... and I understand why En Route said what they did. When compared to the other dishes, this Poutine may seem a bit out of place (it should be noted that the poutine is listed as a side dish). However, I would gladly order this again. Poutine heaven. Mark had paired it with the Duchess ... a bit of his sense of humour showing here as the Duchess has has a heavy malt-vinegar note to it. My thinking? A couple Duchesses and a trip to Go Fish is in order!

Desserts was a trio of Chcolate Mousse, Chocolate Truffles, and an Apple Bavrois. The chocolate dishes were all top notch. Excellent. But the Bavrois has joined the Apple Tart we enjoyed at West last March as my vote for best dessert of the year. Light and tender with the perfect amount of apple in the mix. Not too sweet either which often happens with apple desserts in my experience. Mark brought us a taste of eggnog that he and the pastry chef (sorry! forgot her name! Quentin help!) had created. Again ... this place needs a fireplace!

There was a short wait when we entered ... about 3 minutes or so ... before we were acknowledged. But as busy as they were, that small delay was easily forgiven. The service problems from last year? Vanished. From Quentin, to Mark to our server Jade, the whole room was in perfect sync. Neither of us could remember the last time we felt so looked after.

A final feather in the cap for the evening ... as it was a big night for Christmas parties, cabs were scarce. While we were speaking with Andre (there for a drink with old friends) Quentin ran out to Georgia, grabbed a cab, and rode it back to the restaurant for us!

A.

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Thanks Daddy-A for your latest report - We've been to Chambar twice; immediately after it opened, and then again 3 months later. Certainly no complaints re food or drink! Service and noise were our issues though...

Great to hear the Service has been stabilized, but I'm still concerned about the acoustics.

The room really has the potential to be a wonderful experience, but I'd much prefer to be able to have an intimate discussion with my dinner partner without going deaf in the process. I love being part of an enthusiastic crowd of diners that are really enjoying themselves; however, all that verbal energy, combined with the normal clatter of cutlery and glassware unfortunately resonates as a very discordant noise in Chambar.

It wouldn't take much to acoustically tune the place; some soft panelling on one wall in the narrowest part of the room, and careful attention to how the entire room sounds at different volumes. Its then simply a matter of tweaking the areas that are overly resonant, and voila - a place that sonically embraces the visitor...

IF this were to happen, then you'd have a killer combo - great food, service and ambiance!

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Thanks for the kind and lyrical words, Mr. D-A (et al.).

Pastry Chef is Eleanor Chow, formerly of Blue Water and Lumiere. Very talented and whimsical.

An acoustic engineering firm has promised me a visit for the last 3 months, but apparently over-running costs on Olympic projects is a little higher priority...

We'll be closed for renos Jan 8 - 17, hopefully with sound dampening in the dining room part of that.

The beer offer stands until Karri fires me for freely intoxicating the unwashed egullet masses.

Q.

Quentin Kayne

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Thanks Daddy-A for your latest report - We've been to Chambar twice; immediately after it opened, and then again 3 months later.  Certainly no complaints re food or drink!  Service and noise were our issues though...

The room really has the potential to be a wonderful experience, but I'd much prefer to be able to have an intimate discussion with my dinner partner without going deaf in the process. I love being part of an enthusiastic crowd of diners that are really enjoying themselves; however, all that verbal energy, combined with the normal clatter of cutlery and glassware unfortunately resonates as a very discordant noise in Chambar.

(snip)

IF this were to happen, then you'd have a killer combo - great food, service and ambiance!

I agree with this. I went there for an intimate double birthday, sat in the back room and jumped about six feet in the air every time the large table next to us laughed. We talked ourselves hoarse in minutes, and I had a really hard time of it. I'd like to go back and give it another try. Maybe I'll ever bring my niece-in-law! :wink: :wink:

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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This nugget of sheer joy comes from today's "Dear Amy" of the Chicago Tribune:

---------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Amy: My family and I enjoy dining out at some of the upscale restaurants in our city.

We select on the basis of cuisine and ambience, which we hope will be conducive to a pleasant dining experience.

Unfortunately, on several occasions our meal has been interrupted by raucous, shrill and spine-tingling shrieks from tables of women.

If we were patronizing bars I might understand, but not in a four-star establishment.

Management apologizes but does nothing else.

Other than stay home, is there a solution?

-- Disgusted

Dear Disgusted: I ran your letter past Phil Vettel, the Chicago Tribune's restaurant critic, who says that this issue is so familiar that his wife, Paula, came up with a formula: "The Noise Level of a table of women can be determined by multiplying the number of women by the amount of liquor each consumed (in ounces), divided by the sum of their ages. Thus, eight 22-year-old women consuming 4 ounces of alcohol each will have a Noise Factor of .181, whereas 10 32-year-old women drinking the same amount will have a Noise Factor of only .125."

In short: Women + Alcohol = Squealing.

If this behavior is bad enough that management sees fit to apologize for it, then you should expect a manager to step in and at least attempt to control it.

Instead of leveling an open-ended complaint to the manager, you should ask directly, "Could you please ask the women at that table to keep their voices down?"

Jason

Editor

EatVancouver.net

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^You know what though--in this case-well they just happened to be women--they weren't raucous at all. It was the distorting effects of the acoustics on the upper register tones in their combined laughter. They were very self-conscious about it. The sound of women laughing is normally a very beautiful thing! :biggrin:

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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^ What they need is an acoustic filter applied to their walls such that high pitched sounds are not magnified but instead gently softened. I wonder if acoustic engineers can do that? Create some kind of bandstop effect by say retexturing walls.

I see a business idea coming... :biggrin:

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

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I'd much prefer to be able to have an intimate discussion with my dinner partner without going deaf in the process.

There's plenty of restaurants in the city where you can have an intimate discussion...I go to Chambar because I like the loud atmosphere. I really don't think this city has enough rocking establishments with great food. Chambar is one of them, and I don't think they should change a bit.

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I'd much prefer to be able to have an intimate discussion with my dinner partner without going deaf in the process.

There's plenty of restaurants in the city where you can have an intimate discussion...I go to Chambar because I like the loud atmosphere. I really don't think this city has enough rocking establishments with great food. Chambar is one of them, and I don't think they should change a bit.

Besides ... isn't "chambar" the french term for loud & boisterous? Seems to fit the room IMO. Your point is well made waylman.

A.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have Tin Tin and Nashi Pear fantasies. Me, a fountain of the good stuff, mmm...so good.... :biggrin:

Cheers,

T

"Great women are like fine wine...they only get better with age."
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[besides ... isn't "chambar" the french term for loud & boisterous?  Seems to fit the room IMO.  Your point is well made waylman.

A.

Oh- I thought it was part of the Persian word for cucumber! :rolleyes:

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally made it to Chambar last night. I can't believe that I left it for that long.

We had a very early reservations (5:45) as it was a last minute decision to go. We were the 1st to arrive for dinner but the room filled up pretty quickly. Keep in mind a few things while reading my comments; my memory sucks, even though dinner was only last night; and while I do love to dine out, I'm not one to try to figure out every last ingrediant in a dish. I'm just happy to enjoy what is placed in front of me. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I started off with a Duvel and Colleen (my lovely wife) had a Vesper Lynn, an earl grey infused cocktail. Let me telly ya, I could picture myself on a sunny patio in the summer downing glass after glass of that cocktail.

For the 1st coarse Colleen had the Mushroom Cappuccino Soup and I had Ostrich Carpaccio with beet (I think) horseradish and buckwheat noodles. Both were fantastic!

For coarse # 2 Colleen had a Winter Salad (Red wine poached pear, watercress & endive salad. Caramelised pecan stilton vinaigrette - *disclaimer *copied from their site). I had Scallops with lentils and parma procuitto. Probably one of the best salads that I have ever tried and my scallops were one of the best dishes I have ever had! Both incredible.

For our 3rd coarse Collen had the appy of Braised Short Ribs with six grain risotto. Colleen loved the ribs. I had the Mussels Congolaise (fresh tomato, smoked chilli and cilantro with a touch of coconut cream and lime **) The mussels were perfectly cooked and a very generous portion. Very good (and with excellent frites).

For dessert (boy I'm full) we shared a Chocolate Terrine with chocolate cake. Sorry Lorna, can't give you a better description! Maybe Quintan can help fill in some of the blanks.

Between all the food Colleen had another Vesper Lynn and I had a Duchess De Bourgogne, a very strange but well enjoyed beer. This was actually a gift from Quintan. Thank you. I also had another beer but the name escapes me.

We were seated in the back and while the room did fill up, it was never really overly loud. We both love the look and feel of the room, although, while not an issue with us, I'd be way to much of a klutz to negotiate around the tight fitting tables.

Our server Cora was attentive, cheerful and quick with recommendations ( and patient when we couldn't make up our minds :raz:). Quintan was an excellent presence and came by often to check on us. He also very graciously brought us over a complimentary dessert wine from Barossa Valley (I know the name starts with a "T") to have with our dessert.

After close to 3 1/2 hours, we finally stumbled out, very happy in the knowledge that every accolade they have received in the past 1.5 years is very well desrved. A fantastic dining experience!!

Derek

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I've also been to Chambar recently, in the beginning of March. My uncle & dad really enjoyed the Bellevue Kriek from when we went for Dineout Vancouver earlier this year, so they had a couple of those throughout our meal. Even my 92-year-old grandma had one! :laugh:

Starters

My dad was pretty excited about the complimentary birthday appetizer he got, and he chose "foie de canard Villa Lorraine", which came with a blueberry (?) granita and 2 pieces of truffled brioche French toast. The menu said that the granita was a port & white grape granita, but I think it was blueberry. Whatever it was, it was DELICIOUS! It came in a cute little bowl with a tiny spoon. My parents & auntie & uncle (hereby known as "the adults") really enjoyed the foie gras. My sister ordered the warm octopus salad, which came with an avocado puree and, unfortunately, lots of cilantro. I would've liked it better without the cilantro, but the adults liked it. My aunt ordered the venison carpaccio, and it was a surprisingly large portion. The juniper berries really added that extra something.

We ordered the braised short rib appetizer as a main for my grandma, but she didn't really like it. I can't really remember too much about it other than the fact that it was quite yummy and everybody else liked it. I'm guessing my grandma didn't like it because it was dark-coloured (she can't see well because she has cataracts) and wasn't on the bone. We thought it was nicely presented and the meat very tender and flavourful. Oh well, can't win 'em all!

Mains

My dad, uncle, auntie and I all got the fallow venison loin. Of course, I had already decided on this weeks prior. And it didn't disappoint - the cherry flavour was a perfect match for the venison. I loved the gnocchi too - I liked it much better than the gnocchi I had at Fiction. Just a matter of taste, I suppose. The ricotta filling was light and cheesy. Mmmm... My sister had the honey-roasted duck breast, which she liked. My mom ordered the mussels coquotte, which are cooked with bacon and cream and shared them with my grandma (who liked the mussels better than her short ribs).

Dessert time!

My sister got the Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis & vanilla ice cream. I've had that a couple times before and wasn't particularly wowed by it, so I decided to go for something new. I don't really remember what it was (I'm sorry Ling!), but it was one of the heavier things on the menu (my favourite too!), and was something like a chocolate terrine, if I remember correctly. It's not on their online menu, so all I have is my memory to fall back on, which isn't saying a lot. I don't think there was any fruit in it - but I actually like fruit & chocolate combined. The dark chocolate-filled chambord poached pear with chocolate lavender ice cream was really tempting though. Actually, I was having a hard time choosing what I wanted, it all sounded so enticing!!

All in all a very nice meal. I requested a table in the back room, so we had a nice view. My grandma didn't complain much about Chambar afterwards, so she didn't dislike it as much as I thought she did. People were staring at us when we were leaving though, probably because they didn't expect to see a little old Chinese lady there! :laugh:

Oh I forgot to say that we had great service! Our server reminded me of Smith from Sex & the City. Heehee... I've been a few times and haven't had bad or indifferent service once. One little thing though - we were charged a service charge of 17%, but the menu says that the service charge is for parties of 8 or more. We were a party of 7; no matter though, as we would've tipped that much or more anyway.

Edited by chocomoo (log)
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  People were staring at us when we were leaving though, probably because they didn't expect to see a little old Chinese lady there!  :laugh:

Well they were probably thinking "I hope I'm still going to restaurants like Chambar when I'm 92!".

Cheers,

Anne

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