A Two Rivers Specialty Meats and Donnelly Group Collaboration.
As part of Dine Out Vancouver 2018, “Butcher at the Butcher” hosted a beer and meat fest like no other. They pride themselves on working with a number of local/BC suppliers in developing and curating their modern pub menus, so on this night, they chose to shine the spotlight on two of them. In partnership with “Two Rivers Meats” and “Postmark Brewing” they held a special dining event that combined locally-sourced meats and pairs them locally-brewed beers. For those who missed it, this is my recap of that great night.
I was invited to attend as media, so as always: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.
This evening, the “Donnelly Group’s” culinary team prepared a number of meat-centric, locally-sourced dishes. There were three food stations, that served up a different meat dish and suggested which beer to pair it with. Along with canapés passed around for the duration of the evening. Tickets were only $69, which included taxes and service charges. With each ticket you got six food and four drink vouchers to be redeemed. You can basically visit each food station twice and try all but one of the beers offered from the bar. The canapés were all you can eat and there was plenty for everyone.
During our dinner, we got to meet Fraser, who is the owner of “Two Rivers”. He, like everyone else, was here enjoying the feast; and was highly interested to see how his product was being received. Given the smiles around the room and the piles of bones on each plate, it was safe to say that everyone was loving the food and enjoying themselves. We learned a little more about “Two Rivers”, from Fraser. We heard how they have been working with the “Donnelly Group” for five years now, supplying all burgers, custom sausages, and steaks to all of public houses. They do this with much care, with a focus on where the meat comes from and how it is treated and raised. And with their great quality produce they make everything from scratch, from their factory in Vancouver.
The following were dishes from the food stations, followed by all that was offered from off the travelling trays. Each station was set up with a server either slicing, scooping, or pouring for diners who redeemed a ticket. A sign marketed their feature and suggested which “Postmark” product was an ideal pairing for it.
I arrived first thing to be able to see everything set up and in its entirety. Like the whole slab of beef brisket that would be slowly sliced down to its end, as the night progressed. Here, you had your choice of enjoying the slow cooked beef, as is in all its glory, or as the feature in a brisket slider. This would be a spiced and braised, fatty piece of brisket served on a bun with your choice of condiments and vegetables. Like ketchup, Dijon mustard, shredded lettuce, and tomato.
What started as a slider became me simply taking the brisket out and eating the meat on its own. One, it was so much better as is, two with all the food to come I had to pace myself and not fill up on carb. After all this event guaranteed you didn’t leave feeling hungry.
The brined and fried chicken station was my favourite, and admittedly much better earlier on in the night then later. Then the pieces of chicken were large and juicy, with a thick coating of breading doubling its size. If the colonel had an older, refined bother, this would be how he prepared his chicken. However as the night progressed the pieces got smaller, the breading thinner, and the frying a little drier and darker. And this is reason why I always arrive to everything on time, if not early. The early bird gets the worm for a reason. The side of mini mac & cheese. Was pretty consistent. No exciting flavours, just a good sized serving to offer as a neutral base for the featured meat.
The “Sausage Plate” station allowed you to stylize your chosen sausage with a bevy of condiments. Grilled onions, sauerkraut, and four different flavoured mustards. This spoke to “Two River’s Meat” custom creating sausages for Donnelly in their long standing relationship with them. Unique links like tonight’s jalapeño cheddar and hot smoked turkey sausage. One ticket only got you half of one sausage, so I gave up two tickets to be able to try a half of each, and feast on a whole.
Each segment was sliced up and laid to rest on a bed of crispy French fries. Then over both a generous ladle of canapé spread showered them. From here you used tongs and spoons to pile on what you liked from the six bowls of condiments before you. The turkey sausage had a unique blend of spices, a little stiffer and more mild compared to the juicy jalapeño pork sausage I preferred with its zesty heat and squirting, salty, cheesy juices.
The rest of the meats flowed around the room, balanced on wooden boards, in the arms of servers. If you missed out on one round, you were sure to catch them and more on the second to tenth.
My favourite and the crowd’s favourite was the thick cuts of gooey and crispy “Candied Bacon”. Not much more to say then perfection, as the best cut and flavour I have had. In fact I wish I had a bowl of them before me as I am recalling this to write about it.
The “Crispy fried & glazed pork ribs” came as a close second. Also sticky with a little bit of sweet. These generously coated, tangy ribs fell right off the bone as you reached out for one.
The “Bresaola toasts with truffle & goat cheese” was a refreshing break from all heavier cuts. A thin slice of salted prosciutto that matched the saltiness of the truffle and a cheese. Although I would have liked a salsa or some greens just to brighten it up a bit.
The “Duck Wings” were actually duck drums. A few bites of drier meat well seasoned with a bit of heat and lots of honey from the sweet chilli sauce used. I just wished the used the same recipe on duck breast instead, after all that is where all the meat is.
The “Lamb Belly with cilantro & mint, yogurt and cucumber” was tender pulled strings of lamb, piled high on a crisp wonton. It was tender and crispy, with the yogurt and herbs giving the bite some tang and freshness. It was a great canapé to start on.
For drinks you were only given four tickets, and with five “Postmark Brewing” drink selections to choose from, you had to make your decision wisely. You got a taster for each, but if you choose your dining companions correctly you could pool tickets together and try more than the allotted four for all five. The options available are listed below.
Falconers IPA — 6%/52 IBU
• Hops- Falconer’s Flight
• Malt- Pale Ale, Maris Otter, Crystal, Aromatic
• Yeast – American Ale
Gose — 4.1%/8 IBU
• Malt- Pilsner, Wheat
• Yeast- American Ale
• Other- Coriander, Orange Peel, Salt
Cider — 5.8%
• Cider Apples – Snow, Michelin
• Sweet Apples – Spartan, Golden Delicious
VUW Merlot Barrel-Aged French Saison — 6%/ 25 IBU
• Malt- French Pilsner, Wheat, Caramel Wheat, Aromatic, Caramel
• Yeast- French Saison
• Other- Aged in Merlot barrels for 6 months
So, if you are sad to have read that this came and went without you knowing about it, don’t miss out Donnelly’s next great Dine Out event: Foodie Trivia. This is also a ticketed event for one night only. Here they take a foodie spin on Donnelly Group’s already popular pub trivia nights. On February 1st at the Bimini Public House. Foodie Trivia is being developed and run by Nice Guys Trivia, the city’s best trivia hosts. Here, teams of up to six players will test themselves in a bowl of food, chef, and restaurant-themed questions. They will be competing for prizes and glory whilst enjoy a three-course dinner created by the “Donnelly Group’s” chef team Alvin Pillay, Sarah Stewart, and Chris Stewart. Each course will be accompanied by a paired cocktail and snacks will be served in between to make sure that no-one is competing on an empty stomach. Tickets are available for $75, which includes taxes and service charges, and are inclusive of the above mentioned food and drink.
Tickets are available and on sale at www.dineoutvancouver.com. And For more information about Donnelly Group pubs and cocktail bars, visit www.donnellygroup.ca.