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Archer, DOVF2024

It has been a week into Dine Out Vancouver 2024. This is the food and drink festival that encourages locals and visitors alike to go out and experience their favourite or new restaurant across 3 courses, at a discounted prices. 2024 has seen the largest number of participants and even Michelin recommend restaurants are taking part. Case in point, Archer, who got their recommendation during 2023 induction ceremony.

Tonight we were downtown to try out their 3 course menu for $65. At $65 they are on the higher end of the price list, so we were here to see if it was worth it.

I was dining with Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld, who is notoriously lactose intolerant. So even though I probably would have chosen the 2 vegetarian options for the first and second course, was unable to due to their being dairy in both. Instead, we went with the meat and seafood options and I would have the former with their red wine pairings.

At $35 extra for three 5oz pour, I highly recommend the add on. I found the wines cut into some of the monotonous flavours and offered a break. Notes on each with the accompanying dish pairing below.

Joyce on the other hand opted for the Midnight in Manhattan cocktail, lured in by the promise of hojicha. Bourbon infused hojicha, stone fruit syrup, angostura, and vermouth. I did not get roasted hojicha quality or its creaminess. The other accompanying flavours seem to mask it it more medicinal notes. However, overall it was a nice sipper and complimentary to dinner with a savoury acidic quality to it.

For appetizers we had to pass on the vegetarian option of the Spicy Burrata with house-made Chilli Oil, Crispy Onion, and Sourdough. Although in hindsight this would have been the one to get as a nice gentle start.

The Venison Tartare was the opposite. Black Garlic Aioli, Cured Duck Yolk, Parmesan, and Malted Chips. Unknowingly we made this even more decadent by adding truffle over the mix. It unfortunately did not make a ripple as the pungent flavour of onion dominated. The dish felt complete, like it was to be stuffed in a bun and steamed or to be stir fried with vegetables. As is it needed a base and the thin wispy crackers only added a hint of texture.

Here, my glass of Grey Monk Pinot Noir came in handy. The perfect accompaniment to cut into the heavy dish with some acidity. But we were basically left eating spoons of raw minced meat as is. I should have asked for a handful of crostinis.

Between the two I would recommend the Hamachi Crudo with Vinaigrette, Ikura, Togarashi Crisp, and Shaved Vegetables. This is direction I would have liked to start in, even despite how salty it was. At first I thought it was just the brine-y fish eggs, but having the white fish as is, I realized it was over salted. And similar to the dish above, the crisps here only offered a textural component and was not substantial enough to buffer away some of the excess seasoning. I did like the bites of fragrant chilli oil that I got, and how it went straight up my nostrils and linger at the back of my throat. However, as a raw fish dish I would have liked to make out and appreciate the natural flavours of the seafood and vegetables as is

Moving on to entrees, I think the vegetarian option of the Mushroom Cavatelli would have been the way to go, for my tastes. Sous Vide Egg, Foraged and Cultivated Mushrooms, Truffle Cream Sauce, and Calabrian Chilli Crust. It sounded filling and tasty as a mushroom enthusiast.

Although I did like the Fraser Valley Duck Breast, and out of the two we tried, I would recommend this one served with Wilted Greens, Golden Beets, Beet Puree, Pickled Cherry, Sauce au Foie Gras. I have had their duck before and it was consistent tonight. The plate came with two thick slabs roasted well. But it was all the accompanying elements that highlighted it best and had us cleaning the plate. From the gravy-like jus to the sweet beets and bitter greens to chase.

Here, the wine pairing was the Laughing Stock’s Cab Franc Merlot a great blend to once again compliment, yet breathe fresh air into the one toned dish. I found it neutral and less acidic with minimum tannis. Not necessary a wine I would have as is.

The lighter seafood option was the Miso Caramel Sablefish with Choy, Fregola Sarda, and Chorizo Nage. Also tasty but not to my tastes, given that I am not a fan of wilted greens like Asian choy, or the texture of the pearls of grain. Overall a prefer a more punchier flavour, although did find the miso caramel sauce stunning and the fish cooked perfectly within in it. Joyce liked this one and finished the plate.

For dessert Joyce could not participate with no alternative dessert options, so I was on my own to try and finish their 2 desserts.

The Salted Caramel Pot de Creme gets my vote between the two; with Espresso Biscotti, Whipped Ganache, and Chocolate Pearls. It was not just a blanket of sweet, but the pudding offer red a salty and savoury quality that bode well as a dip for the dry and crumbly cookie. And there was enough topping on this to add textural interest to each scoop.

I am less keen on chocolate and mousse in general so would normal deter from a Dark Chocolate Mousse. With two layers to this cake it was rich and velvety, the kind of chocolate you lick clean off your spoon. Ideal for chocolate lovers. I on the other had really appreciated the Champagne Sorbet sitting on a pool of ground Oreo cookie crumb. The sorbet was delightful and effervescent, delivering on the promise of bubbles.

In short, if you have yet to visit the Michelin recommended Archer, this is now your chance; with a tasting menu that takes you through the variety and extent of their Asian influenced flavours. I did the math and a la carte would you be paying around $90, so at $65 for the three courses, you are saving!

1152 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A5
(778) 737-6218

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