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Bacchus at Wedgewood, Dine Out 2023

Today we were celebrating the launch of 2023’s Dine Out Vancouver season, running from January 20th to February 5th. Seventeen days to try the best of Vancouver’s culinary scene through set menus designed to showcase each respective restaurant, while saving the diner money. The latter, an important point coming out of an expensive holiday season for most.

This year’s launch was hosted at Bacchus restaurant located in Wedgewood Hotel. The hotel is one of the oldest, long-standing, privately-owned hotels. In an era of modern conveniences where less is more and minimal art beats out the impressionists, it is refreshing to see such a property and space with so much history remain. I will absolutely need to return for a building and hotel tour, as I am told all of their artwork on display is on rotation, and a piece you appreciate today may not be there next month for viewing.

Bacchus is the perfect location for our preview reception, as Dine Out Vancouver started in 2003 and Bacchus is the one of the only restaurants that has participated in the landmark event since its inception. Over 20 years ago there were only 57 restaurants participating, and since then the number has grown to 370. And Bacchus’ in house resident head Chef Rob Feenie was one of the first Chefs to sign up with his then fine dining project Lumiere. So, this all felt full circle today.

This year promises to be the biggest yet, due to all the pent-up demand from years in a pandemic, and with the option of Vancouver’s newly minted Michelin restaurants to choose from. Plus, 18 culinary events including Michelin Star chefs partnering up for specialty pop-up dinners.

Our night would have us splitting up into assigned groups and visiting 2 restaurants to try their entire Dine Out menu with drink pairings (where applicable), family style. But first we would get a sampling of what Bacchus would have in store, presented by their Chef in residence. Each course has a suggested wine pairing, but today we were sampling other BC fines wines. A few tables curated with multiple bottles to try form Siren’s call and Sonara in Osoyoos; Monte Creek Winery in Monte Creek; Haywire which is part of OK Crush Pad in Summerland; and Langley’s Backyard Vineyards.

As we sipped and savoured, small bites travelled the room. Each, a one bite morsel sampling from their dine out menu. This was a great way to get a tease of what you can expect. Should you make reservations for their $65 European menu you can choose between 3 options for 3 courses: appetizers, entrees, and desserts; with gluten-free and vegetarian options/substitutions available. Each available option is listed below, with notes on only what I was able to try.

Ricotta Mascarpone Ravioli Trio with Black Truffle Beurre Blanc, Grana Padano, and Pecorino Romano. As the most substantial sounding, this is the one I would gravitate towards naturally. And after trying it, it is the one I would recommend. Thick and chewy squares of pasta enrobed in luscious cream. The cheesy centre offering a nice starchy texture. Mostly salty and cheesy in flavour, I did not get any truffle notes.

If you are looking for something more lean, look to the Tuna Tartare with Albacore Tuna, Tomato, Avocado, Tamari, Tempura Crumb, and Wonton Crisps. This was like a refined poke where citrus heightened the fresh seafood and crunchy bits added some textural interest.

They also have a soup option in the Celeriac Velouté with Aged Cheddar, Black Pepper Crouton, and Domenica Fiore Olive Oil. This I did not get a taste of, and would not normally order because I feel soup needs a sandwich.

Your choice really boils down to how much food do you want, moving into 2 more courses. Or the way I see it: how much value can I get for my money and what seems like the most substantial and intricate dish I cannot prepare for myself.

For entrees I really like the Lightly Cooked Local Steelhead with Wild Mushrooms and Red Wine-Brown Butter Bearnaise. This dish was so buttery with barely cooked pink salmon surrounded by equally soft vegetables, brought together in a buttery ponzu-like sauce. I would normally go for the red meat option below, but having tried the 2, I would lean more towards this one as a dish you could finish in one sitting.

The Cache Creek Farm Bavette was lot heavier and richer with its Peppercorn Demi and Haricot Verts Pommes Fondant. Meaty and tender with the bed of mashed potatoes, this had a classic appeal.

We did not get a taste of the vegetarian option of Wild Mushroom Risotto with Wild Mushrooms, Mushroom Jus, Shaved Pecorino, and Truffle Beurre Blanc. By the sounds of it, this would have been my second-place pick of entrees. Although having tried it, the meat option was a little one toned for me in its single bite.

I did not get a taste of their Dine Out desserts like the Apple Galette with Granny Smith Apples, Frangipane, Caramel, and House Made Cardamon Ice Cream. The ice cream would have melted as a passed around dish. Although by the sounds of it, this is the one I would order based on my preference.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding is their vegan option with Butterscotch, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Brandy Snap and they also have House Made Sorbets & Ice Creams as an option.

In closing, it was hard to get a true reading of this menu, given such a limited exposure of it. I do not know how each dish is presented and how much food you get. Although from what I had it tasted good, but at $65 per person good? And
I would expect more from such an acclaimed celebrity chef in the kitchen. At the higher end of the Dine Out Vancouver menu scale, this one is for a nicer night out, when you are craving a classic approachable meal, done right. Served in a unique spot, Bacchus is one to consider.

Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
845 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1V1, Canada
+1 604-608-5319

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