Regional Tasting Lounge (R.TL)

I had been looking forward to this 5-course dinner with 3 wine pairings at Regional Tasting Lounge for quite a few months. I took the Canada Line there with Kish, Dodo and Ka as the place is less than a minute's walk from Yaletown station. We were met with excellent service from the moment we stepped in. After we handed over our deal vouchers, we were promptly seated and given the seasonal 5-course tasting menu.

We added a loaf of house bread with chipotle butter ($6) as an appetizer since we were told that each dish would be shared between 2 people and we were worried there wouldn't be enough food. The bread was extremely crusty and both Dodo and I thought it was a bit hazardous to eat as the crumbs could easily scratch the insides of our mouths. Luckily the inside was soft and the chipotle was creamy with a spicy kick.

1st course: oak barrel smoked duck

We all thought the duck tasted a bit strange until we remembered that the meat was not cooked but smoked. The extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction added a bit of oiliness and tartness to the raw meat. The combination of flavours and textures was new to us and while we enjoyed trying it, we all agreed we would not order this dish again, but wouldn't mind eating it as part of a set menu.

wine pairing:

The wine pairings were for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th courses. The first wine was a chardonnay which was surprisingly rich and full-bodied. The second was a Muscatel from Spain that had a wonderfully sweet and fragrant scent. The taste was equally sweet with fruity tones. The last was a Cabernet Sauvignon, an oaky red that was very rich and bold. While it was enjoyable, it didn't go well with the mushroom risotto and scallops. It would have been a lot better with steak or lamb.

2nd course: French country pate

Both Dodo and Kish were surprised that the colourful patty was pate because it didn't taste like liver at all. There were bits of pistachio and herbs embedded in the pate, giving it a crunchy texture and fuller flavour.

3rd course: pan fried dumplings

Even though dumplings are very common, this was actually my favourite dish. The spicy ginger ponzu was delicious and balanced out the heaviness of the meat.

4th course: mushroom and truffle risotto (with scallops: +$8)

I'm really glad we added scallops because otherwise this dish would just be rice and mushrooms. I liked the taste, but the consistency was watery and lacked the smoothness and creaminess typical of a risotto. I could actually see and taste each grain of rice, so the dish was more like rice in soup.

dessert: chocolate terrine

The chocolate terrine was extremely rich, but luckily the creme fraiche complemented it well with its subtle tartness. The fresh blueberries and raspberry sauce also added a sweet-tart fruit flavour that made the dessert a lot more refreshing.

We all enjoyed our dining experience, but the prices would have been quite expensive without the deal vouchers. We paid $55 for each tasting menu with wine pairings for 2 people. The portions were definitely not big enough for 2 people to share, and I wasn't full at all after the meal. But the food and wine were good quality and the service was great, so I have no complaints.

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