Any foodie knows that eating your way through a city is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture. And what better way to do it than to have it hosted by Hawksworth Restaurant? As part of Dine Out Vancouver, Hawksworth Restaurant offered a series of communal dinners in their heritage York Room inspired by some of the best culinary cities. Held on five separate dates, food lovers explored the London, Paris, Rome, Bangkok, Tokyo and Barcelona.
Complete with the standard Dine Out three-course prix fix meal and cocktail pairings.
The first course included salted tamarind beef, green papaya, crispy shrimp and cilantro. It was a light refreshing appetizer, that had a generous portion size (relative to being a Dine Out meal) and the started the mood out right. It was paired with Bird’s eye chili Aperol, gin, kalamansi honey with fresh lime – starting out light and finishing off with a spicy kick.
Next, was a fish course wrapped beautifully in a leaf. The aroma was nice and inside you found a steamed Thai snapper, with galangal, lemongrass, koffir lime and chili. The fish was flaky and perfectly cooked and the flavours weren’t too overpowering which let the fish be the star of the dish. The cocktail pairing had a Lemongrass rum with kaffir lime soaked pineapple juice.
The next dish was duck red curry, with a family-styled shared platter of Thai Jasmine rice. The flavours were great, and portions were spot on. And the fresh herbs really set the dish off to a good start. And the best part was the crispy duck skin that you would find soaked in the curry in between bites which was a nice surprise.
The final course of the evening was Coconut milk ice cream, young coconut, mango, lemon grass jelly. Hands down the best part of the dinner. The presentation was impactful, the ice cream was perfectly creamy and the coconut, mango and lemon grass were great accompaniments. The only issue was the portion size as I could have easily had two, three or even half a gallon! I may or may not be still thinking about this dish. To keep things interesting, the cocktail for this course had Redbull, whiskey and dollop of ice cream. Great for a Friday night perhaps, but a little too strong for me.
Generally, Side Dishes was a fun alternative to other Dine Out meals and with the reasonable price I could see why diners jumped to buy tickets to this series (it was sold out, and an additional night was added). I can appreciate that Hawskworth used many ingredients and cooking styles unique to Thailand – bon appetit!