My first and only dine out of 2016 (yes I’m cutting back from last year) is Ancora Restaurant. My original intention was to go to Anna Lena but unfortunately I did not reserve it in time.
I started off with the lobster bisque as my appetizer and I need to say the presentation was not so good. The colours weren’t visually appealing. The flavours though were slightly more impressive than the presentation. I found this lobster bisque warmer than the regular soup you get served at Western restaurants. This was a pleasant surprise and definitely made me happy. Now the flavours themselves were not that great. You could definitely taste the lobster but it wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. I also found it slightly on the saltier side. It also could have done with some crunchy component to really balance it off. But the texture was pretty luscious so the rating I would give it is…
Another appetizer we had was the crab causa which was quite a mix. It consisted of a few different textures and sauces. The emulsions and the sauces made everything very confusing. You’re first met with this sour flavour from the olive emulsion and then afterwards your hit with an almost spicy sensation but not overly spicy. This was interesting BUT the problem was all these flavours managed to mask the flavour of the crab. You could physically see the crab and taste it separately but if you put it all together you lose the real essence of the crab flavour.
Moving on to entrées, I ordered the braised beef short rib. The puree on the bottom only added a smooth texture but other than that I could not taste the mushrooms at all. The potato piece in the middle was not bad. It was crunchy but the skin could have been crunchier. The braised beef short rib was good with the fatty bits but unfortunately I felt that it could have been softer. A little more time would have been perfect. The onion marmalade added a bit of a sweetness to it which balanced out the savouriness and heaviness of the beef a little bit. I could have done with a bit more onion marmalade. As a dish all together, it was pretty well compiled but a stronger puree could have help make a better impression on the dinner as an overall. Nothing special.
The Pacific Lingcod Paella was definitely not what I expected at all. It was nothing like the usual paellas that I’ve had before. The rice itself was somewhat dry and lacked flavour. It was more on the sweet side, because of the corn, than anything else. The lingcod to me was nicely pan fried but it was not as juicy as I would have liked. It was also on the saltier side which balanced off the paella. I wished there was a bit more chorizo in the paella as well. The smoked paprika emulsion added nothing to it at all. I would have preferred if there was some sauce to give it a bit of wetness to the rice.
For dessert, the yogurt panna cotta was nothing but sour. The textures tasted slightly off and unappealing to the palate. The orange marmalade made the biggest impression and the only impression on me. The sour flavour was definitely my cup of tea but the textures were not.
The chocolate raspberry mousse tasted very generic. Even the combination itself was a typical restaurant dessert. You can not go wrong with raspberry and chocolate. The chocolate mousse tasted like chocolate mousse. The raspberry tasted like raspberry. The vanilla ice cream tasted like vanilla ice cream (the vanilla was quite strong). This is a no fail dessert but because there was nothing that stood out about it, nothing that was exceptionally well done. And there was no creativity involved, it was just a sad dessert.
Overall: Most of the sauces on the plate added almost no flavour to dish but confusion. The mains themselves had no major faults but just nothing special either. There was nothing about this meal that really stood out or was innovative. No major flaws and no major wins.
Personal Thoughts on Dine Out
After my usual tradition of going to Dine Out for almost 10 years now, is it really worth it? Especially after another increase in price, is it still worth it? Well to be honest, I’m not even sure anymore. I feel like if I wanted a real experience of a restaurant in Vancouver. I would go for their usual meals. I understand that its most expensive but you get a bigger menu to choose from and you get to try the full potential of the restaurant. During dine out period its always very busy and the servers never have time for you. Also the cooking might not always be on par and you might not get to try their food to the full potential. I know that during dine out you get to basically test out their ability to work under pressure but over that, I prefer to try their regular restaurant quality.
Does this mean that I will stop going to dine out? Probably not, but just less than before. Once a year.