Sunday, October 16, 2011


I've always wanted to try Ensemble when I heard that Chef Dale Mackay, Top Chef winner and Lumiere chef, will be opening up this restaurant after Lumiere closed. I had a week where I didn't have to work overtime so I Love Hotdogs surprised me one night and took me there for dinner. Ensemble is a contemporary French restaurant that serves mostly tapas. Most of the dishes are smaller and meant for sharing. They recommend 3 - 4 dishes per person. We ordered 6 appetizer/main dishes and 2 desserts between the two of us.


When I arrived at the restaurant, I was greeted and shown to the table as I Love Hotdogs was already there. The first thing I noticed was that the restaurant was quite dark and the second thing I noticed was that the chairs in the restaurant looked like the chairs from db Bistro.

After browsing through the menu and debating what to eat, we finally placed our order.

Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio 
Fresh Peas, Crisp Shallots, Rosemary Bannock

The beef was really tender and the sweetness of the peas complimented the dish really well. The bannock (a dense type of fry-bread) had a slight rosemary taste to it and I really enjoyed it.

Overall, this dish was fresh and tasty.

Sweet and Sour Eggplant
Baba Ghanoush, Yogurt, Tomato

This dish was listed in the 101 Best Things to Eat and Drink in Vancouver 2011 (Vancouver Magazine). The eggplant was cooked just right and it had a bit of an Asian flavour to it. I really liked the presentation of this dish. It reminded me of sushi rolls!

Cornmeal Crusted Scallops 
Corn Succotash, Smoked Masataki, Sea Asparagus, Chicken and Scallop Jus

I thought that this dish was okay. The scallops were cooked well, but the flavours didn't really stand out for me. But the sea asparagus was tasty.

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Apple-Horseradish Slaw, Watermelon, Fried Pickle

The pulled pork sandwich was good. I Love Hotdogs favourite part of the dish was the parsley watermelon. The small cube of watermelon was really refreshing and the parsley surprisingly paired really well with it. The deep fried pickle was interesting as I never ate anything like that before.

Black Cod with Thai Broth 
Pea shoots, Coriander, Chili Oil

When this dish arrived, it smelled soooo good. The cod was cooked perfectly. And I must say that this was the best broth I've ever had! It's full of flavour and it is something I will definitely order again!

Poached and Crispy Chicken
Peas, Chanterelles, Red Wine Braised Pearl Onions

Out of all the dishes we ordered, this dish was probably my least favourite. The poached chicken didn't have any flavour and the crispy chicken wasn't that crispy. The chanterelles and peas were good, but it was unfortunate that the main part of the dish wasn't good.

And finally dessert! I already knew what I was going to order, a souffle! I Love Hotdogs ordered a Chocolate Fondant.

Chocolate Fondant
Hazelnut-Nougatine Ice Cream

The chocolate fondant was really good! The cake was light and fluffy and the chocolate tasted like really good quality chocolate. The ice-cream and nougatine was good and complimented the chocolate really well.

Soufflé of the Day
Raspberry souffle with chocolate ice-cream

The waiter mentioned that it will take about 15 minutes for the souffle. I was more than happy to wait! And this is worth the wait! The souffle was incredible! It was light, fluffy and had a hint of raspberry flavour to it.

And the damage:
The cheque

Overall Impressions: The food was good. I was almost hoping for a bit more and may have had my expectations too high. The dishes that stood out for me were the Black Cod with Thai Broth and Souffle. I will definitely go back and order those two dishes. I Love Hotdogs thought the portion sizes were small for the price we paid (which I agree). He was still hungry when we left the restaurant! While there is room for improvement, Ensemble has enough potential to warrant a return visit (for the the souffle and black cod with Thai broth!!)

850 Thurlow Street
Vancouver, BC
Ensemble on Urbanspoon

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