Daman and I were recently invited by the nice people at TASTE resto-lounge at Five Sixty to experience this new downtown Vancouver spot. TASTE offers a variety of cocktails and wine with thoughtfully created shared plates. For those of you who want to gather with friends before heading out to enjoy the nightlife, TASTE is located next door to the FIVE SIXTY night club.
Executive Chef and Manager Renaldo Decembrini hosted us along with the lovely Front of House Lead, Ashley. 80% of the ingredients at TASTE are locally sourced and organic. Chatting with Chef Decembrini we learned that even the chocolate comes from a local chocolatier and the serving boards are made with BC Maple. We also got to know Ashley throughout the night and she gave us valuable information on each menu item we sampled. She really knows her stuff!
There were an array of interesting cocktails on the menu. Daman loved the SeaDog (Tequila, house made Orgeat syrup, Islay Scotch, Caraway, and salt water). I opted for a strong yet girly drink called Island Tale (3 year Havana run, Cointreau, Pink Peppercorn Syrup, and house made bitters). The menu offers suggested pairings of food items with wine and/or cocktail which I found to be a bonus.
An amuse bouche of arugula, tomato, feta, and balsamic started off our meal. Simple and refreshing local flavours.
It was a Buck a Shuck evening so we went for some BC oysters on the half shell. They were accompanied with lemon slices and three varieties of salts: lime, chipotle, and orange. We both love oysters and we enjoyed them. I do still like my horseradish and cocktail sauce though.
Next was the Bacon Chutney, Pear and Brie Stack. The Brie Stack was accompanied by Sticky Onion Marmalade, Fig Compote and Chimichurri sauce. I don’t eat pork so they did a pesto for me. Very thoughtful and delicious!
Chef Decembrini also brought us a plate of house-smoked olives which were divine. This was an extra special treat.
Next we tried the Grilled Cheese wedges. Daman’s eyes lit up when Ashley told us there was blue cheese in them. The combination of the baby mozza, feta and blue accompanied with the Cranberry Ketchup….elegant comfort food.
We could smell the aroma of lamb coming from the kitchen and knew it was time for the Lamb Pops. The pops were served with Fig compote, Gherkin Aioli and Yam Fritters. Daman and I both love lamb so we were very excited for this dish. We both wanted more, but we got the last lamb of the night so we were very lucky. Ashley recommended two great reds suited to each of us to pair with the lamb. Daman loves reds with firm tannins so he had the Pascual Toso, a Malbec (Reserve 2009) from Argentina. I enjoy a smoother finish so I had a glass of the McManis Cabernet Sauvignon (2010) from California.
At this point, we were full and impressed with the dishes we sampled. Next was dessert and we opted for the chocolate and cheese platter. All local cheeses and chocolate. The smoked cheddar was our favourite. It was a perfect way to end our meal. Our stomachs were happy and we were ready to go out and enjoy the rest of our Friday night.
If you want to go for a new experience, give TASTE Resto-lounge a try. They did a great job with simple and creative dishes that were fresh and flavourful. The concept at TASTE does set them apart from a typical resto-lounge and we were pleasantly surprised. We love that the team at TASTE are committed to a local food philosophy. Chef Decembrini also mentioned to us that he plans on incorporating pieces from local artists as a part of the decor at TASTE. Can’t wait to see how the art compliments those beautiful red chandeliers!
Thanks to Chef Decembrini, Ashley and the rest of the team for hosting us and providing us a TASTE-ful experience!
With Executive Chef & Manager, Renaldo Decembrini and Front of House Lead, Ashley
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