Chambar, Vancouver

Before leaving to an undiscovered city I always do research as to what restaurant would be ideal to eat at. I take into consideration the experience of contributors to Urbanspoon local bloggers, travel bloggers and the actual menu itself. However, when my trip to San Francisco was canceled because hotel prices skyrocketed suddenly, my sister and I hesitantly opted for familiar Vancouver, BC.

 
We chose Vancouver for a few reasons: we don’t have to cross the boarder = not having to worry about customs and how much we spend, there is an abundance of great restaurants that we have yet to try, and finally, we really haven’t explored the city before. Each time I have been to Vancouver it is to attend a concert or an event, never to discover Vancouver itself. Another issue we faced when traveling to Vancouver for events was that we never strayed far from the event’s location which caused us to eat at our hotel’s restaurant or whatever was near by. We quickly became accustomed to the area surrounding BC Place and that was all we would see.
 
The first night we were unsure where to eat. I had planned the other two evenings (posts soon to come) but I left our first night, Wednesday, a wild card. Various staff members at our hotel, The Four Seasons Vancouver, had told us to try Chambar, a Belgian restaurant that is famed for its varieties of mussels. Although the sound of mussels didn’t make me jump, I was intrigued by how many people urged us to go. A $6.00 cab ride later we arrived on an unassuming street where Chambar’s entryway glowed ominously with red lighting and black trim. We entered and were immediately guided past the black bar to the back room which was much brighter and filled with people. 
 
The restaurant was busy for a Wednesday, certainly not what I am accustomed to living in the Okanagan where Wednesdays guarantee you to get in to whatever restaurant you choose. The service was slow from the get go and when we talked about how busy we found it in Chambar a waitress had told us this was considered slow. Perhaps the service is drawn out consistently?
 
My (Hogarth’s) Mistake
Made with Earl Grey infused gin, cinnamon lemon syrup & orange zest.
 
The provocative list of cocktails drew me in immediately and I ordered for my sister and I. The cocktail fittingly named Hogarth’s Mistake should have been an omen for me not to order it, although I enjoyed it, my sister and her past relationship with gin was unmistakably sour. We stuck with wine for the rest of the evening. 
Lapin a la Moutard
Sherry braised rabbit cannelloni, pistachios, dates, radicchio & dijon mustard sauce.
 
Now on to the good stuff! The appetizers were undoubtedly the best part of our meals. I had ordered the rabbit and mustard cannelloni. I found it filling and deliciously rich with small pieces of meat nestled within a creamy mustard sauce. It was a hit at our table.
Foie de canard “Villa Lorraine”
Spiced foie gras terrine, port reduction, kriek granita &truffled brioche french toast.
 
My parents both ordered the foie gras although it is big enough to share. We are all suckers for foie gras and this night was no different. The plate is laid out in terms of textures, but I don’t think the small pile of bread crumbs and brown sugar (?) is necessary as the brioche adds enough crunch against the creamy texture of the foie gras terrine. 
Les asperges au crabe
Local organic grilled asparagus, yuzu & saffron dungeness crab butter.
 
My sister made a wise choice as well with her asparagus and crab dish. It is perfect for anyone who is looking to get in their veggies in a decadent way. The dungeness crab butter with saffron was a home run!
Moules Congolaise
 
We took everyone’s advice and ordered the mussels. There are three different kinds you can chose from and we all ordered something different. The Moules Coquotte is a white wine cream sauce with smoked bacon lardons and spring onions. The Moules Vin Blanc is white wine, butter, celery, leeks and pepper, very light, good for someone on a diet and the broth ends up tasting like it would be a better soup. 
Moules Vin Blanc
 
The Moules Congolaise is what everyone told us to order. It is a tomato coconut cream broth with chilli, lime and cilantro. This was the better of all three, although the Coquotte would be great if it weren’t for the rich appetizers that we had just finished devouring. If I were to go back to Chambar I would not order the mussels simply because Kelowna and the Okanagan have an abundance of restaurants that prepare the dish just as well with better fries may I add (at Bouchons Bistro). 
Broth of Moules Congolaise, spicy and great for dipping frites.
 
Our first night wasn’t exactly a bust, the appetizers are worth going back for but what Chambar is famous for turned out to be an overrated hype. 
Chambar on Urbanspoon
 

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A combination of her first trip abroad to Italy and living in the heart of Canada’s second largest wine region inspired her to live the Wanderfull life. When she can’t get away she tours her home of the Okanagan wine valley in British Columbia for food and wine. Wander full with her whether it’s on a VIP tour of the Louvre in Paris or hiking a vineyard trail in Kelowna.

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