Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CinCin Ristorante & Bar – Dessert Review

Restaurant: CinCin Ristorante & Bar – Review on dessert only

Cuisine: Italian/Mediterranean/Fine dining
Last visited: November 24, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC (Robson Street/West End/Downtown)
1154 Robson Street

Price Range: $50+

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Dessert: 5.5
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 6
Overall: n/a (just came for desserts)
Additional comments:

  • Fine dining in Vancouver
  • Restaurant + Bar: 5pm-midnight
  • Late menu: 11pm-midnight
  • Extensive wine bar
  • Gourmet dessert menu: Chef Thierry Busset from France
  • Beautiful Mediterranean/Italian décor and feel
  • Brightly lit, great lighting
  • View of Robson Street
  • Coat check service
  • Open kitchen
  • Will soon open bakery near Coast on Alberni & Burrard

**Recommendation: n/a – didn’t try enough of the menu

CinCin Ristorante & Bar is one of Vancouver’s fine dining Italian restaurants. It attracts locals and celebrities and often hosts parties for high profile events like Vancouver International Film Festival.

I only came for the dessert and it was under special circumstances, so I don’t feel it would be fair to rate the service and overall experience I received. As usual I will focus on the food, specifically the dessert. I will mention that I did get to talk to the pastry chef, so that’s why I can give an even more detailed review that I usually do…and you thought it was impossible! ;)

The pastry chef Thierry Busset is from France and his experience and training comes from working in places such as France and London. His desserts were made with care, and a few of the ingredients were imported to guarantee a gourmet experience. The execution and style of the desserts is very European - but also much more French than it was Italian. From ingredients to presentation it is well worth it to come again...for dessert at least.

Now I'll let you in on a secret - CinCin is actually planning to open a bakery near Alberni & Burrard where the new COAST Restaurant is located. I can't wait until that happens.

On the table:

  • Caramelized Apple Tart 5.5/6
    • Tahitian Vanilla Gelato and Caramel Sauce $14.50
    • Dessert wine pairing: Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Aszu 2000 $18.00
    • I had it with the wine pairing (for those who ‘know’ me I rarely drink), but in this case I’m glad I had the pairing because it really made a difference. It really brought out the caramel taste in the tart. It was amazing.
    • This tart reminded me exactly of the ones I had in Paris from gourmet/best bakeries (such as Poilane) or even the apple strudels I had in Vienna. It was light, flaky and very delicate. It was a pretty big tart, which I wasn’t expecting especially for a fine dining restaurant. The presentation was clean and simple and it was served warm or even a bit room temperature. The caramel was warm though.
    • The apples were baked until they were so soft and tender. I was wondering how they got so soft, but the secret was in the apple used (Elstar apple), the paper thin slices he used (hand cut), and the way it was layered (one even layer). Everything was baked really evenly.
    • The apples are sliced into very thin wedges and he actually hand slices the apples, which blew me away…because I was almost 98% sure it was done with a mandolin. Talk about handle with care.The apple slice was almost as thin as the phyllo pastry.
    • The caramel sauce was the freshest caramel I think I’ll ever try. It was warm and actually not thick. It was more syrupy and tasted like melted soft caramel chew candies. It had a real roasted sugar texture and flavour and it’s quite sweet. You used it to pour over the tart. I’m not even a big fan of caramel, but this one went hand in hand with the tart.
    • The vanilla gelato is the best vanilla gelato I’ve had to date. It’s unlike any gelato you’ve ever tried before. It was really ice and very intense with vanilla flavour.
    • In American apple desserts we’re always used to the Granny Smith apple because it’s tart. However the apple the chef used was an Elstar apple from the Okanagan. It actually originates in The Netherlands though. It’s in the same family as the Golden Delicious apple, which totally makes sense because it has a similar flavour. The chef actually brought one out for me to see. It actually tastes like an old apple, it’s a bit soft and powdery in texture. It's crunchy on the outside and soft inside, it' not crunchy-crispy and refreshing though. I was really caught off guard. It’s not that juicy or tart, but more sweet and honey-like. I think he uses it more for the texture it brings rather than the flavour…because for me it definitely made a difference in the texture of the tart.
    • The reason why I didn’t give this a 6/6 is because I wanted a bit more contrast in this dish. The phyllo pastry was light, flaky and crispy, but it was so light and the apples were so soft I couldn’t really taste the difference between them. It tasted like layers of melt in your mouth ingredients and I think I just wanted a little bit more of a difference in texture. I felt as though the phyllo and apples blended together a little too well. I wanted another component, even if it was something crunchy on the side.

  • Amarena Cherry Creme Brulee 5.5/6
    • Chocolate Gelato $12
    • Dessert wine pairing: Chateau Partarrieu, Sauternes 2006 $16.00
    • I had this one with the dessert wine as well and again it made everything taste like caramel. It was a great match.

    • This is probably going to make some readers/foodies mad, but I’m actually not a big fan of crème brulee either. I wouldn’t go as far to order it, but I’ll always try it and still eat it if it’s there. It’s slowly growing on me. Even for me not liking crème brulee that much, this one still ranked a 5/6.
    • He used about 4 Amarena cherries, a couple whole and a couple cut in half. (They’re quite expensive)
    • The custard was actually more jelly like than expected. It was still creamy, but the custard was firmer than I though it would be. It had a jelly like start and then turned creamy in your mouth. It’s served cold, but not out of the fridge cold.
    • The toasted brown sugar topping was great, and I think this is the party I usually don’t like about cream brulee. This one was great though. It was a light layer and toasted until it was caramelized and not burnt.
    • I loved the Amarena cherries they used in it. The cherries are imported from Italy – they’re not fresh but come in a syrup. I was lucky enough to sample these alone as well. They’re very sour and yet very sweet at the same time. Definitely a cherry made for desserts...actually it could make a good reduction for a thick steak or lamb as well. When you bite into these plump cherries the juice stimulates your saliva glands immediately. It was the texture of an olive or a rehydrated prune.
    • It came with a tiny donut which I can best describe as an Amarena cherry and marzipan fritter. (Marzipan is almond paste). It’s an Amarena cherry rolled in a layer of marzipan and then crusted with an almond donut batter. This was a 6/6!
    • It was crunchy from the almonds and then chewy from the marzipan and juicy from the cherry. It was rich, decadent, sweet and tart. I started off with the dry donut texture and then you got the juicy bite of cherry. Great textures.
    • It was served with a rich chocolate gelato that wasn’t as amazing as the vanilla gelato, but it was still really good. After the vanilla gelato though, no other gelato can compete.

CinCin Ristorante + Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. HI Mijune! My goodness, the desserts look so yummy. I'm drooling looking at the food and the descriptions. HAHAH CinCin does really have good desserts there! Can't wait to try it out!

    As for the new bakery, please keep me posted! I want to try it out together! :)

    PS. It was nice meeting you! :D

  2. Hi Anita! It was fabulous meeting you as well! I love meeting foodies =)

    Yes, when it opens we will be first in line and last to leave! ;)