Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Irish Heather - Long Table Series

Restaurant: The Irish Heather GastroPub – Long Table Series

Cuisine: Pub food/Irish/West Coast
Last visited: December 22, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC (West End/Downtown)
210 Carrall Street

Price Range: $10-20

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

Food: 3
Service: 2.5
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Irish cooking in Irish house with Irish people working
  • Sister restaurant to Salt Tasting Room, Shebeen, & Salty Tongue
  • Since 1997
  • Classy pub with affordable food
  • Homemade comfort food w/twist
  • Handmade sausages
  • Some fusion items or globally inspired twists
  • Sandwiches made with bread from Vancouver’s local Terra Bakery
  • Fine tuned menu
  • Extensive beer and wine list
  • Very popular Long Table Series offered – reservations required
  • Vegetarian options available
  • Casual, yet sophisticated
  • Lively atmosphere
  • 2 rooms – one brighter lighting the other darker
  • Serves lunch and dinner

**Recommendation: Long Table Series

So I finally made it! I’ve wanted to try the Long Table Series at The Irish Heather for so long but it’s always sold out. Kim (I’m Only Here for the Food) planned another Vancouver food blogger social and this was the first one I attended. I’m also one of the newest “members” to join this community so I was really excited. At the Long Table Series with Kim and Anita (La Petite Foodie) whom I’ve dined with before, I was also introduced to Sherman (Sherman’s Food Adventures) and Jessica (Yum-O-Rama).

This review will only focus on The Irish Heather GastroPub’s Long Table Series. It was my first time visiting, so my review will be based on this event, as well as my roasted duck!

The Long Table Series is a concept The Irish Heather started in early June 09. It is a dinner event that runs throughout the year on every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday night. People are seated at a 40 ft communal wooden table and Chef Lee Humphries prepares a special dish for each night. It used to be $12 (taxes and gratuities not included) for a main course + alcoholic beverage (sponsored) but since then they have increased their pricing to $15 offering the same thing. It hasn’t affected them one bit and this ever so popular event is a guaranteed sell out every time. I would definitely do it again. For $15 and what you get…I’m game!

The Irish Heather kind of reminds me of The Hub, but fancier and more gourmet and more sophisticated. I only tried one thing, but the menu at The Irish Heather feels more creative just by looking at it. On a taste level, I would actually compare the dish to something from Les Faux Bourgeois…and I love that restaurant. Of course Les Faux Bourgeois is French and therefore finer tuned, but The Irish Heather was heartier and a bit more affordable. I still prefer Les Faux Bourgeois though.

Overall the Long Table Series felt like a gourmet cafeteria with the communal table and mass produced gourmet meal. That doesn’t sound very good, but it was very good. Very relaxed and casual, but you’ll probably still end up talking to the people you go with. I felt like Oliver Twist getting a meal from the Upper East Side.

On the table:

**Roast Duck Leg 5/6

  • Roast Duck Leg With Colcannon Potatoes, Mushroom & Foie Gras Jus & 16 oz -Pint R&B Cream Ale $15
  • This was pretty great. I mean for $15 I really won’t be too picky about it. It’s not fine dining, but it had the quality of casual fine dining.
  • I don’t want to start off with a negative, but the first thing I noticed was that the duck didn’t have crispy skin. It was flavourful though with a simple seasoning of salt, pepper and some dried herbs.
  • It was a whole duck leg and it was quite flavourful. It was quite tender and shredded away like dark meat chicken. I do prefer duck breast over the leg though, but I’d probably need to pay $5 more for that.
  • Another thing I noticed was that it looked like everything was swimming in a pool of soup or ‘jus’. However not to worry, because at then end the cocannon potato mash soaks up everything. You won’t have a drop of au jus left.
  • I could definitely taste the foie gras in the jus, but I could taste it more in the beginning. It kind of got lost as I kept eating it. They had cut up piece of foie gras, but I didn’t get many in mine. Maybe 4 small cubes, however the flavour was cooked into the jus. I would have preferred the foie gras to be seared too. It was soft and it should have had a crispy exterior…sounds like a small thing but it would have made a world of difference. The size and texture of it made it come off as an oyster mushroom, especially since they were cut to the same size...kind of a waste of foie gras.
  • The mushrooms used were oysters, buttons, crimini and very few potobellos. It was mainly crimini mushrooms and they were all really plump and juicy and very sautéed and caramelized. The sweetness worked great with the natural sweetness duck has.
  • The Colcannon potato is a really traditional Irish dish and I love that they used it as the side. It gave it that Irish flare I wanted from a traditional Irish pub. It’s basically and Irish version of mashed potatoes except they add roughly chopped sautéed cabbage to it and maybe some bacon. This one had no bacon though. It didn’t need it because there was already enough going on and it would have taken away from the foie gras taste.If anything it could have used more garlic and onions. I couldn't taste any.
  • The colcannon potato was very starchy rather than creamy and I think he used a combination of Russet (baking) potatoes and maybe some Yukon Gold….but mainly Russet. I would have preferred all Yukon Gold potatoes or a combination of Yukon Gold and sweet potato becuase it would have went better with the duck. It was quite creamy and acted like a sponge for the au jus, but the texture was just very starchy. I liked the crunchiness of the cabbage to give the dish some texture. I could taste the foie gras flavour with the mushrooms, but when I ate it with the potato it got lost.
  • Together everything was delicious. You just wanted to mix it all up. How can you really go wrong with mashed potatoes, duck, mushrooms, and foie gras jus? They also added some sautéed spinach to give it some colour. It was a gourmet version of meat and potatoes...and delicious sauteed veggies all in one. It's a very hearty and meaty dish. One of those dishes you could pair with beer or wine. It was soft, creamy, feel good gourmet comfort food…for $15!

Irish Heather on Urbanspoon


  1. I agree with the Les Faux comment because the one there was not only more tender, the skin is crispy. However, we might be comparing apples with oranges since it is confit vs. roasted.

  2. but shouldn't it be crispy if it's roasted?...the crispiest duck skin will always be at a Chinese restaurant...HELLLOOOOO Peking Duck wraps!

  3. Yes Peking Duck!!! Being Asian, I'd expect the crispy skin too hahaha so don't worry, it's not just you my dear! It's too bad, that duck looks mighty tasty and if the skin was crisp, that would've been perfection. I was at the Irish Heather not too long ago but I was in the separate back bar having my first taste of scotch! lol

    I like this long table idea, will have to try it some time. Honestly you review so much I don't know if I'll ever have the time to try all of it! I guess I can still vicariously experience it all through your awesome blog :)

    Thanks for all your comments on my blog Mijune! I'm slowly getting around to them haha

  4. LOL I know! I'm starting to feel the pressure because my write ups are getting more detailed and I can't keep up with myself...=\

    Yeah I'm definitely not a fan of scotch or many hard liquors for that matter...unless it's used in cooking or dessert!

    and yes definitely check out the long table series! It's definitely worth it!

  5. LOL you're so funny, "I can't keep up with myself".

    I know how you feel, but I think I'm almost all caught up on my comments now! Give it another day or another post and that'll change right back. SIGH!