Restaurant: Chambar Restaurant
Last visited: February 12, 2010
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Specializes in Belgium/French food - fusion
- Innovative/exotic/creative menu
- Going on 6th year
- Casual fine dining
- Lively atmosphere
- Busy on weekends/late nights
- Chef Nico Schuermans and his wife Karri
- Parent to Cafe Medina next door
- Just opened Dirty Apron Cooking school (couple stores down)
- Fixed menu available
- Event nights
- Extensive wine list
- Great for drinks/cocktails/appetizers
- 18% gratuity for groups of 8+
- Ocean Wise
- Open 5-12am daily
- Reservations recommended
**Recommendation: Mushroom Soup, Mussels & Frites, Le Canard aux Epices, if you can order Stilton croquettes as a side - do it! Vanilla Pear Cake
Chambar has always been one of my favourite restaurants...and it still is one of my favourites. I rarely ever say I have a “favourite restaurant” but this one has yet to disappointment me. I usually have certain dishes I like and that’s what I will recommend rather than the restaurant itself…however everything here is more or less amazing.
It is a Belgian restaurant, but the food is more contemporary with slight French and West Coast influences. It is more or less a fusion restaurant.
A bit steep in terms of price, but in the category of casual fine dining. The portions are reasonable although they look smaller until you start eating them.
They really let the ingredients speak for themselves here and they don’t go overboard by trying to enhance every single item with seasonings and spices. It’s simple, but tastes so complex. That’s the magic of Chambar.
My dessert review for Chambar Restaurant.
On the table:
- It's not on the online menu but it was called "mushroom soup". It was basically 3 kinds of mushrooms showcased in 3 different way with 3 different cooking methods. There was a mushroom soup, sauteed oyster mushrooms, and deep fried trumpet mushrooms. $17
- Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms 6/6
- These are wonderful! The stems were meaty, juicy, big, and plump. It was sautéed in lots of butter and some garlic and it was almost the texture of meat. That is all I tried from this plate, however there were no complaints coming from the person who did order it. (That's why I can't rate the entire appetizer)
- I did love the concept of this appetizer overall – however the soup portion of it was looking a little small. Even the sautéed oyster mushrooms were a bigger portion. If “soup” is in the title of the dish then it should be showcased the most and it wasn’t. Nonetheless I would still order this again just based on the sauteed oyster mushrooms I tried.
Le Carpaccio de Thon Grillee - (Ahi Tuna) 4.5/6
- Charred yellowfin tuna carpaccio, celery, daikon & citrus brunoix. Pomegranate molasses, red shiso $17
- The slices were actually really nice and big and also cut quite thin and I’m surprised. I will usually only order sashimi items at Japanese restaurants…purely for the fact that it’s usually done better.
- I did miss the citrus note to this dish ever though there was still a tang to it from the pomegranate. The tang is just milder than the tang you usually get from Japanese tuna carpaccio. I also missed a little bit of heat – but maybe I’m too used to tuna carpaccio’s with wasabi. This one has mustard seeds though which was nice, but a bit masked even though there were a lot of them.
- This carpaccio carried a fruity flavour and the fish was very fresh. The diced ingredients were very subtle in all aspects and the combination of flavours were quite soft.
- There was some grapefruit which gave it a slight citrus tang, a little bitterness as well as some sweetness. It was a very fresh dish, but also a bit mellow in flavour although still delicious.
Dual Bison 5/6
- They don't have this on their online menu but it was basically bison done two ways. The first was a bison Prosciutto and the second was a bison shepherd's pie. $18 (I think?)
- Bison Prosciutto
- The bison prosciutto was very similar to regular prosciutto but much more rich. It was more like duck prosciutto, but more lean and less buttery and creamy.
- The slices are a bit thicker and the taste is almost a bit sweeter and it’s definitely not as salty as typical prosciutto.
- Shepherd’s Pie
- The bottom meat layer of the pie was braised bison which came off as almost like “pulled pork”. It was very shredded and actually quite dry. The flavour was very simple, but it was dry because it was a lean meat not because they overcooked/baked it.
- The pulled bison was best with the gravy they served along side. It was an intense, thick and syrupy sauce. It tasted like barbeque sauce with lots of Worcestershire sauce. There was quite a kick!
- The potato topping was a very simple but good mashed potato with lots of butter. It was nothing fancy, but just simple and good.
Mussels & Frites - Vin Blanc 3.5/6
- White wine butter cooked mussels, braised celery and leeks. Coarse black pepper. Served with frites. $22
- I could definitely taste the white wine. It wasn’t cooked out as much as I thought it would be. The wine is actually really obvious and I found it a tad distracting. It was my least favourite of the 3 although still tasty.
- It’s definitely a nice qhite wine they’re using and it’s something that I could easily drink, but it was a just a bit overpowering.
Mussels & Frites - Congolaise 6/6
- Mussels cooked with a tomato coconut cream. Smoked chili and lime. Fresh cilantro. Served with frites. $22
- If you like a more exotic mussel then this is for you. This was very Indian inspired with a very aromatic broth.
- The broth was stewed with fresh tomato chunks. Big coarsely ground black peppercorns, fresh basil leaves, cardamom, cumin and coriander.
- The broth didn't taste or look creamy, although there was coconut milk in it. I found it quite light and tangy with more of tomato based soup then a coconut cream based one.
- I wouldn’t say it was spicy, but there was a little heat.
- I could have drank the broth as a soup on its own.
Mussels & Frites - Coquotte 5.5/6
- Mussels cooked in a white wine cream. Smoked bacon lardons, spring onions. Served with frites. $22
- If you just want a simple, good, and more traditional mussel then this is for you.
- This was just good. It’s nothing adventurous and it’s one of those gourmet dishes that appeals to the masses.
- There’s bacon…and what more do I need to say? People love bacon!
- There’s also shallots and some green onions and onions.
- If you like bacon, butter, cream and onions – then you’ll like this. It’s not that creamy, but it is still very rich – it was almost like a bacon chowder broth.
- Served with a house made garlic aioli.
- The frites were very fried – they weren’t dark brown but they were fried until they were almost dry. I think they triple fry these. They're very crispy and reminded my of a thicker version of the skinny fries I had at The Irish Heather.
- They are cut into 1 inch sticks which allows more surface area for them to fry up very crisp. They weren’t fluffy and not too salty too.
- The garlic aioli is wonderful! It’s very thick – almost the texture of full fat yogurt.
There's a piece of ahi tuna carpaccio on the top right hand corner - that's not how it's served though...that's just my bite :)
It would normally look like this.
Chevreuil aux Raisins 5/6
- Cassis & juniper venison loin, stilton croquettes, braised belgium endive, coronation grape & aged sherry sauce. $30
- Venison tastes like a very tender and lean steak. The meat is a bit sweeter and it’s not as rough. It came with 5 pieces of venison and it was a bit overcooked for me. I could have had it a bit rarer although venison is still very tender even when cooked to medium.
- It was seared with simple salt and pepper and it was very little.
- All the little details were quite random and I didn’t think they complimented each other although they were good individually.
- The sauce could have been a bit more reduced. It wasn’t thick and sticky and it came off as a gravy thickened with corn starch.
- The Belgium endive leave was braised with maple syrup. The bitterness it naturally has was almost completely gone so I didn’t feel like it was endive. I didn’t find that it complimented the venison – I actually thought it took it over. Not that it tasted better, but the flavour was so strong I was distracted. There was a very strong clove taste and there was a bit of cardamom in it – however I though the combo of these spices was cinnamon.
- The brussel sprouts were dressed in tangy vinaigrette made with good quality olive oil you can taste.
- The stilton croquettes were amazing! They looked just like the croquettes in
. They were very fresh and the Stilton was used perfectly. A little goes a long way and they used the perfect amount. Stilton is very similar to Blue Cheese so it can be quite overpowering – this one was evident but not overpowering one bit. Spain
- It was nice and crispy with a light breading and very creamy and soft inside.
- It was served on a bed of “dip” which tasted like sour cream mixed with chives. I could have eaten 4 of these as an appetizer. Yes….not a plate – but 4. Although they were good you don’t want to overdo these because they still are very rich.
Le Canard aux Epices 6/6
- Spice rubbed duck breast, butternut squash puree, red delicious caramelized apples, whipped goats cheese & tamarind gastrique. $29
- The duck skin was very crispy and almost came off as bacon! It was nicely seasoned and there was actually very little fat yet it was still moist.
- The pieces were a bit small and I found this entrée to be the “stingiest”.
- The goat’s cheese was good, but again a bit overpowering with the duck. I think I would have liked it if they mixed the goat’s cheese with a ricotta to make it a bit lighter in flavour. I wanted to showcase the natural sweetness of the duck a bit more.
- The tamarind sauce was tangy and that suited the cheese well becuase it was almost like balsamic vinegar with goat's cheese which is a great combination.
- I didn't like how they used a Red Delciious Apply. It was too powdery in texture especially after it was cooked. It was almost like an old apple texture.
- The apples were “glued” onto the plate with a nice caramel sauce. It was a very cooked caramel so the flavour was very intense and rich and it hardens – more like a candied hard caramel than nougat caramel .
- The butternut squash puree was one of my favourites of the nite! DELISH! Seriously. I had to pass compliments to the chef because it was so good.
- It was very thick and creamy and hard to swallow and had the texture of butternut squash whipped with marscarpone cheese…although there was no marscarpone cheese or any cheese for that matter.
- The texture is beautiful and it was slightly sweet with lots of butter and subtle seasonings. The flavour was pure butternut squash, but it was so smooth and creamy you think there is a whole complex production to it – but there isn’t.
Don't miss out on the Chambar Restaurant dessert post tomorrow - there was a lot :)