Words & pix: Stephanie Yuen
I always love communal tables, quite likely because that’s how meals are served in Asian homes; but more so because communal meals allow you to enjoy multiple courses all at once! When the invitation to go to last month’s La Pentola Famiglia Supper, I shouted out a big “YES”! What could be better than a rustic Italian dinner served family style inside Yaletown’s most notorious boutique hotel on a cold and damp Sunday evening?
Opus's family supper served communal style is a great way to meet new friends, embrace the culinary culture of Italy and of course, share a bottle or two of wines. This is also a great venue to create your own supper event - a special celebration or a birthday party – when your food is prepared by a talented chef and served by friendly and able staffs. The best part, the 10-course dinner is at $55 per person, boiling down to $5.50 per course each!
I’ve been told about the scrumptious La Pentola Famiglia Supper Series which takes place every last Sunday evening of the month only here, and was warned beforehand to bring a big appetite. To prepare, I walked extra distance to the next Skytrain Station and hopped onto the train, surely glad I did!
Once seated at the round table where my friend Kelina and I were greeted by fellow ‘diners’, we ordered our drinks. Not usually a cocktail fan, only because my stomach doesn’t always agree with the recipes, but I found myself sipping away the tall glass of Opus Bar’s featured cocktail “Montmorency” infused with orange and vanilla aromas. With certain resistance, I reminded myself to go easy with the drink since the first platter of the 10-course family supper arrived.
Here’s the 10-course menu we indulged that evening:
Speck (cured meat), mustard fruits (pear and zucchini), canederli (bread dumplings) – Can’t believe how wonderful it was to start a meal with poached pear and fluffy dumplings that reminded me of mini green onion pancakes.
Carne salata, greens, parmesan – What a plate of colourful lettuce – oh, more parmesan please!
Trout, apple puree, roasted chestnuts – Apple and trout? Yes, they’re meant to be together!
Fennel and blood orange salad, pine nuts, speck. – The pairing of the fennel and blood orange was as good as how the fennel was cooked.
Spatzle, duck confit, duck jus – A juicy and moist version of spatzle that complemented the duck jus beautifully.
Salt cod, potato, cauliflower, caraway – I fell in love with cauliflower all over again, and again!
Cotechino, lentils, squash, Brussels sprouts – The pork sausage (cotechino) using all renegade meats such as pork rind, cheek, neck muscle and shoulder was singing my tune.
Grilled venison, porcini, polenta, juniper butter – What to devour first, the venison, the porcini or the polenta?
Tamarind Ice Cream – treated acidity of tamarind cut through nicely with the silky ice cream. The slice of meat on top was bacon! Chef Lucais Syme has prepared a roasted pig and a lamb for previous Famiglia suppers, but the above 10 courses showcased classic Italian cooking technique and communal fares perfectly. The next family supper will be this Sunday, Feb 23rd. Reservation is recommended. 604-642-0557