The newest of the Glowbal group, this colossal restaurant sits 450+ and is no doubt an iconic feature of the newly erected Telus Garden at the corner of Georgia and Richard. Thanks to the Glowbal group of restaurants, downtown Vancouver is looking more and more like downtown Toronto, if not more elegant and stylish, where office crowds and mesmerized visitors flock the glittering patios and designer lounges as early as 4pm to utilize happy hours.
I am led upstairs to the table where a multi-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Pedro Gonzalez will soon be showcased. Though this is my first meal at this talk-of-the-town restaurant in this glorious building, I had the pleasure of encountering Chef Gonzalez’s ‘culinary magic’ a few times already. I am quite sure everyone around the table shares the same erupted anticipation for yet another sensational dinner in the award-winning Glowbal at the Garden.
The menu designed for the group says there’ll be five courses plus dessert, but with a couple of double-takes, Chef Gonzalez wows us with articulated plates after plates of global ingredients and flavour profiles. While every dish is a whistle, a few of Chef’s creations insanely take my breath and palate away.
The first course came as an almost bare plate with saffron rouille and a piece of prawn tempura laid tantalizingly at the edge. The aroma of saffron and fennel soon sprays the air as the flask of Prawn & Pumpkin Bisque approaches the table and intensifies when it’s poured into the plate. This well-thought-of way to start the gourmet experience is a perfect fit to warm up a cold November evening. Golden and creamy, the velvety bisque with a hint of sweetness is a motherly welcome. Who can say no to prawn and pumpkin?
The Truffled Spaghetti is one of Glowbal’s signature dishes, the ultimate for truffle fans and spaghetti fans alike. The sizeable, juice-dripping meatball is another signature item, the question here is, which one to bite into first? With due respect to the well-dressed meatball, I am pretty elated devouring just the spaghetti. May I have the meatball to-go please?
Pappardelle happens to be my favourite pasta, quite likely because it reminds me of the northern-style flat Chinese noodle. Al dente and seasoned just enough to let the indigenous pasta flavour to flow, the unity of short rib, pine nuts, wild mushrooms and spinach sings a happy tune in the café au lait sauce; and becomes a symphony of taste in my mouth.
While they say no harm could ever be done to cooking sablefish (unless you burn it?), the big different is how harmonious the flavour of the fish, the companions and condiments are when put together. Miso-marinated, showered with shitake consommé, along with a bowl of sesame-infused soba noodle salad, is how Chef Gonzalez salutes this beautiful fish. It takes an average of no more than 4 minutes around the table to empty each one’s plate and bowl!
The so-called Chef’s Selection dessert is in fact a parade of whatever Pastry Chef Elie Nehme has been crafting in the kitchen: Fruity and fluffy is the mango passion cheesecake, silky-smooth and addictive is the chocolate cremeux, rich and artful is the zeppole al cioccolato…each one a platter of its own filled with macaron, sorbet and dainty patisserie. The lengthy dessert session begins with oohs and aahs; follows by intervals of complete silence; more oohs and aahs…and of course, a grin on everyone face!