Monthly Archives: July 2012

A friend was leaving town so Chef Tung was kind enough to invite us during the not-really-open-yet-but-we’re-practicing week of his new restaurant on Hastings Street in Burnaby.

The restaurant had hit my Twitter feed so I started following them, and since it’s close to my office I looked forward to trying it out. It was better than I expected. Oh, the blinds weren’t installed yet, and not everything was quite pulled together yet (note it was still practice sessions), but it was still terrific.

You want details?

The ciabatta smelled wonderful and tasted great with olive oil. The insalata caprese was to die for, and for a dish with maybe five ingredients (and we’re not in Italy) this is extraordinary. Somehow the olive oil and the depth of the mozzarella flavour and the tomatoes and all came together in a perfect symphony on my tongue. Incredible. The meatballs appetizer was equally excellent and melted in your mouth; the fried pizza bread accompaniment was great for hoovering up the sauce left in the bowl. The simple margherita pizza was good and my friend who spent time in Naples said it was as good as any she had there. The gnocchi could be compared to gourmet Italian Tater Tots with chopped panchetta accompaniment. Sounds strange, but frying the gnocchi worked.

Then there were the desserts. I’d been seeing on Twitter about their house-made Limoncello and had to try it. And we got the Callebaut chocolate tart and the butterscotch pudding/mousse on the recommendation of the delightful Front of House director (Simon?).  He was perfectly right and they were fabulous. I don’t usually like butterscotch but this was rich caramel without being too sweet. The rosemary biscotti with it dipped nicely in it. And, to be horribly declasse, the spoons were too curved to get into the corner of the butterscotch serving glass, but I flipped the spoon over and used the squared off edge of the handle to get at the remains, it was that good. The Limoncello was a delight. Sour and a touch of sweet simultaneously and definitely alcoholic: it didn’t blow off the top of my head like a good single malt Scotch (I have no capacity for alcohol), but it had about 2/3 the same effect with a very different taste. I want more! I could only sip because I had to drive home and was forced to allow my companion to drink most of it. (She loved it.)

I’m looking forward to taking my coworkers there for lunch when the restaurant opens on Monday. Think I can convince them to go then? Think there will be room if I don’t make reservations?

The room is small, with a great patio on the street side for when the weather is good. It’s about the same loudness as The Boathouse, but much more intimate. There’s a tall common table for those who might wish it, and several tables and banquettes The washrooms are past the kitchen and beautifully done in glass tiles and frosted glass doors: the amusing silhouettes of a body-builder (male) and a pin-up (female) make it clear which is for which.

Cotto Enoteca at 6011 East Hastings in North Burnaby. Definitely recommended.