Vancouver’s Wildebeest Seduces with a Special Two-Week Game and Mushroom Menu

Vacche Rosse ravioli; Photo Credit: Jonathan Norton

Autumnal eating is especially pleasurable because the palate suddenly begins craving earthier, darker flavours.

Wildebeest (120 West Hastings Street), which prides itself on its local and seasonal sourcing and cooking, has shifted their menu into fall, with limited-edition items that showcase mushrooms and a variety of game meat.

From now until November 15, 2018, Wildebeest will feature on their à la carte menu five specially crafted autumn dishes, as well as an indulgent drink that all use locally sourced game and mushrooms. There will be a limited number of each dish available each night, so make sure to get there early if you wish to enjoy them.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Norton

The game meat (boar, elk, and goat) is supplied by Two Rivers Specialty Meats, which prides itself on its ethical and sustainable offerings, and the mushrooms have been foraged from various individuals/companies on Vancouver Island and the BC Interior.

The Wildebeest room itself is an ideal setting for an autumnal meal. The 19th century Gastown building, long brick side wall, wood accents, and intimate lighting all coalesce into a cosseting eating environment. Especially on a chilly rainy night, handing over your umbrella and jacket to the host/ess at the front feels like such a welcomed relief.

The kitchen’s sheer creativity in incorporating game and mushrooms into the items is often unforeseen–and unexpectedly good.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Norton

Do start with the “Loose Morels” cocktail (great pun, even better drink), which (get this) consists of goose fat-washed Calvados, morel agrodolce, and aromatic bitters. The goose-fat isn’t overwhelming, but definitely present, giving the drink an added smoothness and depth. Who knew fat could help a drink go down even easier?

Photo: Tara Lee

The goat and lamb kromeski are a good nibble to start, highlighting the stronger flavours and textures of the game meat, balanced by the slight tang of pickled morels and tarragon aioli.

Photo: Tara Lee

A goose terrine with celeriac remoulade, cranberries, porcini, and chickweed is lovely, especially when the quail egg is broken and the yolk spills out.

Photo: Tara Lee

One of the stars of the limited edition items are Vacche Rosse ravioli in mushroom consommé with chanterelles, garlic purée, Burgundy truffle, and spruce tip. There’s an understated earthiness to the dish, allowing for each ingredient to be distinguishable and highlighted. Especially with the richness of the cheese, the delicate construction of the dish works.

Photo: Tara Lee

Elk tri-tip with house-made sauerkraut, black trumpet purée, and lobster mushroom is definitely a high octane flavoured dish. The sauerkraut is exemplary, the sour notes serving as a great contrast to the deep flavours of the meat.

The dessert is the most surprising culinary feat, consisting of Alba truffle ganache with smoked boar drippings, 74% dark chocolate, and espresso, served with porcini ice cream and meringue. The combo of ingredients on paper may not seem intuitive, but it all comes together in an interesting autumnal meeting of sweet, savoury, bitter, and earthy. It’s a great finish to Wildebeest’s two week celebration of game and mushrooms.

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