You might remember Rob from his victory over Iron Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef America! From that day on, Rob Feenie made millions of Canadians proud. Voted the Best Restaurant and Best French Restaurant by Vancouver Magazine seven years in a row, we knew were in for a wonderful evening. Be warned though, Lumiere is not your typical restaurant--this place is the epitome of fine dining in Vancouver!
After showing up for our reservation at 6:30pm, we were seated in the dining room side of Lumiere, which consists of set menus, which is different from their tasting bar on the other side of the restaurant. The environment inside was very intimate, with seating for only 50 or so. Frosted windows on the street side of the restaurant provided privacy for patrons. For some unknown reason, even though the restaurant was not full, we were seated adjacent to another couple, only a meter away!
Here are the other empty tables that were to my right; to my left was a couple seated in the corner. What happened was one couple as seated smack dab in the middle of 7 tables along the wall--so either way we would have been forced to be seated next to another couple--but why not place us on the other side of the restaurant? To make matters worse, the couple in the middle LEFT after receiving their menus and eating two bites of their amuse bouche (the prices probably scared them away)!
Upon being seated we were given menus and their extensive wine list. We are not big wine drinkers, so we opted out on wine. We decided to taste their Signature Menu, a 10 course extravaganza that goes by the price of $180 per person--yes, your eyes are not seeing things! Are you ready? Let's take a look at what we had this evening, shall we (how many times have I used this line)? I'm going to let the pictures do the talking (thanks to my digital SLR I was able to take decent low light pictures without flash), along with the description of each course--enjoy!
This was a very creative way of displaying salt and pepper; pretty neat I thought:
First up, our amuse bouche was a small sampling of tomato water, after having our other amuse bouche of some mini cheese pastry puffs. The tomato water was very refreshing:
fraser valley roasted duck breast - with parsnip purée, beets, brussels sprouts and a madeira sauce
aaa beef tenderloin - with pomme purée, smoked tomato fondue and porcini glaze
le plateau de fromages - with a fruit & nut bread
black mission fig carpaccio - with concord grape sorbet, honeydew pearls and yogurt jelly
blackberry & plum salad - with apricot sabayon and fresh mint ice cream
caramelized white chocolate namelaka - muscavado wafer, peach sorbet, Ras al Hanout poached peaches and white chocolate corn
les mignardises (a tray of small sweets)
It was an incredible evening, certainly one that we will remember. We've dined at other fine dining establishments, but Lumiere definitely has taken the cake as the creme de la creme. Each plate was a work of art and the tastes really drove our tastebuds wild. It's really hard to describe as you had to have been there! Our favorites included the Qualicum Bay scallops and the white onion velouté - both truly incredible dishes. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the white onion velouté tasted so creamy and rich, yet it went down oh so smooth. The beef tenderloin literally melted in my mouth. The courses kept on coming and by the time we had finished our white chocolate namelaka (Devante's favorite), we were overwhelmed by the complimentary les mignardises.
The service at Lumiere was excellent, however we did run into a few hiccups. Devante's cosmopolitan arrived a tad longer than we would have liked, our butter dish had some extremely dangerous chips on two corners; I'm talking slice your finger sharp--take a look at the picture below. We notified our server about it, but he did not bother changing the dish.
Aside from almost being served our white onion velouté without soup spoons on our table (the food runner came but had to turn away after he noticed we did not have soup spoons; I was ready to improvise with my salad fork), the service at Lumiere was exceptional. Everyone was extremely friendly and with the small dining room area, we were well taken care of. Our server even did his homework by congratulating us on our 8 year anniversary when we sat down--well done, lad.
Half way into our dinner service I asked our server, probably the most popular question of all time: "Is Rob in tonight?" His response was that Rob was in earlier but was taking the rest of the night off. With a straight face, I told our server that I went to high school with Rob--which caught him off guard, that is until I told him he had been punk'd and I was lying--haha (not funny at all, but so funny to see his facial reaction realizing he was dealing with a dirty trickster--remember walking through crowds in Seoul?).
Lumiere is viewed by some as one of the leading restaurants in Vancouver and North America. Rob Feenie is pretty serious about his line of work--just take a look at this candid snapshot of their renovated million dollar kitchen (from March 2005). It was unfortunate that Rob was not cooking in the kitchen as his fame has resulted in less time spent in the restaurant:
Three hours later, after many burps and thoughts of loosening my belt buckle, our final bill came to $460 after tax and gratuity (hey, I told you to get ready; these guys spent even more!). I'm sure my parents would be fainting right about now. You are probably thinking that it is crazy to spend this much money on dining out. But hey, if you want to treat your significant other to an unforgettable dining experience, and you have some cash to spend, why not go all out? Your woman deserves the best, don't you think? Sure, there will be people that will talk about starving children in Africa, you're nuts, why would you do that, whine whine whine, etc...but hey, this is my hard earned money and I can spend it however I choose. ;-)
Oh, and by the way I proposed last night so now I'm officially engaged. :) Comment away!