Located within the luxurious Loden Hotel, Tableau Bar Bistro is Coal Harbour’s neighbourhood restaurant. Chef Marc-Andre Choquette has created a play on the traditional French Bistro for the West Coast. Using old world technique with new world local ingredients the Chef and his team have made a comforting and welcoming room. Judging from the number of familiar greetings the patrons and staff exchanged on my visit, Tableau has its share of regulars.
This visit on a Thursday evening saw the restaurant almost fully booked, groups of friends, families and couples in casual to after work business attire all seemed equally at home. Our attentive server greeted us warmly and soon brought our first drink, a non-alcoholic Ceylon Orange Fizz, Ceylon tea, orange juice, agave nectar and club soda. Starter for both my companion and I was soup, the daily special – Cream of Mushroom for me, was a thick and rich mushroom broth with many meaty chunks of fresh mushrooms. My friend’s French Onion soup was a light onion filled broth topped with thick croutons and cheese baked to perfection.
Each day of the week offers a different daily special, Thursday’s Lamb Shank and Risotto looked like a popular choice from the number of dishes on tables around. It looked too good to pass up and happily it lived up to the anticipation. A large shank of braised lamb was served upon a bed of bright and creamy carrot risotto. The fall-off-the-bone meat didn’t require a knife as the fork shredded it easily. I had to slow down and take my time to savour it as it went down so easily. The thick and creamy risotto had just the right texture and bite, the al dente carrots adding a lightness and crunch to contrast with the moist and soft lamb. With a glass of wine from the lengthy wine list, the two ample courses meant there was no room for a third but from what we could see on tables nearby, desserts looked equally tasty as our soup and entree. I guess that means another visit is in order to sample more of the menu…I’m looking forward to it.