We celebrated Valentines Day a week later to avoid the hectic rush. Who wanted to run around town like crazy people for sub-standard service? Not us.
M took the reins this year and booked a reservation at The Pear Tree in Burnaby for a romantic night out. I've heard many good things about The Pear Tree, but I'd also heard stories of disappointment. Fortunately, our night was of the former instead of the latter.
The small menu is elegantly laid out, and the first page is a seasonal "fresh sheet" of a daily set menu. On the day we visited The Pear Tree, it consisted of tuna tataki with a chicory and cress salad, a main of pork belly, spot prawn rigatoni, celeriac puree, steamed veggies, and hon shimigi mushrooms. Guess what I ordered. :)
We started out with the scallop and risotto starter. The scallops were a little on the small side considering the price tag, but the dish was delicious! M commented that he loved the way the risotto tasted and the creamy texture. Although the dish was fragrant and smooth from the addition of cheese, the grains of the arborio rice were still distinctly (and pleasantly!) noticeable.
As you might have guessed, I ordered the Berkshire Pork Belly. It appeared to be braised in a pressure cooker and the thick ribbons of pork fat just melted in your mouth, typical to how Chinese "cou yuk" is braised until tender. I really loved the celeriac puree and the steamed vegetables - I just wished there were more! The spot prawn rigatoni had lots of flavour as well, and I loved how the chef kept the vegetables and the rigatoni "naked" as to balance out the richness of the pork belly.
M ordered the braised lamb shank, which was tender and and succulent. You could have literally eaten either of our meals with a spoon, the meat was just that tender. He was also extremely pleased to find that the same risotto accompanied his lamb shank. I had to agree - the risotto was a pleasant background to the meaty lamb. The staff also brought over a complimentary pea shoot and apple salad which went really well with the lamb shank.
For dessert, we had a choice between a chocolate ganache, creme brulee, a poached pear, cheese plate, or a lemon tart. Since M is not a dessert person, we shared a chocolate ganache, which was enough for both of us. It came with a streak of salted caramel and chocolate orange sorbet. The dessert portion was perfect, since the ganache was deliciously, sinfully rich. Although that was great on its own, I loved the canelle of orange-chocolate sorbet, which was garnished with candied orange peel.
We really enjoyed our dinner at The Pear Tree. The dining room is a little cozy, with a beautiful wine cabinet and pear tree art adorning the walls. Along with our bill, the maitre'd offered us bite-sized hazelnut macarons sandwiched together with a mascarpone filling. It was a great way to end the meal!
4120 East Hastings Street [map]
Photos can be found at my flickr photo set.