Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Mosaic Bar & Grille: Coconut Crumpet's Turn

What time is it? SUMMER TIME! Coconut Crumpet has finally been freed from school (for two months), and what better way to start my vacation than with some fancy food?

I managed to convince my parents to bring me downtown to have dinner right after I took my last exam. Factors that helped me convince them were that my aunt was in town for the week, and my brother's prom was in Downtown and we had to drive him there anyways. After much consultation, suggestions, and research, I made a reservation at Mosaic Bar & Grille inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Burrard Street, as recommended by Peanut Crumpet. Her review can be found here.

Traffic was horrendous that evening; roads were blocked off, it was rush hour, and it was Friday night. It took almost one and a half hours to reach Downtown, by then my stomach was growling. Before leaving the house, I called Hyatt to ask about their parking prices. It is extremely expensive, probably going to cost $30, so park at Pacific Centre instead for $6 during after-hours (i.e. dinnertime), it's only a few blocks away.

Mosaic Bar & Grille is on the second level of the hotel. We were seated by the window with great natural lighting for food photography and a view of the street to do some people watching. The menu isn't very vast, but the ingredients are seasonal. On one side are appetizers and main courses, and the other side is build-your-own main course. You can choose a protein (either 4 oz or 8 oz), two vegetable sides, a starch, a sauce, and a broth(?) There is also a tasting menu for $45, it's a good deal but I didn't try it this time. 

After ordering, we were served a selection of warm bread. Waiters will offer seconds later in the evening if they see you've eaten it all already. I appreciate how they serve the bread warm. 
Complimentary Bread at Mosaic Bar & Grille
 Appetizers were served shortly after. My mom tried the Warm Octopus Salad with Ink. The octopus is really tender and easy to eat. The greens seemed to be young watercress. Both my aunt and mom commented that they have never eaten watercress raw before; Chinese usually eat it in a soup.
Warm Baby Octopus Salad
 My aunt had the White Asparagus Soup. It was served with a few fried cheese puffs and a few drops of truffle oil. She said she enjoyed it; it looked like a delicious pureed soup!
White Asparagus Soup
After reading most of the reviews on Urbanspoon, many people seemed to recommend the A la Minute Salmon. Both my dad and I really like eating fish, so naturally we ordered this one. It's a pity I didn't film a gif of how they presented the dish to us, it really added to our experience at the restaurant. It's brought to the table with a glass dome lid and once lifted, the steam rises in front of your face to show how hot it is. I really love the colour combination of this dish, very vibrant and varied. Edible purple flowers really catch the eye. 
A la Minute Smoked Salmon
The salmon itself is the perfect mean between salmon sashimi and smoked salmon. So smooth rich in flavour. I'm guessing it's been cooked for one minute, allowing it to retain its moisture yet still be cooked. The caviar on top didn't make a big impact though. The only downside is that I found the stick of avocado mixture way. too. salty. Even paired with a bite of salmon is overwhelming. The dots of sauce and flowers didn't really have much flavour when eaten with the salmon, as the salmon is very strong. I can't say this dish was the most delicious food I've ever eaten and I'd dream about it, but the experience is the most memorable part.

Now onto the entrees!  My mom ordered the natural crispy chicken from the pre-matched menu. I didn't get a photo of it, as my mom originally said "It's just chicken." But once she started eating it, she said it was one really well cooked piece of chicken. Or I should say, pieces, since there were three very hearty chunks of moist chicken with a crispy skin. Not too oily but still very flavourful. I didn't personally try it, but my aunt did and commented on how good it was. If you're not too adventurous, this may be a good choice.

My aunt also ordered from the pre-matched menu. The Skuna Bay Salmon. It was also one of the courses on the tasting menu. When it came, we joked about how little the serving was compared to the rest of ours. I actually think it was a better size, since one can only fit so much in their stomach. Gotta save room for dessert ya know~ The foam is a meyer lemon foam, and the flowers are the same ones from the salmon appetizer. My family joked that the salmon was foaming from its mouth. Haha, sorry to ruin you're appetite ;)
Skuna Bay Salmon
My dad and I chose to create our own entrees. There is quite a wide variety of choices under each category. My dad paired a 4 oz beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes, mushrooms, seasonal vegetables with a port sauce. I stole a summer squash from his plate; it was my first time trying it. Tastes like zucchini, just in a cute mini lantern shape. He was really full by the last few bites of beef and potato. It is much easier to create a filling dish in this way. He ordered his steak medium-rare, and he thought it came out good. However to me, it looked more on the medium side.
Build-your-own entree: Beef Tenderloin
I also chose to build my own entree. I paired a 4 oz seared ling cod with lemon risotto, reams, and mushrooms. Mine was by far the most filling at the table. That pile risotto was so tall... Had to stop myself from clearing this creamy goodness to save room for dessert. I didn't really succeed as I left one tablespoon on the plate, hahaha! The fish was very well seared; crispy on the outside and still moist and flakey on the inside. Ling cod isn't a very oily fish, so I didn't expect it to be very buttery or smooth. Nevertheless, I love eating fish. My family members laughed at how I was eating whole green onions. What they call 'reams here'. Totally misled me to think they were some type of fancy onion, like pearl onions? Don't pick reams like me, go for seasonal vegetables instead. The button mushrooms labelled 'fresh BC mushrooms' aren't very exciting either. I think I'll try truffle mashed potatoes next time too.
Build-your-own entree: Ling Cod
On a random note, one of the purple greens looked like a heart clover, so cute~

Service here is fantastic! A good aspect about not having a ton of customers is that many servers will keep an eye on you during your visit. We had at least five different waiters and waitresses come to our service throughout the night, whether it be getting us drinks, serving the food, answering our questions, or giving us recommendations. They were all very friendly and helpful, A+ for them! 

The prices at Mosaic are extremely reasonable. Appetizers are about $9 to $13 dollars and entrees are under $30 each (unless you choose an 8 oz meat). The lower prices allow each guest to have a two course meal for under $40. The presentation and quality of the dishes are well worth the price. Menus seem to change quite frequently according to available produce and ingredients. Too bad the Watermelon Panna Cotta was only available through the tasting menu; it looked like such a beautiful dessert! We were going to try their famous chocolate layer cake ($20 for a rather large slice) but decided to pay a visit to Bella Gelateria instead. Maybe next time when my entree isn't so filling. The location is also extremely accessible as it is right beside Burrard Skytrain Station. This will definitely stay on my list of places to have dinner to celebrate special events. It has also been on the 'Talk of Town' list on Urbanspoon recently, as many people are beginning to discover this gem. I highly recommend Mosaic Bar & Grille!  

Mosaic Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon 

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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