Friday, 30 December 2016

Lunching at Le Crocodile

The signature chocolate petit fours at Le Crocodile
A friend from Hong Kong who visits his family once or twice a year in Vancouver had asked me earlier about eating at French fine dining restaurant Le Crocodile.

He didn't know any friends or relatives here who had eaten there before and even though he wouldn't mind eating there alone, he had wanted to try it and I volunteered to accompany him for lunch.

Delicious lobster bisque topped with creme fraiche and chives
I made the reservation before I arrived in Vancouver to ensure a table and was given the choice of either 11.30am or 1.30pm. I chose the latter so we wouldn't be rushed, but also, other than dim sum or brunch, who eats lunch at 11.30am?

The menu doesn't change much, but there are a number of daily specials to choose from. We decided to stick to the perennial favourites.

My friend had the classic Alsatian onion tart (CAD$11.50) that was a very large slice (I had it last year), and it wasn't too heavy, a touch of ham in it.

I also tried a spoonful of the "Le Crocodile classic" tomato and gin soup (CAD$7.50). It has a wonderful tomato flavour lifted by the gin, making it a refreshing, but also heart-warming soup!

Venison medallions with chanterelles and spatzle
For my starter I had the lobster bisque served with Cognac and topped with creme fraiche and finely chopped chives (CAD$9.50). The flavour was so pungent, though not too rich or thick. Good to the last drop.

Not long afterwards our mains arrived. My friend had the fresh pappardelle pasta served with braised veal cheeks, in a pinot noir reduction and truffle oil (CAD$23). The veal cheeks were so tender a knife was hardly needed to cut through them. The pasta was also delicious, having soaked up the red wine sauce.

I ordered the venison medallions, New Zealand venison that was raised in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, with a rustic chanterelle sauce served with spatzle, an Alsatian/German twisted egg noodle, again perfect to mop up the sauce with.

Fresh pappardelle with braised veal cheeks in a red wine sauce
We heartily enjoyed each bite, appreciating the attention to cooking, the ingredients and the cozy but not too stuffy ambience.

My friend couldn't think of another comparable restaurant in Hong Kong. I suggested perhaps Va Bene in its heyday on D'Aguilar Street, but he wasn't too familiar with the restaurant.

There just aren't many authentic French restaurants, that aren't too formal, and yet not so casual that the staff don't know what they are serving.

We were too full for dessert, but the restaurant still gave us a scoop of delicious pear sorbet accompanied with a giant mint leaf! We also got the signature four chocolate crocodiles.

Refreshing pear sorbet with a mint leaf to finish the meal
I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to walk off the meal! I'm glad my friend had a good impression of the restaurant, and maybe we will start our tradition of meeting up in Vancouver for lunch at Le Crocodile.

Le Crocodile
Suite 100 - 909 Burrard Street
(604) 669 4298

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