September 11, 2014
Gods of the Grill at CinCin
September 10, 2014
Streets of Fire ... This Wednesday, Argentine SuperChef Francis Mallman, Top Table's Chef Andrew Richardson and his hard-working team from CinCin Restaurant + Bar created an 9-hour, street-stopping spectacle of fire (plus no small amount of smoke), smack in the middle of Robson street.
Said Chef Mallman, "we want to thank the Mayor for the fact that we've set up a bush-style cooking fire in the downtown core of the city ... and I'm sure he's going to hear all about it in the morning."
The temporary asado was prep for that evening's "Gods of the Grill" dinner - an event that brought Vancouver diners as close as possible to an authentic Argentine dining experience given the lack of empanadas, maté tea, Argentine wines, and most significantly, the omega-rich, delicately gamey and utterly unique flavour of real Argentine beef raised on pampas grass.
Let's put the blame for this international gap on politics and immovable Agro-Canada import restrictions. Regardless of the meaty show outside, the best dish of the evening turned out to be the small "planca" of bread slices smoked and toasted on the grill, then served with fat, tender scallops, avocado, tomatoes, and a dollop of silky and delicious mayonnaise. Our second favourite - the quartet of desserts finale. Of which two were a play on Argentina's national addiction, dulce de leche.
As usual, CinCin itself exuded warmth and understated elegance -- a reminder of why, after a couple of decades, it remains one of our favourite dining rooms in the city. Despite its timelessness however, Top Table President Michael Doyle informed us that the classic Robson Street restaurant is about to under go a major face lift - mostly to the kitchen where the 30-year-old, wood-burning oven (which is now starting to dangerously crumble) will be replaced with a state-of-the-art, newer model.
Sometimes age has advantages. A grandfathered clause in CinCin's operating licence allows it to remain one of the handful of restaurants in the city that can still boast real, wood-fired cooking.