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Dining in Vancouver – ensembleTap

Top Chef Canada
We have not yet been to ensemble, Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay’s first restaurant for a full meal, but we did eat at ensembleTap, the second version, twice last week. As the name ensembleTap indicates there are lots of beers on tap and a wide variety in the bottle as well. ‘Tap’ is the more casual cousin, both in atmosphere and menu, to the original. It also has an extensive bourbon menu. It is located on Smithe Street behind the ScotiaBank Theatre. In the summer the garage style glass doors open up for a view of the traffic. It is kind of a strange location but very convenient for dinner and a movie.

Appies, Brunch and Beer
Lunch is served Tuesday to Friday starting at 11am and the brunch menu is available Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 2pm. They are closed Sunday after 2pm and all day Monday. Last week we enjoyed an appie and a beer after a movie and brunch on Saturday. The menu is not your typical brewhouse fare. Everything has a bit of a culinary twist to it. As their website says, it is comfort food but with a modern take. Jeff has been into Phillips Blue Buck Ale lately and enjoyed it both times. I tried the  La Chouffe Belgium Strong Ale the first time and Leifmans Fruitesse the second. Both were OK but I have found other Belgium and fruit beers I prefer.

ensemble Menu
For appies we ordered the Mexican Nachos and the Kaffir Lime Dusted Popcorn Prawns. Not your typical nachos the platter had house made chips with roasted corn, red onions, jalapeños and a chipotle-type cheese sauce. The sour cream was drizzled instead of a big spoonful. It was very visually appealing for a plate of nachos. The prawns were lightly breaded and served with a spicy mayo. The tempura sea asparagus served on top was very good. We had very tried it before and even Jeff thought it was good. We enjoyed both appies.

For brunch we tried the Poached Eggs with Pulled Pork and BBQ beans and the Crispy Bacon Pancakes.The pancakes did not have much bacon but the flavour came from the side dish of poached apples with cinnamon that were great on top. The three pancakes were huge. A plate of two would easily been enough. They were light and fluffy bit a bit too thick in the centre. The pulled pork and BBQ beans were quite tasty and the eggs were poached medium as ordered. This dish was good but there were some croutons added around the outside which seemed out of place. A good brunch overall with OK service but we preferred the appies.

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