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Writer for @VancityBuzz and @DinnerReviews.
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Late last year, we ventured over to Establishment in Kitsilano. Chef Bongo focuses on creative tapas, made with fresh and local ingredients. They have an extensive beverage menu, featuring cocktails, beer and other liquors as well. Because we wanted to try a variety of things, we opted first to get the Appetizer Platter. This dish normally comes with five things: African Chicken Peanut Soup, Shrimp and Lobster Cake (second from right), Bison Slider (far left), Malaysian Chicken Satay and Black Truffle Saccottini (far right). However, due to a peanut allergy, we had to switch out the peanut soup for the Lobster Bisque (below) and the chicken satay for a Wild Mushroom Risotto Ball (second from left). The staff was quite concerned to ensure that the dishes we had were all allergen free.Here is the Lobster Bisque, they actually served us two bowls, as they knew we were sharing. As you can see, there are little clusters of lobster meat on the soup, and plenty more inside. The lobster flavour was very apparent and had a light hint of smokiness too.Our Bison Slider was fairly large and quite easy to share. The meat was very moist and I liked how the bun wasn't slathered with too much sauce. The cheese melted to a nice gooey consistency too. The bun was soft but firm enough to support the party. And I liked the olive garnish too. Up next was the Wild Mushroom Risotto Ball. I couldn't really taste much mushroom flavour but the risotto was piping hot. The coating was nice and crispy too. The marinara sauce and the parmesan rounded out this appy. Our third appetizer is the Shrimp and Lobster Cake. There wasn't too much filler here and there was a nice crust on the outside, but I found the flavour a bit lacking. And i have to say that it was a bit too greasy for me. We saved the best for last, this is the Black Truffle Succotini Pasta and it didn't disappoint. The pasta is filled with some black truffles and then tossed in a light cream sauce. There is also some sweet pea puree and bit of pancetta and some herbs on top. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente, but the pancetta had more flavour than the truffles did. For entrees, we tried the Prosciutto Wrapped Lobster Stuffed Chicken Breast. It's a pounded out chicken breast stuffed with lobster and mascarpone cheese. There is also some fennel and apples for texture. The sauce is tarragon-based. The chicken was very tender and juicy, which I was really surprised by. The vegetables were really good to complement the moist chicken and I was really happy with this dish. The lobster flavour is unmistakeable and gave the dish a well-rounded richness.Establishment has a variety of Flatbreads on the menu, and we gave their Smoked Duck and Brie version a try. What sold me was the white truffle cream sauce. This was then topped with smoked duck, brie and some leaks. The pears were a refreshing touch, and the gruyere was the perfect topping.
Servers are very attentive and considerate of food allergies