Having never been to Chambar before (I know, I’m embarrassed too), it was one of my most anticipated spots to hit up for Dine Out 2017. And I’ll tell you right now; it lived up to, and far surpassed the hype. Chambar’s fine dining yet cozy atmosphere perfectly matches their “civilized debauchery” tagline. Our bartender Jim was extremely friendly and courteous, acting as a guide through the dining experience we were about to embark on.
My dining companion Michelle is vegan (what was I thinking?) however; Chambar was extremely accommodating and able to transform their vegetarian options to meet a vegan’s dietary restrictions. Not only that but they did an excellent job of it. Her dish was Les Crudités, cauliflower, radish and sunchoke with carrot hummus and pickled greens and was light yet extremely flavourful.
I opted for the carnivore route and tried the Bison Fume, a hearty take on a carpaccio with celeriac, fennel and chervil remoulade, smoke tomato aioli, pine nuts and parmesan.
To start our meal we decided on two cocktails, I chose the Toledo Translator with coffee infused tequila and an ice sphere made of Vietnamese coffee, which became sweeter as the sphere melted. My guest had the Persian Imperial fizz, with sparkling wine, brandy and Hennessy, presented beautifully in a champagne flute with an apple fan.
While my eye was initially drawn to the Elk Meatball, I was torn between that and the Pot au Feu de Poisson, which featured my two favourite vegetables, beets and brussels sprouts. Jim informed me that the meatball was definitely the more hearty of the two, but that the fish had much more of a complex flavour profile. I decided to be a little adventurous and go for the char, and I was not disappointed. The fish was cooked perfectly and the shisho & galangal broth added a sweet tanginess to the dish.
Michelle’s vegan option was the Pastilla, yam, spinach and caramelized onion wrapped in a light phyllo pastry, served with smoky babaganoush lentils.
As our entrees arrived, Jim whipped us up two new cocktails to Chambar’s menu that he thought we would enjoy based on our first choices. He definitely hit the nail on the head, as they were both our favourite drinks of the evening. He offered me the Endymion’s Order, with rum, pineapple and mescal for a smoky finish. Jim informed us that the name is a nod to the HMS Endymion, the last naval ship to ration rum for its crew. Michelle was presented with the El Morocco Deux, another elegant looking cocktail with pineapple, lime and pomegranate juices, cognac and dubonnet, misted with rosewater and garnished with rose petals.
After our filling main course, the dessert offerings were nice and light to round off the meal. Michelle was presented a sorbet trio of mango, raspberry and passionfruit, while I tried the Tarte au Citron Vert, an upscale take on a Key Lime pie that really hit the spot.
Ben the Bartender informed me that no trip to Chambar was complete without trying one of their Belgian beers, which are shipped from Belgium 3-4 times a year, with the list changing every few weeks based on how popular certain beers are. After a round of cold ones, Jim offered us a digestif as a nightcap. My experience at Chambar was one I will not soon forget, the warm and friendly staff, delicious food and drink and the expertly curated vibe all came together to create a unique and memorable dining experience.
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