Ensemble Tap is the second restaurant that Top Chef Canada’s winner Dale MacKay has opened in Vancouver. Ensemble Tap is re-defined casual dining – With over 40 brews on tap and a menu filled with pub favourites (including meat pies, fish and chips and chicken wings), this restaurant is a departure from Ensemble’s (Chef MacKay’s first restaurant) more refined, West Coast inspired French cuisine. It features a 35 feet-long bar, a 90-seat main dining area, and a 40-seat mezzanine available for private parties.
I met @phoelam there for lunch – I tweeted the restaurant for reservations. I was surprised when the Top Chef himself tweeted me back to say hi!. Once I arrived, Chef MacKay stopped by my table to introduce himself and say hello. So charming!
For starters, we ordered the Nachos (Mexican pulled pork, corn, red onions, jalapenos, sour cream, and cheese sauce. $17). For an extra $2 you can add guacamole. These were fantastic. The presentation was very attractive. The cilantro garnish was a nice touch. The pulled pork was delicious, not to spicy, but flavourful. It had a melt-in-your mouth consistency. I recommend getting the guacamole. It is definitely worth it.
For our mains we ordered the Chicken Burger ($14) and the Fish and Chips ($14). The chicken burger came with bacon, avocado, romaine lettuce and smoked paprika mayo and it was served on focaccia bread. The breast of chicken was lightly breaded. Very tender and juicy.
The fish and chips were my favourites: the batter had vodka added to it, and it gives this dish a lighter flavour, compared to beer-only battered fish. Very tasty. It was also lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. It came with a small cucumber salad that was light and refreshing. My only complaint is that there was only a small portion of it. It would’ve been nice to have more of that tasty salad. It was barely a bite.
I paired my fish and chips with a glass of the Le Chouffe Belgium Strong Blonde ($8). Do not be fooled by the name: Pleasantly fruity, this is a light and refreshing beer. Perfect pairing for a fish dish.
With barely room for dessert, we had the Key Lime Pie. Perfect ending.