It’s a weekday, you’ve finished work for the day, you don’t want to cook, and all you want is a glass of wine or a cold beer, nice atmosphere and a good menu to choose from for your dinner. Where do you go? Well, how about Tableau Bistro. Yes, it’s attached to the Loden Hotel, but that doesn’t mean it’s a “tourist trap” with high prices. Actually, it’s a great bistro, with a great wine list, moderately priced, a really good menu, and an eclectic mix of visitors, locals from the Coal Harbour neighbourhood and business people in the area.
They recently won “Best Casual French” at the Van Mag Awards (Vancouver Magazine). It’s no wonder why, it’s got a breezy feel, with high ceiling, comfy seats inside by windows that open up or a quaint patio to enjoy the summer evenings.
On my recent visit here (to celebrate a successful week), I not only enjoyed the wine and food, but the service is what made my experience. Don’t you agree, it’s the personality of a server (or should we call them food and wine lovers) that makes anyones experience at a restaurant – memorable and fulfilling. So, to start, a glass of wine was in order. I blind tasted my friend on what I had ordered – the guess was: “Pinot Grigio from Italy”. Actually it was Vivace Pinot Grigio from La Stella Winery in Osoyoos, BC. A nice start post work – it was refreshing and light bodied, and very enjoyable. My friend ordered something new to both of us: Halos de Jupiter Blanc – Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier. Much less on the fruit side with more nutty and green fruit notes, nicely dry and refreshing as well.
Next up was the appetizer. We were told the Grilled Calamari and Prawns was easy to share and a decent portion. And it was – plus it was delicious. I am a big fan of not-deep-fried calamari that is tender and not a close cousin to an elastic band. Next up was our main meal and a new glass of wine. I ordered the Tuna Nicoise Salad. And I was leaning towards a red wine, so although I tasted the Gerard Bertrand Vielles Vignes Carignan (smooth, concentrated and juicy), and the Meyer Family BC Pinot Noir (a nicely done BC Pinot); I asked our food and wine lover/server to wildcard it! Meaning, I asked him to surprise me – one of my favourite things to ask a server that knows their wine and food, it’s the best way to explore something new! He delivered a lovely medium bodied Italian red, with a hint of spice but smooth enough to enjoy with food. They have a policy, that if you order a minimum of 2 glasses from a wine off the bottle menu, they will then make it available by the glass for the rest of the bottle. And this is where my glass of wine came from! Unfortunately I enjoyed it so much, I forgot to ask for the name and varietal – ha ha ha. Note to self: remember to ask!
I am a big fan of Tuna Nicoise – and this one was done well, with seared fresh tuna, cured black olives, tomatoes, green beans and potatoes with a light tomato dressing. Yummmm! My friend enjoyed our Food and Wine lover/servers favourite dish – the Pork Chop with Herbed Spaetzle. It was savoury with just enough weight that you felt satisfied without feeling like you ate too much. It was paired with the Carignan red wine mentioned above – delicious combo.
All in all – a delicious dinner, and a pleasant experience. I say, go for a drink and nibble or dinner with friends or even a dinner date!
Tableau Bistro @ The Loden Hotel
1181 Melville Street