Bittered Sling Bistro is the brainchild of Kale & Nori’s Lauren Mote and Chef Jonathan Chovancek. It’s a cocktail food pairing competition which brings together this city’s most talented and popular bartenders together. The bartenders must create cocktails that best suits each dish of a set menu and the guests then judge the dinner.
Before the actual dinner, we are greeted in the beautiful magnificent foyer of Legacy Liquor Store (one of the best looking liquor stores in town!). We are handed with a cocktail created by Lauren and nibbled on a few hors d’oeuvres freshly made on the spot by Jonathan. The hors d’oeuvres of the night were spiced nettle crisps with black garlic, radish and and sheep milk feta then a delicate spoonful of black chickpea puree with sesame, yogurt and mint
It was an interactive and entertaining affair with the charming Lauren as hostess. She introduced the liquor choice for the dinner was Okanagan Spirits. The effervescent and talented Evelyn Chick of UVA Wine Bar was our bartender of the night.
Side note: I lost my notes on the cocktails :-( but I do vividly recall that I felt her cocktails paired well with each dish.
The first dish that paired was the unique fiddlehead, chorizo pork belly, and pickled red mustard sabayon
As with any good pork belly, it was tender, moist, and melted in your mouth. I think it was my first time trying fiddlehead and it’s actually a pretty hearty side dish vegetable.
The second dish of the night was the delectable halibut in smoky west coast dashi with wild rice, roasted mushroom, and quinoa crust.
The fish was flaky and delicate. The whole plate seemed just so healthy and fresh with each bite.
And of course to cap off the night, there was dessert
It was a sweet and tart dessert of preserved quince, caramelized, lemon meringue, maple granola caramel.
Though out the night, Evelyn would talk about her inspiration for the drink and why she picked certain elements to match with the dish. After we finished noshing on our dessert, we each got a mini survey and rated how well the cocktails paired with the food.
On April 30, the blackbox finale competition was held at Ginger 62. After months of dinners and drinks, the announced finalists were the creme of the crop of Vancouver bartending:
Grant Sceney, The Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver BC
Gerry Jobe, Raudz Regional Table, Kelowna BC
Jay Jones, Market by Jean-Georges and The Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver BC
David Wolowidnyk, West Restaurant, Vancouver BC
Evelyn Chick, UVA Wine Bar and Cibo Trattoria, Vancouver BC
Danielle Tatarin, The Keefer Bar
There was the blackbox showdown rounds where the bartenders had a mysterious ‘blackbox’/black paper wrapped liquor to choose from a table of ingredients and bitters. Then it came to the grand finale between Evelyn and Gerry! By the end of the series and the night, Gerry of Raudz Regional Table came out victorious!
The second series of this competition starts soon! So better book your spot to have an intimate cocktail food pairing dinner with your favourite bartender.