Sugar Mountain Catering was testing out their Private Dining Experience at Arundel Mansion in New Westminster.
They found that there is a need for intimate and cozy venues without sharing the space with other restaurant patrons.
Sugar Mountain Catering has discovered Arundel Mansion for small groups in the heart of downtown New Westminster. The space is very reasonably priced and comes with a fully equipped 40-seat restaurant, kitchen and bar, as well as an upstairs suite and kitchenette. They invited us for sneak preview of what guests would experience for a 8-course dinner.
The decor seemed French inspired and has a lot of old vintage photos and posters. We have no idea who were in those photos, but it gave an old spooky charm to the place. Even finding the washroom was an adventure.
As we waited for other guests to arrive, we got a glass of Prosecco.
As an Amuse Bouche, we got cured roma tomato and basil encrusted chevre crostini with 25 year aceto balsamico. It was a nice touch that they drizzled the balsamic right in front of you.
A good 2 bite starter to start the meal. The crostini was crisp and the items on top were enjoyed.
Maple Hills Farm free range chicken consomme with vermouth, local spring morels, foie gras, mirepoix vegetables and pate feuilletee.
You break open the top of the puff pastry to get to the soup below. The soup had a thin consistency and served piping hot.
Braised Fraser Valley beef cheek and bone marrow custard with Italian parsley, fleur de sel, pink Himalayan salt, glace viande and grilled brushetta. This was one of my favourite dishes. When you scoop up the custard, the beef cheek lays inside and its so tender. I just wished there were more brushetta.
Fresh picked Dungeness crabmeat with chilled-grilled spring asparagus Pemberton Valley fingerling potatoes and a grain mustard vinaigrette. The dish was served in a fun martini glass. The crabmeat was sweet and was enjoyable, but I did find a small bit of shell in my glass.
Gulf Island pink shrimp perogies with truffle butter, wild sockeye belly bacon, ikura caviar and sour cream.I found that they shrimp filling inside was a bit small and the skin was thick.
Nori wrapped tempura ahi with shiso oil, uni cream and ponzu daikon sprouts. The tempura and nori was limp and soggy. The ahi tuna needed a little dash of salt to bring out more flavour since it was pretty bland.
Poached fillet of smoked wild BC sablefish, Fanny Boy oyster, brandade gratin, fennel, bacon and rosemary infused veloute.
The sablefish did have a few bones in it, so I had to be careful not to injest them. Other than that, the sablefish tasted good.
The Palette Cleanser between these courses was Lychee Ginger Ice. Nice and refreshing.
Roast rack of Salt Spring Island lamb with Chianti syrup, sauteed fiddleheads and roasted spring vegetable couscous en cocotte. The lamb was cooked to a medium rare making it juicy and tender.
Belgian chocolate-raspberry pot de creme was my favourite of the dessert trio. You can’t go wrong as it’s so smooth and I love chocolate.
Cashew and cardamom spiced love cake with coconut ice cream was ok but still couldn’t compare to the pot de creme.
Jackfruit tarte tatin was hard for me to eat. I wasn’t into the flavours.
It was a good experience but it did take some time for each dish to come out. With the limited space and equipment in the kitchen, I can see how it would be hard to put out all the dishes in a quick manner. In total, we dined for 3 hours and it did feel like the dinner dragged on for some time.
Some dishes were a hit and some were a miss. They have been one of the top wedding and event caterers in the Lower Mainland and this is an interesting new private dining concept they are trying out. I’m sure they will make some tweaks to the execution.