Saturday, September 08, 2007


I’m not a big risk taker. i am admittedly boring – I like the safety of the tried and tested, the classic choices which speak out to me in sensible, reassuring measures of that which is known. my risk aversion rears its boring, sensible head often when I’m ordering at restaurants. rather than throw caution to the wind and order the panfried watermelon which I’m curious about, I end up with crème brulee (which I adore – we have a long happy history).

while ls probably wouldn’t declare himself to be the world’s greatest risk taker, he does order the funkier stuff on the menu and dining with him is always a pleasure because he orders the things I secretly want to order but refrain from doing so because of my risk aversion. such was the case when we recently toddled over to arbutus
for supper.

the service at arbutus was refreshingly non-chi-chi but at times bordered on being entirely gormless. not being one for high maintenance, it wasn’t cause for complaint, but did cause ls to question the reliability of anything I said when I mentioned in passing that arbutus had been awarded a star. it was a curiosity. the food however did not disappoint. it was clean, relaxed, and well tasty. none of the microscopic portion nonsense here. we had to share a pudding because we were much too well fed to order one each.

ls ordered the pig’s head terrine to start. and when it arrived, I silently cursed my risk aversion. it was a plate full of gelatinous, meaty goodness in a thick generous panfried slice. served with a creamy potato puree and sweet caramelized onions wrapped in a sliver of pork cheek. jwt, had previously proclaimed this dish one of his all-time favourites when he recently partook of the exact same dish at wild honey, sibling restaurant to arbutus. jwt was probably right.

my envy of ls’ starter was soon assuaged when I ate my own – little raviolis of oxtail confit in tomato sauce. the rich, red wine laced oxtail confit in the light, thin egg pasta blouses. the rich meaty bites of bullish pleasure, the sweetness of the vine tomatoes. I stopped lusting after the pig’s head.

ls ordered the caillettes of pork with carrot and potato puree. his “old fashioned pork meatballs” – the explanation given when we queried what on earth caillettes were, though looking rather rude and testicular like, were delicious. each extremely large meatball were entirely meat. I suppose that’s what you should expect meatballs to be. and I suppose they would have gotten it right in the old days. somehow I was surprised by the meatiness of the meatballs. but then again I shouldn’t have been thinking of the ikea meatballs (which by the way i do admit that i adore in all its microwaveable glory) in the same breath.

I had wanted to order the caillettes. but my risk aversion overtook yet again when the waiter mentioned that the fish of the day was roasted skate with cockles. I caved. I do love skate, and the cockles made it sound slightly bryn-williams-esque. the skate came dressed in a light nutty beurre noissette like sauce and lashings of smooth mashed potato.

the one pudding we shared was the cherry clafoutis. it was deliciously warm when it arrived, cherries in their loving blanket of sponge-y baked batter, with a drizzle each of vanilla and cherry sauce on the side.

I’m not much of a risk taker. while the safe and well tested hasn’t disappointed me so far, I suppose life’s probably far too short to just eat the same dish and contend with order-envy. perhaps the next time, I’ll order the pan-fried watermelon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heads are usually a pretty good bet, whatever the species. Think of it this way - they don't look that good, so they have to taste good to get on the menu...

Great blog, fellow foodie!


10:10 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I've had that pig's head terrine at Wld Honey - it's a winner, isn't it!! Not to mention the potato puree... The cherry clafoutis looks spectacular too.

4:11 PM  

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