After months of anticipation, award-winning chef David Hawksworth’s new restaurant, Nightingale, has finally opened for business offering contemporary Canadian cuisine. So what exactly is Canadian cuisine? It’s essentially a local food unique to the region with a mix of multiculturalism. At Nightingale, the menu is inspired with global influences jazzed up using locally sourced ingredients.
Located in Coal Harbour’s MNP Tower, Nightingale has completely transformed the historical building into a timeless and modern chic place with refurbished light fixtures, remodeled library furniture, and marble countertops. The restaurant is family-style, so the food here is meant to be shared. The menu is categorized into five sections: raw, vegetables, pizza, small, large. Our food was meticulously sequenced by our serve for us to fully enjoy the experience and taste of each unique dish.
2011 Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico ($66.00). A wine with lots of mineral, limestone, and dried cherry aromas. Since it was a special occasion, our table decided to order a bottle of wine to share. The wine was nice and light with a lingering aftertaste of earthly elements accented with hints of cherry.
Burrata and Anchovy Toast, Peperonata, Parsley ($16.00) The combination was simply divine. I was a bit hesitant at first as I usually find anchovies to taste intensively pungent and fishy, but the anchovies blended in quite well with the bell pepper stew and burrata. If anything, it left a subtle salty taste than fishy one.
Beef Heart Tartare ($13.00) with cured egg yolk, horseradish, kale pistou, grilled bread. I wasn’t a big fan of this one 😦 The beef heart tasted quite gamy and over-salted. The addition of the cured egg yolk shavings and kale pistou (blend of fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil) made the dish overwhelmingly salty masking the natural flavour of the beef tartare. The components did not work well for me.
Insider source: Terra Breads supplies all of the bread here 😉
Guanciale, green olive, san marzano, chili, fior di latte ($17.00) The Neapolitan style pizza came out fresh and piping hot from their wood fire pizza oven! I loved the use of the cured pork jowl incorporated with the olive, chili, cheese, and use of the san marzano plum tomato for the sauce.
Crispy Fried Chicken ($13.00) Served with preserved lemon yogurt,dill, espelette. I could definitely taste the quality of the chicken after the initial bite. The chicken was freshly deep-fried with good seasoning and the fresh yogurt complimented the dish very well. For five pieces, the price is a bit steep, but quality is there. 🙂
Oven Roasted Cauliflower ($12) with sunflower seeds and green harissa. Cauliflower was perfectly roasted with nice charring giving the florets that nutty and buttery taste. The sunflower seeds added a nice little crunch-and with the green harissa, it was an amazing result of a well-executed dish that left a memorable mark on our evening.
Octopus ($19.00) Pacific octopus, blistered caper, parsley, fermented chili, vinegar. I was looking forward to this dish the most, however, I was disappointed. The texture of the octopus was just too tough and rubbery. It’s unfortunate that the octopus was overcooked. 😦
Pasta ($23.00) Cavatelli carbonara, prosciutto cotto, parmigiano, parsley. This was the most disappointing dish of the night for me 😦 Pasta was cooked a little too al dente! The way they make their pasta needs a bit of tweaking in my opinion as I was not too fond of the use of cavatelli in the pasta. Perhaps longer period of kneading to soften its texture? I would have preferred the longer strand pastas like tagliatelle, linguine, or fettucine for creamier pairings. The parmigiano bits sprinkled on top tasted more like coarse sea salt than cheese to me. Morever, the use of prosciutto cotto added more saltiness which wasn’t very pleasant to eat
For dessert, we shared the Pavlova ($12) and Lemon Tart ($12)
The pavlova consisted of poached cherry, black currant, and vanilla. The sauce was great! However, the pavlova was a big letdown. When you think of pavlova, you think of a crunchy meringue on the outside, and marshmallow centre that’s soft and light on the inside. Pavlova is usually baked over a period of time under low heat. However, this was way too sweet and over-baked. It felt like I was biting on solidified sugar!
Lemon tart with crème, strawberry, and vanilla was definitely a highlight for me. The lemon tart was delightfully sweet with the perfect amount of tartness and lemon flavour that wasn’t too overpowering.
Although Nightingale boasts contemporary Canadian cuisine, it’s more of an Italian establishment in my books.
1017 W Hastings Street