26 Apr Savoury City’s Gatsby-Inspired Dinner Event
Savoury City’s Gatsby-Inspired Dinner Event
A Roaring Success!
Spots of Time
The Romantic poet, William Wordsworth, wrote of “spots of time.” The idea that life is generally a slog, but what keeps us going are those defining moments of grace–the spots of time that make life worth living and sustain us until the next one.
In essence, that’s what Savoury City’s Donna Wadsworth and Blaine Arnot do for a living.
Creating memorable, or rather, unforgettable, moments is their passion. As Donna explained during her toast to kick off the evening, “We are about the classics–the comfort and the joys of community and sharing.”
Their Gatsby-inspired tasting evening, held in their splendidly decorated “Back-Alley Tasting Room” was the quintessential example of their acumen for atavism, and their ability to create the perfect “spot of time” for their guests.
As we entered via the back alley door (reminiscent of the old prohibition-era speakeasies), we were warmly greeted by Donna, our ebullient host, and ushered to the bar where we were treated to custom-made cocktails, and champagne. With Ella Fitzgerald playing in the background, guests mingled and snacked on Chef Mathew’s unique and creative bite-sized works of canape art–a synesthesia of senses had been evoked as we took our seats.
The stark juxtaposition of the casual elegance of the tasting room with the gritty back alley from which we entered was not lost on us. It seems to serve as an apt metaphor for what Donna and Blaine strive to achieve with every event they host–to transport their guests from the mundane, dull, and ordinary to a magical locale where time itself seems to stand still–a place one can leave worries, stresses and anxieties behind (in the back alley).
The tasting room felt like a peaceful oasis in the middle of the bustling city. Decorated with a mix of old and new, the antiquated silverware mingled with modern martini glasses, and Donna’s Mother’s floral plates mixed with mid-century modern decor–a cornucopia of stylistic influences that worked together in perfect harmony. Rustic yet modern. Refined but not rigid.
The Who’s Who:
Much like the eclectic decor, our divers guests dined in comfortable harmony. Easy conversation and quick connections were made. Living in Vancouver, it usually only takes a few minutes to figure out who you know in common! Of course, the one thing we all had in common was a love of Donna and Blaine and their unparalleled culinary talent!
Before long, we were seated, and Executive Chef, Mathew Koyanagi, proceeded to describe the masterpieces that we had the tremendous fortune to taste! After each dish of our 4-course dinner, Chef Mathew would return to introduce and explain what we were about to experience.
What became clear to all of us was that Chef Mathew is no ordinary chef. His love of food, attention to detail and passion for cooking and connecting through food was inspiring and drew applause from the dinner guests–clearly moved by his talent and ability to take us on his culinary journey with eloquence and humility.
Some Culinary Highlights
Chef Mathew’s culinary creations reflect Savoury City’s philosophy: The freshest ingredients from local companies and seasonal produce from local suppliers. For example, the fish was caught in the last 72 hours and the produce arrived fresh from nearby farms!
Oysters Baked Three Ways
Japanese Ramen style: Smoked Curry, Japanese style curry broth, house smoked Ariana Dairy feta cheese pressed for 48 hours with applewood. A nod to Chef Mathew’s Japanese heritage.
Oyster Florentine: garlic sautéed spinach, parmesan cream sauce, butter toasted panko.
Oysters Kilpatrick: Worcestershire sauce, bacon, shallot and garlic, gratinee with Dubliner cheese. Chef Mathew said this one will “smack you in the face with flavour!” He was right!
Deconstructed Caesar Salad:
Little Gem red and green lettuce from Hannah Brook Farms, quartered and lightly grilled for a little more bitterness; focaccia croutons (hand-made by Blaine); Oyama house prosciutto; Italian parmesano and Reggiano; marinated white anchovies and house made caesar dressing.
Creme Caramel: Donna’s all time favorite dessert)
Burnt orange caramel, orange peel (blanched and put into the caramel and burnt sugar to get a “floralness” to the flavour). Made with Maple Hill eggs, which have beautiful yellow yolks for a truly “eggy” flan. Late season Blood Oranges, mint salad, and candied orange leather.
By the end of the evening, strangers had become friends, emails and Instagram addresses were exchanged, and lasting memories were made. This is the rare brand of magic that Donna and Blaine perform on a daily basis!
We left, our bodies and spirits nourished. As the French Poet, Paul Eluard once wrote, “There is another world, but it is in this one.” For us, that other world was Savoury City’s Back Alley Tasting Room, where we had an otherworldly culinary experience while firmly ensconced in a Fraser Street back alley.