ROYAL DINETTE: Ugly Duckling Dinner No. 4 with Jesse McCleery from Pilgrimme

 Royal Dinette
905 Dunsmuir St., Vancouver B.C.


ABOUT THE UGLY DUCKLING DINNER SERIES | Taking its cue from such acclaimed chefs as Matt Orlando of Amass Restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark and Dan Barber of New York’s Blue Hill restaurant, Royal Dinette launched its Ugly Duckling Dinner Series in October 2015. This thought-provoking culinary series was designed with the intent to educate guests on food-waste awareness and sustainability issues through dishes that feature the “ugly ducklings” of the culinary world. In keeping with this theme, each Ugly Duckling menu transforms commonly discarded cast-offs and scraps such as juice pulp, cores, roots and stems, offal, coffee grounds and pork skin into a truly unforgettable meal with an ecological message.

ABOUT ROYAL DINETTE | Located in the heart of Vancouver’s Financial District at 905 Dunsmuir St., Royal Dinette brings together the best fresh, locally sourced ingredients for a true farm-to-table feast for the senses. With an ever-changing seasonal menu, fresh pasta, pastry and butcher stations and a bar menu offering an array of local craft beer, sparkling wine and handmade classic cocktails, Royal Dinette pairs the laidback, informal atmosphere of a bygone diner with an elegant standard of service to bring quality, value and creativity of cuisine to a whole new audience[1].

The night started off with these three unique ‘snacks’ – Beef Heart in Umeboshi (Japanese salted plum) brine; Sunchoke Skin; and Tuscan Kale – all paired with a delicious ‘Dilemma’ Cocktail.

SUNCHOKE SKIN – Salt Cod, Toasted Seed & BEEF HEART – Umeboshi Brine, Spent Levin Cracker & Herb Stem.
TUSCAN KALE – Duck Skin Crumble & Fermented Squash Gut

Next set of dishes; No.2 Kohlrabi paired with SOAHC Riesling 2014 Fruitvale, B.C.
This light ‘salad’ was refreshing as the sea vegetables and salmon roe added a subtle saltiness to the dish.

NO. 2 KOHLRABI – Salmon Roe & Sea Vegetables

Celery Root was tender and the Whey Butter sauce that accompanied it was rich and creamy – truly amazing. This was paired with ‘Stalk to the Hand’ Cocktail; a creative play on a Caesar, but better.

CELERY ROOT – Herring Head Garum, Celery Leaf, Stinging Nettle & Whey Butter

I had Sablefish many times, but not the collar. I would compare it to having halibut, then being introduced to halibut cheeks.  The texture was melt in your mouth tender.   The corn ear dashi was perfectly seasoned and worked very well with the Sablefish. This was paired with Osake Junmai Nama Sake.

SABLEFISH COLLAR – Dried Galiano Corn Ear Dashi & Smoked Skin Furikake

I really enjoyed this dish. I wasn’t familiar with Pasta Al Sangue so I had to look it up. I was  shocked about the ingredients.  Google it.
The dish was served with Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Gamay Noir 2014, Beaujolais, France.

PASTA AL SANGUE – Crispy Bits & Preserved Cucumber

This delightful dish had so many complex levels of texture. From the silky smooth yolk, to the gritty grains and the light Kvass.
The bright yellow duck yolk had a beautiful ombré color that was produced by the beet. A delight to the eyes.

CHEWY GRAIN – Duck Yolk, Beetroot & Kvass served with FERMENTED POTATO SKIN BREAD – Smoked Kelp Butter & Burnt Leek Top


Paired with ‘Let the Beet Drop’ Cocktail, a beet juice based drink, as the name states. An earthy refreshment.


STEAMED RED FIFE BRAN & HONEY CAKE – Sake Kasu Caramel, Plum Kernel Kefir & Apple Peel Vinegar.

The final course of the night; Steamed Red Fife Bran & Honey Cake paired with Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2015 Piedmont, Italy.
The Moscato was perfectly paired with this dense cake.  If no one was looking I would have licked the plate clean of the Sake Kasu Caramel sauce, it was that good!

It was such a honour to cover an amazing dinner with two talented chefs; Chef Jesse McCleery of Pilgrimme and Chef Jack Chen of Royal Dinette.  These two powerhouses offered a unique take on farm-to-table and ‘no-waste’ cuisine.  If you haven’t tried the ‘Ugly Duckling’ dinner series, I highly recommend you do.  It is an eye opening experience on food that we would normally waste or discard, and rework them into delicious dishes.

The Ugly Duckling Dinner Series will continue into the Spring with another Guest Chef edition planned for Tuesday, Apr. 26. Details and menu can be found on Royal Dinette’s website.

[1] Sourced from Shelly McArthur Communications
*All food and beverages were complimentary and opinions are completely my own.




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