Feb 3, 2012

ORU at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

This week I booked a Dine Out Vancouver at ORU at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.  Dine Out Vancouver is a great way to experience the menus of restaurants that you usually wouldn't visit (or be able to afford to visit). This was a $28 menu, which is a little more than my last one, but a great value for this location.  ORU's menu is a Pan-Asian, fusion style and I've always heard good things, so I was really excited to try.

After being seated promptly, our server proceeded to try and interest us in, what we later found, was one of the most expensive bottles of wine on the wine list.  I was even more surprised when I learned that the wine she was promoting was not even a British Columbian wine.  Disappointing that servers in high-end hotel restaurants in our city do not promote a local product, and instead promote a Napa Valley wine.

I started with the Albacore tune karaage, served with a sesame spinach and bonito brother. It was startling how quickly our tables (there were 4 of us) first course was served.  It seemed to me like they had a production line going in the kitchen and that the food was not cooked to order.  The tuna was okay - lukewarm, had okay flavour, and was cooked perfectly.  But the problem?  There were 2 very small pieces.

We were lucky enough to be served an extra course, an asparagus and grilled radicchio risotto.  Absolutely delicious flavour, good temperature and a great sized portion. A nice contrast to the small, somewhat cold tuna. 

For my main I, without a doubt, made the right decision by ordering the beef short-ribs, served with a chimmichuri mashed potato and roasted root vegetables.  Definitely the best plate of food I had while at ORU.  The meat was so juicy and tender, you could cut it with a fork.  The chimmichuri mashed potatoes were a really nice side for this, the flavour of the meat and the potatoes was really complementary. This dish is the one I would return to ORU for. 

Dessert was lacking - we had a selection of all of the offered desserts at our table, and I was able to try all of them.  Mine was the worst. I had the coconut and citrus pavlova served with lemon curd, meringue and coconut foam. It tasted like it was straight out of a package. Nothing original about this dish at all, and not much to it.  The only saving grace of this plate was the killer lemon curd.  If you visit ORU in the future, I would highly suggest the caramel praline parfait for dessert. 

I am not sure if I will return.  It was very obvious that they have made a special Dine Out Vancouver menu, which should be a great opportunity to showcase their best dishes.  They have obviously gone another direction which is unfortunate.  As for the small portions - thank goodness for our extra course, or I would have left hungry. All of our courses came extremely quickly, not just the tuna.  This just further proved my not cooked to order theory.

Just a couple other notes about our evening:
  • Our service sucked.  There is no other way to say it.  She started off as extremely attentive, but then was sat a group of about 40.  We had courses that did not even have a quality check.  I had ordered wine with my meal that did not materialize until the person filling water glasses asked if I was done with my wine glass.  They did end up comping my wine, but I had my first sip of it with my last bite of dinner.  Not ideal. 

  • Parking. If you visit ORU, park in the Fairmont Pacific Rim lot and bring your parking stub, they will validate it so that you pay only $6.  That is an absolute steal of a deal for parking in this area.  It would have been nice to know about this before arriving at the restaurant.  They could simply send it out with their OpenTable email confirmation.  Or even better, when the hostess calls you the day of, to confirm your reservation, they could simply mention it.  

Oru at Fairmont Pacific Rim on Urbanspoon

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