I heard that Chef Hiro “Yoshi” Takeda was launching a new fresh sheet on Friday and seeing as the weather was looking pretty positive for a motorcycle ride up the Fraser Canyon, I decided to go for a ride with a stop at Chef Takeda’s restaurant, 293 Wallace Street and sample a couple of items from their new fresh sheet.
When Chef Takeda welcomed me and was explaining his new fresh sheet he told me that his philosophy is to have a variety of styles of food to keep the menu accessible to the variety of diners who visit his restaurant.
There are the “safe” menu choices, the more challenging items, and then the “out there” items for people like me who willingly eat ants, reindeer moss and Douglas Fir kombucha.
With that in mind, I took Chef’s advice and started with the salmon chowder.
The salmon chowder was loaded with large chunks of salmon that I assume were caught in the nearby Fraser River. I enjoyed this chowder because the broth was so perfect. All too often kitchens will add too much flour or thickener to the broth to make it more “chowder-like”. The kitchen at 293 Wallace do not make that mistake. A perfect broth.
After the salmon chowder I decided to skip past the pan seared scallops and go way out there on the menu. I went to the wild boar belly with pine mushrooms, locally grown sage, roasted potatoes and Chilliwack corn all in a pork broth.
When the wild boar dish was placed in front of me the aroma that rose from the plate was incredibly pleasing. So many complex smells! The lightly grilled boar, the sage, the pine mushrooms and the broth created a “zone” of happiness. So much so that people from a nearby table came over to ask what I was having.
Of course once I tasted the dish, the star was the wild boar belly.
Unlike pork belly, the wild boar belly has a wonderful firmness to it. Even the fatty part of the wild boar has a pleasing texture with resistance to the bite. And the flavour of the wild boar, obviously, is much stronger than pork – all part of the appeal of this dish.
It really was wonderful.
Because I limited myself to a cup of soup and the wild boar belly from the starter menu I still had room for dessert.
Once again I chose to go to the outer edge of the menu. No, there were no ants on my dessert but there was a butternut squash panna cotta with birch syrup, burnt hazelnut, Granny Smith apple purée and caramelized milk skin.
Although strictly speaking panna cotta is a dessert made from sweetened cream thickened with gelatine, Chef Takeda’s butternut squash panna cotta was sweet and dessert-like, but with enough squash flavour that I was able to convince myself I was eating a healthy dish.
The birch syrup is really quite astounding. Chef recommended that I just touch the back of my spoon into the syrup and place it on the tip of my tongue. Wow. The flavours were astounding. One drop of birch syrup just exploded into such a deep and complex sweetness.
I really admire what Chef Takeda and his team at the 293 Wallace Street Restaurant are doing. Yes, some of the offerings are “out there” but they still manage to keep the menu accessible.
Chef Takeda’s restaurant is located at 293 Wallace Street in Hope, BC. If you are driving through Hope, stop in and try the food. I’m sure you’ll like it.