5251 Oak St, Vancouver BC V6M 4H1
My lovely girlfriend invited me out for a belated birthday dinner and how could I say no. We decided to meet half way between our two places and she suggested Shaughnessy Restaurant at Van Dusen Botanical Garden. I had only ever been in this venue during my visits to the garden and thought it would be a fancy place to have meal.
And I was right – the restaurant is right off of the parking lot entrance and its enclosed patio overlooks part of the garden that houses fountains and lush walkways. It was beautiful and very whimsical. And to make things even better, it was a warm and sunny evening – I wore my sunglasses through most of the meal.
We started off with some calamari to share – a reliable choice of appetizer for me. The pieces were curled in little ringlets and had a panko-like coating on them. These crispy bites were served with a side of dill yogurt for dipping and some pickled red onions. I enjoyed this dish but the portion size was definitely on the smaller size. It was shareable between the two of us, but it would not have been enough for any additional people.
My girlfriend picked the Smoked Steelhead Pasta for her entree, and to be entirely honesty I didn’t try any of her food so I can’t say much about that but it looked good. She said it was pretty decent, there were some substantial chunks of trout in a very creamy sauce. I’m going to blame Covid on this one because you’re not really supposed to be sharing food.
For my main dish, I chose the Chicken Pesto Supreme – the pesto was actually made with pumpkin seeds, which was interesting. It came as a giant dollop on top of my chicken. I would have preferred a more traditional pesto with a stronger flavor as I found this take was very mild. The chicken had a nice char and the natural jus from it flavoured the vegetables nicely. It was cooked perfectly, still tender and not dry. There was really nothing special about it but I was still happy to eat it.
We finished with a chocolate espresso creme brulee which was definitely the highlight. It was rich and have a subtle but nice coffee flavour. It came with some cute cut-out short bread cookies and fresh raspberries. My only complaint would be that the caramelized sugar layer was too thin and not brulee-d enough so it was more like a custard.
Overall, I really loved the ambiance of this restaurant – I can see why it makes such a great (and popular) wedding venue. As for the service, well it was pretty non-existent and slow for a fancy fine-dining place. I wouldn’t come back for the food either but it would be a lovely place to have a cocktail and look out into the garden.
- Crispy Calamari $15
- Smoked Steelhead Pasta $26
- Chicken Pesto Supreme $28
- Chocolate Espresso Creme Brulee $11
Beats: Fancy – Drake feat. T.I. & Swizz Beatz