As you may have heard, Dine Out Vancouver is an annual celebration in our city wherein several fine dining establishments put out three-course menus at a substantially reduced price. This gives you an opportunity to try out some restaurants that may otherwise be outside of your budget… or just places that you’ve never really thought about visiting before. The latter is true with FigMint Restaurant and Lounge, one of the restaurants I’m hitting up during this year’s Dine Out Vancouver.
FigMint is located at 500 West 12th Avenue, across the street from City Square, inside the Plaza 500 Hotel. Part of the reason why I chose to go to Figmint was because of their name. You’ve got to admit: that’s a pretty creative name for a restaurant, and it’s only fitting that their menu features significant use of both figs and mint. In terms of decor, you could say that Figmint is going for the contemporary chic look. If the tables weren’t so spread out, the appearance of Figmint would fit in perfectly in Yaletown. You can tell that they’re trying to be trendy, but it all just works.
I went with Susanne, so we were able to try twice as much food as a person would be able to do on his own. The only items on the Dine Out menu that we didn’t try were the prawn bisque and sunchoke risotto.
Susanne started with the salad as her appetizer. More specifically, the menu calls it Mixed Leaves with Figs, Goats Cheese, Lemon Dressing and Reduced Balsamic. I thought the goat cheese would be a little overbearing, but it actually works quite well with the light dressing. The big chunks of fig made for quite a different salad too.
I had the Beef Tartare with Quail Egg and Purple Mustard Aioli. Seeing how I typically enjoy beef and I like a lot of my meat rare (ahi tuna is one of my favorite dishes), I knew that I would enjoy the beef tartare. It was very refreshing and I would highly recommend this dish to anyone who isn’t adverse to eating raw beef.
For the first main, we had the Duck Confit with White Bean Cassoulet. The skin on the duck was very crispy and it seemed to have undergone some sort of salt rub. As such, it was definitely on the saltier side of things, almost tasting like Chinese-style roast pork. Underneath was the white bean cassoulet, which was similar to a duck chili wrapped in duck meat.
The other main was the Pan Seared Arctic Char with Butternut Squash and Amaretti Ravioli and Almond Smoked Buttered Green Beans. Again, the skin was very crispy and the sauce made for a rather unique flavor. You could say it fit somewhere between chutney and squash. The ravioli was surprisingly sweet, but I found this dish to be too oily overall. You can see the oil quite clearly in this photo.
The Pear Tart with Thyme Custard and Lemon Sorbet as the first dessert was nothing particularly special, but I did find that the sorbet was quite cleansing. A great dessert after a heavy dinner for sure.
And here is the highlight of the night for me: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Walnut Tuile and Vanilla Ice Cream. It was warm, not too sweet, and absolutely delectable. You don’t want to know how many calories are in here, but after taking a single bite, you don’t care how many calories this contains. I really like bread pudding and similar desserts, so this sticky toffee pudding was totally up my alley.
All in all, I’d say that FigMint Restaurant and Lounge is a solid and lesser-known option when it comes to Dine Out Vancouver. I particularly enjoyed the beef tartare and the sticky toffee pudding, and while I applaud FigMint on trying something new with the Arctic Char, the flavor didn’t quite come out the way I wanted. Then again, I’m not a big fan of squash to begin with.
The total bill, which wasn’t a figment of my imagination, came to $110 for two people, including one cocktail each ($10 a piece).