Despite my last few posts, I swear, I don’t usually eat out this often!
Last night I was able to attend the Long Table Series Dinner at The Irish Heather with 20+ of my dietetics classmates. The Long Table Dinner series is a nightly (Sunday – Thursday) dinner where 40 people gather around a 40 foot long table, and all dine on the set menu for the evening, all for a reasonable price, including an artisan beer (or sometimes cider). Much like your traditional Sunday night dinner, you will find offerings of roast beef, chicken pot pie, and suckling pig, to name a few. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available (with advance notice).
As stated on their website – Like coming home to "Sunday Dinner," but without the clean up.
We all arrived at the restaurant in Gastown, and mingled at the bar until the dinner bell was rung. I, of course, took the opportunity to snap a few photos.
The dinner itself actually wasn’t hosted in The Irish Heather though, but next door in the sister restaurant, The Salty Tongue Café. Shortly after 6:30, the bell was rung, and we were all lead to the community table, where it’s “first come, first served” for seats – although we made sure to save enough for the rest of our group who had yet to arrive.
The table was indeed long, and the quarters were tight, but that’s all part of the experience! As is the beverage…
Dun dun dun.
Beer. Newcastle Brown Ale to be exact.
But I don’t drink beer.
Damnit! Photographic evidence!
Yes, I drank the beer. It was included, and sitting in front of me. I couldn’t let it go to waste. But it still tasted like beer. I’ll stick to wine or cocktails, thanks.
While were were chatting away, sipping on that beer, the chef came into the room to tell us about the menu for the evening (which, you can find on the Long Table Series Blog – handy for planning the night you want to attend). The featured dish for the evening was a mushroom risotto finished with “lots of butter and cream” and truffle oil, with braised beef short ribs.
Even though I adore mushroom risotto, I have little fondness for things such as short ribs, so I had opted for the vegetarian menu – a mushroom and root vegetable pot pie with mashed potatoes (vegans could sub fries for the potatoes).
You could say the plating of the pot pie left a little to be desired. The plate really could have used a pop of colour (sprig of parsley anyone?) or a drizzle of mushroom jus. And I never quite figured out why mine came plated on top of the mashed potatoes – no one else’s did.
No matter, once everyone had their meals, we all dug in.
I was excited to see the thick, mushroomy filling. But was less excited when I took a bite. It was cold. All the way through. Thinking it was just mine, I didn’t say anything, but soon found out that the others in the group having the pie also had cold dinners. Back they went to the kitchen, never to be seen again.
Wait, we didn’t get the pies back?
Sadly, no. They informed us it would take too long to heat them up, and offered us a vegetable pasta dish in lieu.
It turned out to be fettuccine (linguini? I don’t know my pasta shapes well) with spinach and eggplant in a garlicky broth type sauce, with fresh cheese (mozzarella?) on top. Others also had tomato on their dishes, but I requested mine without.
It had potential. The flavour was good, but I found it salty. Not enough that I couldn’t eat it, but enough that I had to drink that whole damn beer 😉 I did appreciate the replacement meal on the fly though.
As for the risotto and ribs, they seemed like a hit with those who ate them. And I may have nabbed a bite of someone’s risotto, which was delightful with the truffle oil finish. I almost wish I had asked them to bring me out risotto alone to replace my cold pot pie. Mmmm, risotto.
They also offer a dessert after the meal (for an additional cost), which I happily accepted when I found out there was a chocolate cheesecake.
Yes, it was as decadent and rich as it looks. Too much for one mortal to consume after dinner though. I passed it around to some of the classmates so they could have a taste, and brought the rest home for a midnight snack.
The other dessert option was an apple and pear pie. It just so happens the diner beside me ordered one, so I was able to snap a photo.
I hear it was delicious, and warm in the centre.
Despite the issues with the vegetarian meals that night (for which the restaurant did compensate us), it was a really fun experience. Plus it was a great social outing for our class, seeing as we’re all just a bunch of (health-conscious) foodies really. I would love to go back to another Long Table dinner, as all their menus look delicious, and the value cannot be beat!
Even if it means drinking another beer.