Thursday, May 23, 2013

Japanese / Italian Beer Dinner at Pumphouse

Master Sushi Chef. Italian Chef. Craft Beer. Birthday Celebration. Sounds like a winning combo to me. We attended this collaboration dinner to experience this gem at the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond, who host a monthly long table dinner. This month, they went off the rails to have Sushi Master Shunji Yamamoto and Executive Chef Daniela Iaci collaborate to create a meal that blended these two unique cultures and culinary expertise. It was evident that a lot of planning went into the menu and as both chefs are busy at their day jobs, Daniela is at the Pumphouse Pub (and is currently creating a brand new menu) and Shunji is the sushi master at Kitanoya GUU in Richmond. If you really want to experience a treat, go to GUU and ask Master Yamamoto create dishes for you rather than eating off the menu. This experience will be more expensive than the regular menu, but you won’t regret it.

The birthday boy of the night was no other than Dan Colyer, half of the dynamic duo from Fuggles & Warlock Craftwork. If you’re local to Vancouver, you may have been lucky enough to try their Super 8-Bit that they made at Alameda Brewing in Portland. Dan and his brewing partner, Tony Iaci, are home brewers and when the fine lads at Beerthirst tasted various renditions of Super 8-Bit they called up Alameda to see if Dan and Tony could brew at their facilities. Alameda graciously agreed and the rest was hoppy history. Not sure if it’s public knowledge yet so I won’t spill the beans, but I know that they have another brewing adventure up their sleeve with another brewery. Stay tuned! I’ve been lucky enough to sample a number of their beers and these guys create some amazing beers and graphics. I may get to say I knew Dan and Tony when....

Dinner time. Hope you have your appetite on board and a thirsty palate as we have some great beers from Beerthirst to pair with this collaboration dinner.

Course One
Portobello and oyster mushroom tempura served with and Italian spicy roasted tomato sauce and a Yuzu citrus ponzu aioli
Paired with Elysian Savant IPA

The mushrooms were tender and succulent. I paired the Portobello with the roasted tomato sauce and the oyster with the aioli. Both were great combos and the spicy kick in the aioli was a welcome addition. The Elysian Savant IPA complimented the spicy and complex flavours that both sauces shared and the carbonation in the beer cleansed the palate.

Course Two
Korean-style spicy beef tartare with arugula salad and a horseradish crème fraiche; topped with red onion and capers
Paired with Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale

The thinly sliced, spicy tartare was amazing. It was relaxing in a light crème fraiche and topped with a thin slice of parmasen. The Superfuzz is a great beer. The blood oranges work so well with the pale ale but I could have done with a hoppier beer to work with the spices in the beef. 

Course Three
Mac-n-Motoyaki: roasted kabocha pumpkin purée with motoyaki sauce, sautéed shrimp, cauliflower and macaroni noodles
Paired with Elysian Immortal IPA
My pasta-loving-non-sushi-eating husband rejoiced when he saw this. Motoyaki is a style of Japanese cooking in which seafood is baked with a mayonnaise based sauce on top, traditionally served on an oyster shell. Ours was served in a foil tin but it didn’t take away from the experience. The sauce was mild and the combination of pumpkin, shrimp and cauliflower worked well together. The Immortal IPA paired well with this dish although I wonder if the Superfuzz should have been the beer for this course as this dish wasn’t spicy and didn’t require that extra bitterness from the hops.

Course Four
Aburi sushi and uni risotto finished with a drizzle of soy sauce and crispy homemade prosciutto
Paired with Odin Freya’s Gold Kolsch Style Ale

The preparation of the sushi was part of the show. Master Yamamoto prepared the sushi while a number of us admired and took pictures. The sushi was fresh, favourful and perfectly seared. The sea urchin in the creamy risotto was delicious! What an amazing course. The Odin was a good choice for this pairing and if you know Odin’s styles, they make their beers specifically to pair with food.

Course Five
Japanese-style coffee jelly made with cold-pressed 49th Parallel coffee and topped with marscapone
Paired with Alameda Black Bear Stout

Whoa. Coffee jelly, coffee and marscapone? YES PLEASE! The strong coffee flavours and the Black Bear Stout sang a happy tune and danced a wee little jig in my mouth. Beautiful. And the coffee jelly was made by no other than Dan’s wife, Yuri. Superb.

The dinner was $50 and we felt it was well worth the money (their long table dinners are usually $40). This collaboration dinner was unique, fun and exquisite. Slow, long golf clap to both chefs and for Pumphouse and Beerthirst for hosting.

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