Spring tasting menu at The Blackbird

By Grace Cheung,
Special to The Post 
Spring is in the air and summer is finally on the horizon. To celebrate, last week, I was invited to taste the new Spring menu at The Blackbird. Created by Chef Alvin Pillay, Research & Development of the Donnelly Group, the new menu also included fresh cocktails made by Trevor Kallies, the group's Bar & Beverage Director.
The Blackbird is an interesting space, featuring a barbershop, scotch tasting bar, pub and an oyster bar. Located on two floors in the Vancouver’s downtown financial district, it is open daily at 11:00 a.m. and serves the local business crowd as well as people looking for a nice after work drink.
We started off with a cocktail called theVitner's Brunch. The cocktail included a Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon, mixed with Victoria Oaken gin, Luxardo Cherry Morlaco Sangue, Scrappy's Cardamom bitters, and a touch of lemon zest. It is a rather light cocktail, and perfect as a starter beverage.Next, we were treated to anOyster Tasting Trio including aReed Island Oysterwith bacon and sherry vinegar mignonette, aRoyal Miyagi Oysterwith wasabi horseradish cocktail sauce, and aSawmill Bay Oysterwith cucumber and kombu. I loved the bacon mignonette, which gave the oyster a rich and meaty texture. The cucumber & kombu topping was also well-paired with the Sawmill Bay.
Next followed two salads. The first was theTempura Albacore Tuna. The tuna is wrapped in nori before being battered and fried. The inside was nice and rare with a slightly crispy exterior. There were not a lot of greens, but the cucumber and cilantro was very flavourful. I am not a huge fan of avocado, but if you are, there was plenty of it amongst the greens.Our second salad was my favourite, aDuck Confitsalad. I love the crispy skin of duck confit and this did not disappoint. Rounding out the plate were a lot of Fraser Valley beets and arugula, lightly flavoured by an aged balsamic dressing.
The dessert was a knockout. I love lemon so I was ecstatic when I saw theFrozen Lemon Barwith a layer of curd and mousse. Surrounded by a nice crumble and chunks of rhubarb, the bar was topped with a few dollops of Italian meringue. The dish was rounded out with a bright green pistachio smear. All the flavours blended well and perfectly complemented a nice light lunch.
Our final taste of the afternoon was another cocktail calledOne to Grow On. As explained by Trevor Callies, the name is a throwback to the public service announcements that aired during Saturday morning cartoons during his childhood. This cocktail is served with an old-time striped paper straw and is made with a Golden Grahams infused Absolut Elyx vodka - a nod to the cereals kids usually eat while watching morning cartoons. The cocktail also contains egg white and egg yolk, and a bit of Pale Ale and Averna Amaro, which has a rich caramel taste. The cocktail was served in a mini milk bottle, completing this trip down memory lane. 
The food was delicious, the serving portions are perfect for lunch, and the price points are comparable with the other restaurants in the area. If you are looking for a casual lunch in a fun atmosphere, be sure to give The Blackbird a try. And if you are looking for a drink after work, try the scotch tasting bar upstairs.
The Blackbird Public House
905 Dunsmuir St., Vancouver  |  604-899-4456
Grace’s Tips: 
• The Duck Confit Salad is amazing
• Skip the wine and give their cocktails a try
• $1.50 Oysters 4-6pm daily
Grace Cheung is a leading food blogger on Urban Spoon.  Read more of her reviews at www.xmasbb.blogspot.ca.
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