As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love my neighbourhood.
Dundarave may not be the hippest neighbourhood in Vancouver (most lights go dark by 8pm during the week), but it is certainly one of the prettiest. And the friendliest. When I moved to Dundarave from North Vancouver 4 years ago following my divorce, my boys and I explored our new neighbourhood with enthusiasm and curiosity. I quickly learned that Dundarave Village is home to many owner-operated local merchants who welcomed us warmly to our new neighbourhood. I love the idea of living, eating and shopping locally in support of small business and will go the extra mile (and dollar) to support my favourite merchants. I buy my flowers from the talented and hilarious Kyla at Limelight Floral Designs, my meat from my friendly organic butcher Sebastian at Sebastian & Company Fine Organic Meats, and gifts and accessories from the fantastic ladies at Red Horses. And wine from The Dundarave Wine Store, natch.
Dundarave Village is home to some lovely cafes and restaurants, but my favourite place for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner (on Friday and Saturday nights only) is the warm and cozy confines of The Truffle House and Cafe. Named after the illustrious and highly coveted mushroom, proprietors Fabienne and Phillipe Chaber have brought a little bit(e) of the French Riviera to our sleepy seaside village. During the week and on weekends, mother of four Fabienne is often on the floor of the restaurant, welcoming and seating tables of patient, hungry diners. Her beautiful smile, authentic warmth and delightfully accented English make her one the most charming hosts I’ve ever encountered. Fabienne studied under several Michelin-starred chefs including Michel Mico and Jean Sulpice, and her desserts are the stuff of legend; more than a few yoga pants have been stretched to their limit because of her Tarte Tatin (Brunch Blog Boss note: I can attest to the amzingness of her Tarte Tatin. It’s the best I’ve ever had). Her husband Phillipe is a passionate wine collector and The Truffle House’s resident truffle hunter during his travels through France and Italy.
I’ve had the pleasure of dining at The Truffle House and Cafe literally dozens of times over the past 4 years: on first dates and last dates, with girlfriends and family and most memorably, with my boys. I could likely recite their menu from memory although they have switched it up over the years to keep it fresh and relevant. My kids love the crepés and freshly-baked croissants, and I usually order the West Vancouver omelette with fresh vegetables and three cheeses, which comes served with toast and crispy potatoes. On my most recent visit to The Truffle House and Cafe, I took the opportunity to dine alone after a busy and stressful week. I welcomed the time to myself to catch up on my thoughts and put myself in the very capable hands of Fabienne and Maria, my favourite server. Both recommended the soup, a consommé of wild cornish game hen with zucchini balls, tomatoes, onions and sliced white crepé.
When I’m dining alone, I love people watching. I observed a table of construction workers make their way through several large, fluffy omelettes, a lovely couple of gals share a plate of Parmesan Truffle fries, and a well-known personal trainer stray from his regimented diet with healthy portion of house smoked salmon Benedict.
A fresh pot of green tea arrived along with my bowl of soup. The fresh, fragrant, clean scent of the consommé along with the complementary flavours of the vegetables and the almost matzoh-like texture of the crepe reminded me of my mother in law’s famous chicken soup, one of my Top 5 dishes in the world. I was tempted to lift the bowl to my lips and drink miso soup style, but decided to be a lady and ask for a straw instead. (Note: No I didn’t–but I DID spoon every last drop before Fabienne wrestled the bowl away from me).
The Truffle Crepe arrived a respectable amount of time after the soup bowl had been cleared and I was immediately grateful that I didn’t order a second bowl of soup. One of their most popular dishes, the Truffle Crepe is a traditional buckwheat crepe filled with black truffle purée, baby spinach, mushroom truffle cream sauce and white truffle oil topped with shaved black truffles. My first cut into the perfectly formed crepe oozed purée and cream sauce. It was decadent and perfect – creamy, musky and salty without heavy bread to mask the flavours. All of the textures combined perfectly together and I savoured the first bite while anticipating the next. One of the challenges of being a food blogger is that one should enjoy the food but be prepared to push it away for fear of gluttony.
Well, think I broke the first rule of food blogging because I *may* have enjoyed a small bowl of Parmesan Truffle fries for dessert. Fries for dessert? Why not! A brisk walk on the Sea Wall after brunch took care of any residual guilt.
Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday (Tuesday closed) 8:00 am – 2:30 pm
Friday & Saturday Dinner 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday Brunch 8:00am – 2:30pm (No reservations taken)
A publicist and blogger, Pamela Smith lives in West Vancouver with her dog, Dug, and her two sons (whom she is co-parenting with the world’s greatest ex-husband). You can find her on twitter at @DivorceDoula604.