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Oct 9, 2009 10:37 PM

Irish Heather - Long Table Series report: Vancouver

First off I'll say that the setting, the service and the company was all awesome - 5 star. Unfortunately the food was so average. I was so disappointed as I wanted it to be good!

We went for the Roast Suckling Pig With Apple-Rosemary Sauce, Braised Cabbage & Mashed Potatoes with a Pint of Orchard Hill Cider for $15. I can't argue with the price of the dinner. We arrived at 6 as the email asked us to, to have a drink in the Shebeen room. A glass of house red & a vodka/soda was $15 pre tip. Grayelf & her SO arrived later but he managed a pint of Guinness before we went in for dinner. At just after 6:30 we were seated. The host was charming, explained the dinner and the featured drink - cider (It was not sweet which was nice). Everyone introduced themselves to their neighbours and the cider was served.

Then came dinner. It looked very nice but there was absolutely no flavour at all. Grayelf said her pork was a little tough, but mine was extremely tough. I really had to exercise my teeth to get it down. The cabbage & sauce had no flavour at all. There was no seasoning on the pork and no pork flavour either. The mashed potatoes were boring and plain. It was what you would expect from a buffet.

We ordered desserts. These turned out to be $7 a piece and were also not very impressive. The two desserts were London Fog brulee which tasted of Earl Grey tea - not bad, but not great. The other was goat cheese cheesecake with cherry compote which tasted of no goat cheese at all and was again flavourless. One or two bites was all I had, but I did eat the compote, though not much taste going on there either. They reminded me of the flavourless desserts you get at All-Inclusive resorts in Mexico!

Afterwards we chatted with our new found friends on both sides for a little bit then headed on our way. Bill for 2 was $47, I left $10 tip for the great service so it was about $60 for dinner and $18 for the two pre-dinner drinks.

I will give it one more try if they open up reservations again just because the experience itself was so enjoyable but I won't be trying the pork again!

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  1. What she said...

    Here's a few photos FWIW.

    1. One thing I son, who I went with enjoyed his dinner. He said his was tender, but trust me, he is much more forgiving than I am and doesn't have near the expectations I do of food! When we left the restaurant and were walking back to the skytrain, I tried to figure out why the bill was so much. I said, "Geez, those crappy desserts must of been like $8 each or something!"...he said something about supporting the Irish Heather by buying dessert was a great way to show appreciation for the low dinner price. He was absolutely paraphrasing what grayelf had said earlier at the table. He must have seen me nod in agreement with her! Anyway, he made me realize there was nothing to be upset about and I get too uptight about meaningless details at times! :-)

      1. Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience! We had the suckling pig back in August and it was great! Tender, juicy, flavourful. We also went back in September for their cornish game hen which most people in my group enjoyed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: flowbee

          Sorry to hear about your experience... I tried the suckling pig the same night flowbee did and mine was really juicy and flavourful too. Hopefully your experience was just an off night. I'm signed up for the duck leg and short ribs coming up so I'll let you know!

        2. It sure sounds like the pork needed to cook for longer. Suckling pig tastes more like veal - almost flavourless and not porky at all. It needs more seasoning than regular pork.

          4 Replies
          1. re: fmed

            Nice to see you back fmed! How interesting about suckling pig, I had no idea about the taste - that it would be different from the pork I'm used to, now that I think about it. The host did tell us it cooked over night though.

            1. re: ck1234

              Like veal, suckling pig has only had milk in its diet so the flavour is very mild.

              I've been very busy. Chowhound can be an immense distraction ;-). I'm at Harrison Hotsprings right now...a real desert in terms of good food. I had great schnitzel, spaetzle, potatoes at the Black Forest last night...but other than this place - everything else is pretty mediocre to bad.)

              1. re: fmed

                I go to Harrison for getaways, but haven't for quite some time. We used to eat in the Old Settler pub (nice pub with all the wood, by the liquor store I think). We'd also eat at Charlie's on the Lake with the patio view onto the lake a couple of times, the schnitzel place like you said. The only other place was a cafe type place right on the strip. I cannot for the life of me think of the name, but it wasn't anything to write home about. I'm ok eating wings, fish n chips, burgers etc. when I stay in Harrison though!

              2. re: ck1234

                I have eaten suckling pig a few times before (Scandinavian rellies doing the whole bury it in the ground for ages fandango) so I knew it would not have a strong flavour but I was taken aback by how dry, relatively tough and chewy it was. When I've had it before I've been almost put off by how unctuous and fall-aparty it was, quite the opposite really.

            2. A friend and I went for the Long Table dinner of Cornish game hen with chips and gravy, and we realy enjoyed it. The atmosphere and service were excellent, and we had a good time getting to know some of the other people seated nearby. The meal smelled delicious, so we were all keen to dig in when our plates arrived. The chicken was tasty, and I loved the chips and gravy - it might not be some people's cup of tea, but I liked it. It reminded me of a Swiss Chalet chicken dinner, but fresher-tasting and less salty/greasy. For $12, it can't be beat - and it included a pint of Guinness.

              We also had a less-than-ideal experience with dessert. My friend ordered the goat cheese cheesecake (for $7 - ouch), which we both found it dry and rather bland. Next time, I'll spend the $7 on another beer - they have quite an interesting selection (to say nothing of the whiskey bar).

              In all, it was a great way to spend an evening, and I look forward to going back, if I can get in.

              Irish Heather
              7 Gaoler's Mews, Vancouver, BC V6B4K7, CA