Campagnolo Dine Out Preview-12

Though Campagnolo could have easily fit into my “Restaurants Beginning with a C” theme from last Tuesday’s Dine Out Media Preview, I wound up enjoying this East Vancouver establishment on its own later in the week, together with a small group of local food writers and media.

Campagnolo is offering their well-priced $28 three-course menu for both lunch and dinner during 2014’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival. Wine pairings are available at an additional $18. Both their regular dining menus as well as the specially-designed three course Dine Out prix fixe will be available from January 17 to February 2. For the first time, little sister restaurant Campagnolo Roma on Hastings will also be doing a Dine Out menu.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview-2 Campagnolo Dine Out Preview-11 Campagnolo Dine Out Preview

The modern, warm, open concept Main Street restaurant seats just under 100 guests. Restaurant Director Tim Pittman introduced the menu as well as Chef de Cuisine Nathan Lowey (formerly of Edmonton’s Jack’s Grill, later moving to Vancouver to work as Refuel’s chef de partie before joining the Campagnolo teams at both Main Street and Roma).

Campagnolo Chef de Cuisine Nathan Lowey
[Campagnolo Chef de Cuisine Nathan Lowey]

In fact, Chef Robert Belcham (formerly of Refuel, now Campagnolo) was the driving force in Lowey’s decision to leave Edmonton behind and move to our food-focused city. Belcham saw in him the tenacity to learn the ropes of the industry and hired him to work at Refuel.

When not working with Sloping Hills Farm pigs (he receives two weekly, prepping them at The Cure, Campagnolo Restaurant Group’s butchery located above the Main Street locale), Lowey spends his days talking with local farmers and working in his 6×6 kitchen stretching dough and making pasta. I have a weak spot for homemade pasta, and aim to make it in again soon to try his Tagliatelle made with pork ragu, basil, and pecorino romano.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/Crispy Ceci
[Crispy Ceci]

I was excited to try one of their most popular dishes, crispy ceci (a dish of light, crispy seasoned chickpeas with mint and lemon), paired with a glass of Tolloy Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy’s Trentino alto Adige. The crisp notes of the wine were well-matched with the chickpeas.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/MInestrone

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/Risotto
[Risotto with preserved tomato, eggplant agrodolce]

We also sampled a hearty minestrone soup containing root veggies and ham (paired with Blasted Church’s Gewurtztraminer), and a roasted beet salad with ricotta, hazelnuts, and honey (paired with 8th Generation Vineyards’ Riesling), before moving onto our mains of risotto, margherita pizza, and beef shank.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/Margherita Pizza

The pizza is light and packed with flavour. The Margherita is paired with Masi Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso, a classic red with blackberry and tobacco aromas.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/Beef Shank
[Beef Shank, crispy potato, braised kale, salsa verde]

Campagnolo’s beef shank with crispy potato, braised kale, and salsa verde is delightful for a cold, rainy Vancouver winter day, its wine match a bold yet smooth Nero D’Avola from Santa Anastasia. The hearty beef just fell off the bone and into my mouth, alongside flavourful bites of braised kale and crispy potato cake. The Nero D’Avola’s a very well-balanced wine with a good structure. I enjoyed it with the risotto as well, the soft preserved tomato and eggplant standing up to the boldness of the wine.

Two dessert options are available on this year’s Dine Out menu: a dark chocolate hazelnut torte (with crystallized hazelnuts – terrific!) and an angel food cake with locally sourced peaches for both the white peach curd and compote, finished with a basil syrup to contrast in flavour.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/Angel Food Cake
[Angel Food Cake]

While the angel food cake benefitted from a glass of Zebo Moscato, that dreamy chocolate-packed torte was heightened by a glass of Grahams 10 year-old Tawny Port.

Campagnolo Dine Out Preview/Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Torte
[Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Torte]

For the money, this menu packs in good value. If you’ve not yet had the chance to try Campagnolo’s Crispy Ceci and pizza Margherita, now’s your chance to try both! And don’t forget that chocolate hazelnut torte to round off your meal.

Campagnolo is located at 1020 Main Street in Vancouver. Visit the Dine Out Vancouver website for more info.

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