Au Petite Chavignol is a stylish cheese and wine bar right on the edge of one of the most seediest neighbourhoods in Vancouver. This is first and foremost a cheese and wine bar — the cooked food menu is condensed and the primary ingredient is — you got it — cheese.
(Clockwise: 1. ibérico chorizo ‘fermin’ and Chicken Paté 2. Prosciutto de Parma with Cheese and Apricot Preserves. 3. Curried Cashews with Indian Spices and Sea Salt.)
We aren’t wine and cheese experts, but we couldn’t pass up the prospect of trying out a neat little vin et fromage joint set so ironically against the East Hastings backdrop.
We started with two glasses of reds of Portuguese variety, the name and vintage of which elude me. Our expert opinion is — it didn’t suck. Case was extremely curious about the Curried Cashews, which were tossed in this wonderful blend of curry spices and sea salt.
(Clockwise: 1. Selection of Artisanal Breads and Crackers. 2. Understated, yet atmospheric. 3. Fig Preserves.)
We decided to let the chef do the driving, selecting the small Grand Tasting Platter, which comes with three cheeses, three items from the charcuterie menu, three accompaniments, and a basket of artisanal breads and crackers.
Our spread included paper-thin slices of Prosciutto and Chorizo; a rich and creamy Chicken liver paté; a wedge of goat cheese; a softer, creamier brie-like cheese; and a thing of harder cheese (honestly, the names just go over our heads). Our accompaniments included silver onions, fig preserves, sweet gherkins and apricot preserves.
Overall, we enjoyed the subtleness of the cheese and preserves; all the unique and distinct flavours stood out on their own. And the charcuterie was masterfully sliced into ridiculously thin wafers on this big, red deli slicer located in the front of the restaurant behind the bar (you can’t miss it).
(Top to bottom: 1. Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée. 2. Americano.)
We finished off the evening with a decadent Grand Marnier crème brûlée complete with a solid sheet of quarter-inch thick torched caramel capping a rich and creamy custard. It paired perfectly with a couple cups of Americano.
Our meal came to $80 including taxes and tip, a more luxurious but well worth it wine and cheese experience with the street lights and traffic of this quaint, Strathcona neighbourhood serving as the backdrop.
Perfect for: Nice romantic evening that makes you forget you’re in the Downtown Eastside.