Cobre In Gastown – A Gastronomic Delight
by: George Froehlich
They are all over Vancouver.
Small, intimate, niche restaurants, specializing in well-defined dishes, composed with fresh ingredients.
The chefs are culinary maestros creating layers of finely nuanced but bold flavours that tantalize, tickle and challenge the palate.
The service is attentive and unobtrusive.
The prices are reasonable, not out in the stratosphere.
Cobre, in Gastown, meets the criteria, serving a perfect blend of Latin American flavours, tapas style.
Situated in an old heritage building, this split-level space exudes style and class with dark woods and brick walls, providing a classic setting for a culinary adventure.
Tapas has evolved in eating and sharing a number of small plates with friends, allowing diners to nibble here and nibble there.
At Cobre, chef has discovered the art of first exploring and then repackaging the flavours of Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina.
Fresh, buttery local Albacore tuna, a counterpoint to the warm, creamy purple Peruvian potato salad with double smoked bacon, was topped with a red sauce made with chilies, ground seeds, and nuts.
This dish hit all the culinary high points imaginable – earthy, fresh, smoky, spicy.
The pulled duck, rich and redolent with flavour, atop a Papusa, a soft tortilla, and caramelized shallots and a sweet complex mole (a sauce made from chile peppers, ground nuts and Mexican chocolate) was a complex dish but reduced to a savoury earthy dish – the essence of down-to-earth and yet so satisfying street food.
The ceviche – a scallop, apple combination, with jicama – was tart, clean, fresh, the chilies providing a bit of heat, a great a palate cleanser of what was yet to come.
Peruvian tacu tacu, a vegetarian dish, layered goat cheese, roasted eggplant, over a helping of roasted garlic, with three chili onion coulis on the side, and tiny super crunchy beans, was a contrast in texture and taste.
The maple syrup, chipotle tamarind-glazed wild boar belly, robust and comforting, hit a home run.
The maple syrup, chipotle and tamarind glaze a complexity of layered flavours, sweet, tart, hot, smoky, became a confirmation of chef’s skills – the ability to use simple ingredients, add a variety of flavours, and you get a divine dish.
And let’s not forget, Cobre’s rustic simple cornbread, dense and redolent with flavour, the sweet chili butter turning it into something special and wonderful.
Cobre – a great spot in Gastown.