Campagnolo is one of Vancouver’s new hot spot eateries, offering casual Italian food at the edge of Chinatown on lower Main Street. The restaurant was opened by the same team that owns Fuel on Fourth Avenue with a menu designed by Executive Chef Robert Belcham and Chef de Cuisine Alvin Pillay. Sunday lunch with the IWFS Vancouver Branch proved to be a magnificent feast.
Our lunch started with a presentation in the Wine Bar at the back of the restaurant from Chef about the local food philosophy of the restaurant and the house made salumi that he now provides together with tasting samples of cured meats and sausage including Coppa di testa, Dry Cured Venison Sausage, Guanciale, Testa Cotto and Paté di Campagna. While Chef talked, we sipped a glass or two of Santa Margherita Brut Prosecco de Valdobbiadene.
Our meal was a multi course affair, served family style in the restaurant with tastes of the full menu currently offered at Campagnolo – the menu changes with the seasons and the availability of the finest local produce. We started with Marinated Olives and spiced hazelnuts, delicious Crispy Ceci (or chick peas) with peperoncini, mint, and citrus, Octopus Salad with roasted peppers, cucumber and lemon, Carne Cruda with grana padano, celery and pepe nero and Seared Albacore Tuna with salt roasted onions, treviso and chives. Our antipasti were accompanied by a 2006 Rocca delle Macie Occhio a Vento Vermentino.
Next were pastas and pizzas accompanied by a tasty 2006 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico. The pastas included a Tagliarini with pork ragú, basil and pecorino, Herb Agnolotti with potato, mascarpone and sage, Penne with zucca, ricotta, white bean and chili and a Carnaroli Risotto with fennel, black olive and tarragon. Three pizzas were offered - Margherita fiordilatte with tomato and basil, Bianca with grana padano, garlic and olive oil and Salsiccia with rucola, chilis and parmigiano reggiano.
Our feast continued with a glass of 2004 Fontanafredda Barbaresco and Secondi which included Polderside Chicken with ‘the cure’ fresh pork sausage and peperonata, Alberta Beef Flank Steak with gnudi and salsa verde, Sloping Hills Pork Roast with cotechino, cipolline and drippings. Accompaniments included Fagioli with rosemary, tomato and crackling, Roasted Potatoes with sea salt and olive oil, Kale, soffritto with lardo, Polenta with taleggio cheese. Phew!
Finally we finished with Dolci including Panna Cotta with vanilla, citrus and hazelnut, a lovely light Olive Oil Cake with spice roasted pears and cinnamon crema, Nutella Tart with chocolate and frangelico and House made Biscotti and Meringues and a glass of 1999 Sant 'Antimo Tenuta Il Poggione Vin Santo.
What a wonderful lunch and introduction to the foods of Campagnolo! Our thanks go to Chefs Robert Belcham and Alvin Pillay and their brigade and to Tim Pittman and the restaurant staff. The food and service were excellent and enjoyed by all. Thanks also to Karen and Jim Esplen for their help in organizing the event and to Jim for his selection and presentation of the wines. Buon appetito!