Western Living Magazine
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Special Ugly Duckling Dinner pop-up takes kitchen scraps destined for the bin and serves up an inventive five-course feast.
For one more night only, Royal Dinette‘s Ugly Duckling Dinner will be liberating meat scraps, pasta accidents and stale bread from lining the garbage bins to filling people’s stomachs.In the second of two special pop-up dinners, this next one taking place November 24, chef and owner David Gunawan will be transforming under-utilized kitchen ingredients into a five-course dinner menu that celebrates every scrap—things like used coffee grounds, meat odds ‘n sods, pea shells and potato skins (for ice cream, naturally). Each course is also aptly paired with creative beverages like trendy Housemade Grape and Clove Kombucha, just-the-right-kind-of-sweet Okanagan reisling from Synchromesh, and my personal favourite of the evening: a pepper beer cocktail featuring Four Winds.Above all, you’ll have a fun time musing over what “garbage” has gone into your dinner and wonder where in the hell the Cauliflower Stems Souffle has been all your life.
En premier, the chef opened with fish chips, and day-old bread crostini (cheesy, crispy, delicious!) and chicken liver mousse—all this paired with a punch-you-in-the-face stiff cocktail called Lady Grace. Part of the first course, this adorable tray of petite oysters in olive brine granite with pickled kale stem.Our whole table couldn’t get enough of the Cauliflower Stems Souffle with cheese ends veloute. This should stay on their regular menu.The Salmon Belly with octopus cooking liquid consomme and bell pepper trims compote wasn’t my favourite, but I commend the chef for trying to make salmon belly the new pork belly. The Synchromesh Riesling this dish paired with was fantastico.Our main course was the Maltagliati, an “Odds and Ends” ragout of meats with seemingly cow origins. Another table favourite.Four courses in, cue the palette cleanser: White Chocolate Mousse with a Hulk-green dollop of English pea shell granite (which was a sort of cold pea slush). Intriguing to try!Last but not least, we were served the Potato Skin Ice Cream with used coffee ground caramel, day-old bread crumbly bits and black olive streusel. You could really taste the potato skins in the ice cream and the mix of salt, sweet and coffee was a surprising zinger. Wish you could taste it for yourself? If you can’t make the next Ugly Duckling Dinner November 24 at 6:30 p.m., here’s a recipe.