Lifestyle

Delightful Contemporary Dining at Chive

Thursday, December 20, 2018

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Sometimes a restaurant really surprises you. Walking into Orchid Village Plaza Thursday Food wasn't sure what to expect from the one-month-old Chive. Self-described as “contemporary dining and bar”, Chive is a remarkable restaurant that has arrived just in time for Christmas and is the kind of gift Kingston will gladly unwrap and revisit over and over again.

At the helm of Chive are Nanda Dukharan and Aston Lau, who are passionate about the food that they put out. Their relationship started based on their shared love for food, and some of their most memorable moments are anchored in food memories. This restaurant is the physical representation of their food journey on which they wish customers will come along. “We want guests to walk in with an open mind and appreciate our food — the flavours and textures,” said Dukharan. “We want people to say that the best thing they ever ate is on our menu.”

This restaurant is for true food lovers. The complexity and ingenuity of the dishes are aces and the offerings the principals and head chef Guiliano Hutchinson have created are far from basic. “The Food Awards have opened up restaurant goers to new experiences,” said Lau. Chive doesn't want its patrons to just eat a meal; it wants them to have an experience.

The menu is divided into six sections — starters, salads, platters and dips, main dishes, pasta, and burgers and flatbreads. We have to mention that each section has a solid vegetarian or vegan option that is so good that meat lovers have no issues ordering it, like the delicious curried channa dish. Each day there's a soup from Chef Hutchinson that is, in a word, ingenious. During our visit, the soup was a vegan vegetable chowder that utilised the flesh and seeds of jackfruit. The soup had a wonderful mouthfeel. The sweetness of the fruit, the earthiness of the vegetables, creaminess of the coconut milk and the nuttiness from the seeds made for a lovely dish.

Dukharan and Lau are avid travellers and the menu includes some of their favourite dishes had while on vacation. The pork bun is one such dish, and Chive's version is fantastic. Lau steams Asian bao buns every day to make the pillowy envelopes that hold crisp pork belly slathered in hoisin sauce and bright pickled vegetables together.

The Cajun crab bake sees shell pasta and lump blue crab combined with a Cajun mornay sauce and topped with panko. The dish was well executed but could do with a tad more salt. The other pasta dish Thursday Food tried was the oxtail alfredo — the al dente penne, chunks of tender oxtail and a proper alfredo sauce made for a tasty dish. The sorrel wine glaze used on the frenched stuffed pork chops should be brought to market immediately! Not too sweet, bright and deep with flavour. The double bone pork chop and fluffy mashed potatoes were worthy of such a stunning sauce. Chef Hutchinson knows his flavours. His time as a United States embassy chef, constant studying, discovering ways of improving his craft and great admiration of the father of haute cuisine Auguste Escoffier, have made Hutchinson a wonderful chef. Escoffier's influence can be detected in the culinary marvels that are the goat four ways and the sprat burger.

The goat four ways comprises curried goat purée, jerked goat sausage (no, that's not a typo) and a goat meatball stuffed with goat cheese. One bite and you'll close your eyes, lean back in your chair and be at peace if, at that moment, you had to meet the Maker. The purée had the hallmarks of a good country-style curried goat and paired very well with the meatball with its salty creamy goat's cheese and the sausage made from jerked goat. There have been guests who after a few bites have ordered another of the dish. Thursday Food is still trying to figure out how chef Hutchinson debones sprats to make them into burger patties. Served on a cornbread bun, the sprat burger is topped with escoveitched carrots and raw red onion and tastes like your grandmother had a hand in preparing the dish. These two dishes were A-pluses and possess a level of innovation that is not commonplace on the local dining scene.

What was also rare was seeing rabbit on the menu. Finally, a restaurant that understands just how delicious rabbit meat is. Chive's farm in a basket combines chunks of locally-raised rabbit meat with miniature meatballs made of pork and beef, a rich veloute and a savoury crust. It's one helluva dish. Honourable mention goes to the passion fruit-glazed octopus and squid special and daily flatbread that, too, were well-balanced, flavourful and very enjoyable.

Chive understands that for a gastronomy-focused city to grow there need to be ways for people to experience one-of-a-kind dishes in an environment that invites and has metropolitan charm. They won't say it, but Dukharan and Lau have bet that Chive is the restaurant that Kingston needs. It sure is.

 

Chive Restaurant

Shop 15 Orchid Village Plaza, 20 Barbican Road

 

Opening Hours:

Tuesdays – Thursdays and Sundays 11:30 am – 11:00 pm

Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am – 1:00 am

Closed Mondays.

 

Telephone: 876 820-1194


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