Executive chef and owner Curtis Demyon has created a “not so hidden” treasure located right in the middle of vibrant Davie Street. LIPS Resto offers a beautiful and open layout, exquisite westcoast cuisine, and effervescent staff. THIS is a trendy new restaurant that you need to try.
My LIPS experience started behind schedule sprinting down Davie to make our reservation. As my guest and I frantically walked through the door we were greeted by friendly staff who accommodated us immediately and made us feel right at home.
The décor is modern with earthy tones, stunning iron light pendants, dark leather seats, and a featured wall, lined with marine ropes. The window on Davie has been removed allowing for natural light to shine in and making it the perfect place to people watch. LIPS has done a great job of mixing fun with sophistication and creating an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere.
The menu is made up of a variety of unique meat, fish, and vegetarian tapas designed for sharing. The ingredients are fresh; and all of the brines, smokes, pates, sausages, pastas, breads, and desserts are prepared in house.
Our dining experience started with the butternut squash and quinoa salad. This salad was made up of firmly roasted butternut squash, creamy ricotta cheese, pickled fennel, divine cayenne spiced pecans, arugula, quinoa and slightly crunchy kale doused in a sweet maple vinaigrette. The spicy pecans and sweet vinaigrette complimented each well, making for a light and fresh salad.
Next, we indulged in the elk tartar; a beautiful composition of diced raw elk, blueberry gastrique, creamy rosemary emulsion, sprouts, and finely grated smoked egg yolk. The tartar was served with a light and crispy fry bread. The combination of the salty melt-in-your-mouth elk, sweet blueberry, and subtle smoky taste of the yolk made this unique dish stand out.
After, came the Asian inspired Saltspring Island mussels and clams. This was not your typical wine based mussel dish. Instead, pork meatballs, cilantro, and green onions accompanied the seafood, which was cooked in a light pork broth. The perfectly spiced bite-sized lemongrass meatballs burst with flavour with each bite. The dish was served with lightly fried bread, perfect for soaking up all of the leftover broth.
Up next was a brown butter gnocchi served with crunchy broccolini, wild mushroom, wilted spinach, thinly sliced radishes, and smoked parmesan cream. The gnocchi was light and fluffy and was complimented nicely by the strong, bold flavour of the parmesan cream sauce. This is one of their vegetarian dishes; we had ours with the beef croquette, and are glad we did. The fried croquette is filled with braised beef cheek and roasted garlic making it the ultimate combination of tender and crispy. I personally thought the croquette made this dish.
For dessert we enjoyed the chocolate orange terrines. A mix of chocolate genoise made with subtle hints of dark chocolate and orange, milk chocolate ganache, and hazelnut ice cream made this dessert to die for. The ice cream was a refreshing and creamy side to the rich chocolate; making the dish very balanced.
The food at LIPS is meticulously prepared using unique flavours and fresh ingredients that compliment one another extremely well. The portions are good sizes; each plated beautifully, and are well priced for the excellent quality. To top it off, the service is exceptional. I highly recommend this restaurant; and will DEFINITELY be back.