Colette Grand Cafe at Holt Renfrew

Colette is located in Holt Refrew, a high end department store in Vancouver.   The dining room is nice and modern as expected being inside Holt.  I ate there for lunch and it was surprisingly busy.  I find that a lot of concepts that work in other cities do not work in Vancouver, and I did not, and probably still do not think this place will last long.  Its been open a couple months I believe, but I have not been interested to try it.  Not that there is anything wrong with it, but there was nothing inherently interesting about it either.  On this day though, it was in a convenient location at the time so I gave it a try.

Anyway, we started with the beef tartare which was nicely presented with some chips.  The dish was ok, but some bites were over salted.

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Next were half a dozen oysters.  The oysters were good, but the server did not tell us where they were from.  This was a recurring theme throughout the meal.  The service was good and friendly, but the server was not knowledgeable about the products.  I believe they need better training and demonstrate more passion about the food.  A restaurant should be proud about where it is getting its products and this passion should be passed on to the staff.  The wine list was not extensive (I think there were only 4-6 choices, and even then, a few were not available).

When I asked the server what type of wine was available, she could not recall and brought a bottle of the variety I wanted.  When I asked where it was from, she also did not know the country of origin.  Thank God for labels.
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We also ordered a beet salad which I thought was beautifully presented, and good.

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For the main I had fish and chips.  They were ok.  I was satisfied with them.  I knew what I was getting into.  This is not a fish and chips place, but I wanted fish and chips.  The best fish and chips I have had in the city is at Fish Counter on Main Street.  Here are my thoughts on Colette’s fish and chips:

  • batter was good, nice and crispy
  • fish could be more moist, but was not dry
  • I would have preferred them to serve with vinegar and not ketchup
  • The sauce was a gribiche sauce which is close to tartar; the sauce could use more flavor
  • The fries were cooked well, nice and crispy, and covered with a Parmesan blend (IE a Kraft style parm).  This was not necessarily a bad thing as they tasted good the way junk food is OCCASIONALLY appealing.

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For dessert we had a chocolate peanut mousse which was ok.

 

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Overall, there is nothing outstanding about the food but its not terrible either.  Because of the location and surroundings, its probably best as a lunch spot for girlfriends catching up, a business lunch, convenience if shopping at Holt, you are in the area and need a “nice” place, nice atmosphere etc.  Its not a destination dining place.  In other words, you come here for things OTHER than the food.  The table beside us had a tea tower.  This may be a reason to go back, as the surroundings seem like a match for afternoon tea.  7/10

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