Tucked away just off Davie Street, Exile Bistro lives up to its name only in location. This cozy 28-seat restaurant serves a variety of healthy dishes, with an emphasis on local wild and organic ingredients.
We started the evening with drinks; Exile has lovingly adapted classic cocktails for a West Coast audience. We ordered the Gulf Island iced tea, Root Sour, and Northern Heights. Garnished with twists of candy cane beet and cedar sprigs, the drinks were delicious and unlike anything we had tried before.
Our warm leafy greens consisted of cooked kale with sesame seeds and black radishes. My companions loved the dish, proclaiming it “the perfect combination of flavours” and vowing to use sesame the next time they cook kale.
The stinging nettle ravioli was adorned with drops of raspberry coulis, delicately scattered microgreens, and a kale chip. I remarked on the lovely presentation to the server, who cheerfully replied: “Yeah, we have a lot of fun in the kitchen.”
Our next dish, the dry rubbed elk, was served on herb aioli with berry barbecue sauce. Cooked fairly rare, the strong, earthy flavours might be unexpected for those who are unused to game meats.
After sharing three dishes, we still had room to try the feature dessert: vegan Earl Grey crème brûlée. Made with cashews, the brûlée had a slightly grainy texture and the perfect level of sweetness.
We left the restaurant feeling impressed and a little overwhelmed by the new flavours. Overall it was a pleasant experience, and we’d recommend Exile Bistro to anyone seeking a culinary adventure or a romantic evening.