After many successful years in the restaurant business, Brigitte Rayé recently opened her new French bistro, La Cigale, with her son Kevin as Chef. Located on Vancouver`s busy 4th Avenue, this cozy neighbourhood eatery offers delicious flavours from the south of France. We were treated to a cornucopia of dishes for our February 18 dinner and enjoyed the gracious hospitality of Brigitte and her team.

Our evening started with a glass or two of Blue Mountain Brut sparkling wine with a selection of Chef's canapés – a delicious Pear and Blue Cheese Tart, Risotto with Asparagus, and European Sausage in Puff Pastry – followed by a flavourful Lobster Bisque with a 2011 Sandhill Small Lots Viognier, Osprey Ridge Vineyard from the Okanagan Valley. A warm crunchy Provençal baguette was served to our table, fresh from the oven. Then came the first "family style" trio of Beet with Shaved Parmesan, Mussels Marinière and Scallop and Onion Tart, each served separately, with a 2008 Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir from Joseph Drouhin. Our main course trio, again served separately "family style", was Halibut with Gribiche Sauce and Vegetables, Coq au Vin Rouge with Pommes Frites, and Lamb Shank with Moroccan Flavours and couscous – all delicious – accompanied by a 2007 Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot.

Somehow we managed to find room for Chef Kevin's Dessert Trio – a Vanilla Crème Brulée, Almond Shortcake with Cream and Fresh Raspberries, and the "Well of Love", a delicious creation of creamy sweet rice and chocolate with a warm chocolate sauce poured through a chocolate disc cover, all quite decadent and with a lovely contrast of flavours and textures. Our 2011 Mission Hill Reserve Riesling Icewine was beautifully balanced and provided a wonderful ending to an excellent ten course meal.

Our thanks go to Brigitte and Kevin Rayé and their team, to Cellarmaster Jim Esplen for his selection of wines and to Douglas Russell for his illuminating comments on the wines and, as always, to Photographer and Historian Milena Robertson. Thank you all for a magnificent evening!

Click on photo to enlarge or click HERE to view slideshow
Photos by Milena & Jim Robertson
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