Moneymaker, Copia, Red Fig, Black Sea Man, Green Zebra – they may have odd names but there is nothing odd about the rich, sunshine-infused flavour of heirloom tomatoes. Tomatoes are a passion for many people, including Provence Chef/Proprietors Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia. “There isn’t any flavour that says ‘summer’ more to me than tomato,” says Chef Alessandra. “We are fortunate to have local producers supplying us with heirloom varieties. The flavours are so intense; each variety is different and they are all so tasty.”
This August, Provence Restaurants celebrates all things tomato with its Second Annual Tomato Festival – special three-course table d’hôte menus that will satisfy even the most addicted tomato-holic. Menus differ slightly at each restaurant and are also priced differently – $45 at Mediterranean Grill in Point Grey and $48 at Marinaside in Yaletown.
Chef Alessandra’s favourite Provençal Heirloom Tomato Tart makes an appearance on both menus as a starter. Mediterranean Grill’s menu also includes the option of an Heirloom Tomato Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella and marjoram citronette. While Marinaside’s starters include a refreshing Chilled Yellow Campari Tomato Soup with poached BC spot prawns and cucumber relish. Marinaside also has a version of an Heirloom Tomato Salad. This one comes with shaved fennel, feta and olives
At Mediterranean Grill there are two choices of mains: Sun-dried Plum Tomato and Almond-Crusted Sablefish served with crushed sweet peas and yellow campari tomato coulis or Fraser Valley Duck Breast with vegetable tian, cherry tomato marmalade and lavender jus.
Marinaside’s menu offers three tempting mains: Grilled Halibut with lightly-spiced tomato salsa, Dungeness Crab and Heirloom Tomato Stew (brimming with mussels, clams and scallops in a fennel, white wine and garlic broth) and Wild Prawn Open Ravioli served with a roasted heirloom tomato and watercress salad.
Dessert at Mediterranean Grill is a Candied Grape Tomato Panna Cotta served with a mint and flower honey biscotti. While over at Marinaside, diners can choose a dessert from the regular menu or indulge in a Candied Cherry Tomato and Fresh Strawberry Sundae with crema di balsamico. Tomatoes for dessert? Technically, tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable, so ending your meal with tomatoes is not as strange as it may appear. Their summery sweetness adding just the right finishing touch.
Both restaurants will be offering daily specials on Rosés to accompany the special Tomato Festival menus. Marinaside’s sommelier Rod Morrison is also offering a special taster flight of Rosés from BC’s Joie Winery in Naramata. The flight includes the 2007, 2009 and 2010 vintages.
Whether you go balmy for Black Krims, gush about Green Zebra’s or just adore Aunt Ruby’s German Greens – you’ll find them all and more on the menu at Provence’s Second Annual Tomato Festival this August.
Provence Mediterranean Grill (Point Grey) 4473 West 10th Ave., 604.222.1980
Provence Marinaside (Yaletown) 1177 Marinaside Crescent at the foot of Davie St., 604.681.4144
Chilled Yellow Campari Tomato Soup
poached BC spot prawns, cucumber relish
Fresh Tomato Tart
dijon, olives, gruyère cheese, basil
Heirloom Tomato & Fennel Salad
marinated olives, feta cheese, marjoram vinaigrette
Lightly-spiced heirloom tomato salsa, summer pea ragout
Dungeness Crab and Heirloom Tomato Stew
Mussels, clams, scallops, fennel, white wine and garlic broth
Wild Prawn Open Ravioli
Roasted heirloom tomato and watercress salad
Candied Cherry Tomato and Fresh Strawberry Sundae
Crema di balsamico
Choice from our Menu
$48 per person