Late last week a girlfriend and I decided to meet up for lunch somewhere new, so we picked Campagnolo on Main Street (okay, let’s be real here – I picked it). I had been hearing a lot of good things about this newer Italian restaurant, and had yet to try it out.
The location was handy that day, as I needed to drive my mom to the Vancouver bus station right before to look into shipping some boxes, and it turned out that it’s basically a block away from there. I pulled in behind the building, and walked around to the front.
It was somewhat quiet in the restaurant, but from what I can tell, it’s much busier during the evening dinner service. We were there for lunch on Good Friday, so it was probably a bit more slow than the average day, with so many people going out of town for the long weekend. But since it was a holiday, the brunch menu was also available (although we didn’t end up ordering from it) – it’s usually only offered on weekends.
Shortly afterward, my girlfriend came through the door and sat down with me. This is where things started to take a bit of time. We decided to share a bunch of Antipasti dishes instead of going for any of the Charcuterie, Primis or Pizzas. But first…some wine! After ordering the wine, and then later ordering our food, our drinks still did not come. I actually timed how long they took, and from the time I sat down, it was over 40 minutes before they arrived. And this was after our food came and I asked our server if they were still coming. She apologized and then brought them over.
Anyway, back to the food.
I’d heard from several people to try the Crispy Ceci, which is made up of fried chickpeas, peperoncini, mint and a citrus dressing. This was a very unique dish, and I really enjoyed having these beans cooked in this manner, with a crispy shell. It was very fresh, and also extremely healthy.
Next up, we tried the Albacore Tuna Crudo. Served with turnip, capers and garlic, I thought my first bite was quite good. However, the next one I took wasn’t as great, and I found that the fish was actually a little strong in flavour, as if it wasn’t as fresh as it could have been. The concept was decent, but I think I’ll stick with sashimi at Japanese restaurants next time around.
After that, the House Italian Cheeses were served, with a plate of Crostinis. This time around, there was parmesan, that we dipped in the clover honey in the center, along with a Stilton and what I recall to be something similar to Manchego perhaps (it was a bit dried out on the one side, anyway). My favourite part was dipping the parmesan into the honey – I’ve never done that before!
Last of all, we ate the Bruschetta, with copa di testa (or head cheese made from pieces of cooked pork), meyer lemon, and fagioli beans over toast. This wasn’t the traditional tomato and basil and garlic topping that most would expect, and our server gave us the heads up before we actually ordered it. I did enjoy the flavours from the pork, but I’m not a huge fan of beans, and there were quite a few in this dish. I think I like the more common version better, personally.
I was stuffed at this point, and we decided not to order dessert. However, another staff member came along and provided a plate with an assortment of sweets on it, including rosemary biscotti, merengues that were absolutely divine, lovely fruit-topped cookies and another type of bar. These were all pretty amazing, actually, and the only one I wouldn’t get again would be the biscotti, but that’s because I’m not a big fan of rosemary.
Although our wine took a good long time to arrive after ordering, I’d have to say the complimentary dessert did partially make up for it. I would still have to say I was a bit disappointed in the food after all of the praise that I’ve been hearing about Campagnolo to date though.
I will give it another try in terms of their hot Primis next time around, and see if that makes any difference.