Continued from Circle Farm Tour Abbotsford: Lepp Farm Market
Brambles Bistro is a new addition to Tanglebank Gardens, a family-owned business that has been operating for 17 years. Apparently it took seven years of dreaming to actually see the concept come into fruition. Now, in addition to their “boutique” nursery, they have a bathroom, rather than a port-a-potty, and seating for thirty in their 3,400 square foot addition.
Bramble’s first year has been a period of testing out menus, and introducing their locally-inspired bistro to the public.
Brenda Falk’s daughter, Kayla, acts as the Executive Chef at the bistro and favours dishes that have a mediterranean flair, with fresh herbs and spices aplenty. She sustains a seasonally appropriate menu year round, using produce from their garden, and the rest of the ingredients from local artisans and farmers. They get their blueberries for pies, muffins, and garnish, from a neighbouring blueberry farm, and they get their turkey and ham from Rossdown Farms.
It makes sense then that their mandate is “fresh, flavorful, and sourced locally.” Every year they plant more seeds so that they can be progressively more self-sufficient. Because they have an orange tree, on those hot summer days we were told that you’ll often see tables with freshly squeezed orange juice, or an orange spritzer. This is something I may have to see (and taste) myself…
After a quick walk through Tanglebank Gardens (it was raining), we sat down for lunch in the bistro. Because Mijune and I like to try everything on the menu, we decided to share three dishes, as well as managing to grab a bite or two from other people at our table.
Fraser Valley Duck Clubhouse ($15)
Short Rib Sandwich ($14.50)
Braised beef, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, and roasted garlic mayo, grilled on ciabatta, tomato and orange jam
The duck clubhouse and the braised beef sandwich were delicious. Both were extremely flavourful, combined unique flavours, and highlighted the in-season produce, as well as the high-quality meat.
All sandwiches are served with local greens, and a choice of citrus-herb vinaigrette or yogurt-dill dressing. I chose the citrus-herb vinaigrette, and found it light and flavouful, making a perfect addition to the greens.
Order again? Yes. And yes.
Moroccan Lamb and Chickpea Tagine ($16)
The lamb was tender and fell apart nicely, but the chickpeas were overcooked, and mushy. The naan was doughy and would have been better grilled slightly more.
I found the sauce to be too sweet for my personal palate, but it reminded me of flavours that I had while in the South of the France, so I think that they were on the right track. It wasn’t a traditional lamb tagine, but it was an interesting variation.
Order again? No, I think they specialize in soups and sandwiches rather than entrees.
Vanilla Spice French Toast ($12)
French toast for dessert? Why not. They serve brunch all day!
The french toast was made well – nice texture, not too eggy – but the lavendar was too subtle in the mousse to be advertised as such. I would’ve liked it to pack a little more punch. The grapefruit was nice to keep the theme of in-season produce, but it didn’t enhance the dish, in my opinion. The highlight of the dish was the hazelnut clusters with their soft oats and crunchy nuts, slightly sweetened. And of course, the lavender flower sitting atop the sweet heap.
Order again? Yes, to share, so that I could try their daily dessert as well. But, it would be primarily for the clusters…
As the Brambles staff say, “bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve: home cooking with robust, earthy dishes that are slow-cooked.” If this is the case, then I think they’ve earned their establishment title.
For more photos, take a peak at my Circle Farm Tour Abbotsford set on Flickr.
After lunch, it was time to learn about pollination and honey at Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm.