Wildebeest: Croque Madame with Bomber Brewing ESB

DSC_0289It’s no secret that Wildebeest has quickly become one of Vancouver’s top restaurants, especially after being named 2013’s “New Restaurant Of The Year” by Vancouver Magazine. I had been in once before for dinner, and it was outstanding! I can still taste the lamb tartare if I think hard enough. So with my recent decision to explore what some of Vancouver’s more “Upscale” establishments were doing when it comes to sandwiches and craft beer, I thought heading back to Wildebeest would be a grand idea.

Now, as you would expect Wildebeest’s dinner menu focuses on spectacularly created main courses along with some great starters, salads and sides. This meant that turning my attention to Wildebeest’s brunch menu is where I would find what I was looking for. It was precisely there where I found in all its glory, the breakfast sandwich of all breakfast sandwiches, the Croque Madame.DSC_0296Wildebeest’s Croque Madame comes on thick and crusty country bread, filled with Wildebeest ham, comte cheese and grainy mustard; topped with rich bechamel sauce and a soft fried egg. From the first cut into the thick crust through the outstanding, soft and moist country bread you know a knife and fork will be mandatory.DSC_0351 The Wildebeest ham had a good amount of fat keeping it moist, flaky and fall-apart tender with a flavour that is slightly sweet. I loved the comte cheese which is similar to a gruyere cheese, so not melty but a bit nutty and salty. The bechamel sauce is slightly browned while still delightfully creamy and decadently rich, so it fills the role of a gooey cheese. Then sitting atop this magnificent sandwich is the softly fried egg. I recommend slicing the yolk open and letting it run its own course all over the sandwich.DSC_0328I felt the Wildebeest Croque Madame needed to be paired with a beer that would bring a subtle sweetness to match some of the sandwiches flavours, while still having a nice bitterness to cut through its richness. One of the beers offered on their beer list was Bomber Brewing’s ESB which I knew would be perfect, and it was. Right away there was some major magic happening between this Extra Special Bitter and the sandwich. The grainy mustard awakened the fruity notes instantly, while the sweetness from the malt was spot on with sweetness in the ham. Bomber’s ESB has a fairly strong hop profile which cuts the richness of the cheese and bechamel sauce nicely. Almost every ingredient in this sandwich is enhanced by the beer and in turn each flavour in the beer is enhanced as well.DSC_0344So if you’re looking for a rich and decadent Croque Madame paired with a top notch ESB from a local brewery then head to Wildebeest for This Sandwich and That Beer.

Head to www.wildebeest.ca and www.bomberbrewing.com for more info. Follow them both on Twitter @WildebeestYVR and @BomberBrewing and follow me @TSTB_blogHead to Legacy Liquor Store to find this Bomber Brewing beer and others to take home.

Listen for my monthly feature on Just Here For The Beer radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver on the last Saturday of the month. Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.

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