Note about the photos: it’s super-dark in there. I tried to do the best I could with the photos! Hope it still gives you a good sense of the food.
Enter the frikkin’ dragon. I never did have the chance to try Fat Dragon BBQ when it was open, but I like that they saved the sign and used it here.
And a bit of music to set the mood, if you’re so inclined:
Menu changes every day. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get the latest news. Would be totally fun to go with a bigger group so we could try everything, but tonight it was just the two of us. The friendly and sensible bartender told me that I had already ordered enough food and good thing cuz we left here PLENTY satisfied, almost to the point of feeling over-stuffed when the food had settled a bit. Indulgence. In moderation.
I don’t have a photo of it, but their beer menu now shows what draught beers are on deck, giving you an idea of what to expect next time you come in. This night they were pouring Powell Street Craft Brewery Old Jalopy Pale Ale. This is the beer that made a huge splash at the Canadian Brewing Awards in 2013, shortly after PSCB started up as a nanobrewery. It won a Gold and Beer of the Year. It’s a damn fine pale ale with all the Pacific Northwest hop qualities you love, but easygoing at the same time, which is what you want in a pale ale.
You can actually order anything you’d like off the regular Campagnolo menu and have it brought upstairs. We’ve never actually BEEN downstairs, but have been to Upstairs quite a few times…which I find kinda funny. Wicca ordered the Tagliatelle with pork ragù, basil and pecorino romano cheese. We were expecting ground pork but it was actually small, chopped pieces of tender, falling-apart pork. That made Wicca happy. She really loves her “stringy” meat, or meat where you can see and feel the meat fibers. If you or your partner has weird issues with ground meat, maybe this dish will please them instead.
I thought this pasta dish was great. It only takes a mouthful to know whether it hits the mark or not, and this one did. It’s all about the noodles and flavouring the noodles. Great texture and flavour.
Dirty Burger, this time with D.P. (double patty). I love the smoky, meaty, umami char on these patties. Cheese is melted wonderfully. Crispy, fresh veggies on the side; not assembled until you’re ready.
That crusty scotch bap bun is really unique. I never thought I’d like a crusty bun in a burger but it really works in this case and doesn’t cause any structural problems when eating it. The butter/lard-grilled bun is flavourful yet neutral, providing great texture but letting the flavour of the beef, cheese and secret sauce shine. It’s a bit messy. You’ll drip juices onto the plate. I implore you to drink the juices, lick the plate, whatever…just don’t let this deliciousness go to waste. I’m glad that Wicca supports my juice-drinking behaviours.
40-day dry aged beef cooked medium-rare. If the regular single-patty dirty burger isn’t beefy enough for you, definitely try the double-patty version. You won’t be disappointed. Cows have never had a prouder moment than this. They put their necks on the line. Literally.
Truffle Sausage Scotch Egg. I’m not an expert in French/brunch sauces, so I have no idea what sauce was served with the scotch egg. All I know is that it had a tangy element which really went great with the egg. I didn’t get any truffle essence in the sausage, but it was still delicious.
The yolk just oozed out when I cut it open. It’s like having two sauces in one dish! Very different kind of scotch egg than the ones I’ve had at The Fat Badger. Sausage has a looser texture, seasoning is different, different coating, egg is cooked way softer too. I’m not sure if these will be a regular menu item at Upstairs at Campagnolo though. I haven’t seen these on the menu before. But it’s cool that they have these new creations…it gives you a reason to visit and be surprised.
BBQ Spiced Pork Ribs. We LOVED these! They’re like a cross between jerky and ribs. Really a great chew. The tangy spices reminded Wicca of the stuff left at the bottom of the ketchup chip bag. And of course she loved the chewy, jerky quality to the meat. To me, they’ve got that addictive Phnom Penh crack-wing quality, and I hope they don’t take these off the menu. Perfect dish to leisurely chew on while sipping a beer and getting your hands a little bit dirty. We spent a good 20 minutes getting all the little bits of meat and membrane off the bones.
Second beer needed to help carry me through rib heaven: Driftwood White Bark Wheat. I haven’t had this one in a long, long while, so I was taken aback by how good it is. Big floral aroma, corriander, orange peel. Driftwood’s newish ultra-hopped hefeweizen, Entangled, is also highly recommended. I think it’s only available in 650ml bomber-sized bottles at private beer stores like Brewery Creek, etc.
Another view of the scotch egg.
Beer in one hand, ribs in the other, knowing glances exchanged across the table…date night couldn’t get any better.
Addendum: I was gonna try to work in a line about “at Campagnolo (downstairs) you can dine with your pinky out while sipping wine, but at Upstairs you can dine with your gut sticking out”…but I’m still feeling too full to try to work it in…