“I was born and raised here, and getting the chance to taste the seasonal food this province has to offer, like moose, deer and wild duck, local fish, shellfish and fresh fruit from the Okanagan, made me excited to pay tribute to BC.
In introducing his passion for these unique dishes, Leitner has put together a creative menu that will still appeal to less adventurous diners. Focusing on rare local products, he was dedicated to sourcing game meats that aren’t already prominently featured in other Vancouver restaurants.
“Game meats re-connect me to BC’s great outdoors,” says Leitner. “I have always been a huge fan of them – I like the taste, and try to get my hands on them as much as possible.”
With the help of Hills Foods, Lily Mae’s keeps their ingredients as local as possible. Chef Kai adds a little French flare to each dish, keeping with the restaurant’s concept, and begins testing new ideas several months in advance. This season, Chef Kai put the focus on enhancing the natural flavours of these unique meats.
“Wild game does have a richer taste, but it is also much leaner and healthier than everyday meats,” he explained. “The use of earthy herbs, foraged items, aromatic spices and wine or spirits make it even better.”
While Chef Kai recognizes that some people believe wild game is an acquired taste that only hunters and farmers enjoy, he knows that proper preparation and the right ingredients are key and believes that everyone should try it at least once.
For the most part, game meats will be reserved for the dinner menu. Local patrons can feast their senses on a pot au feu with elk, venison and boar in a spiced consommé or roasted wild boar belly with caramelized apple and wild game jus. Those looking for something even more adventurous can opt for the Venison Tartar with a poached quail egg, house made potato chips and an olive dust. Lily Mae’s new brunch menu is also set to launch soon and will feature a host of comforting delights including a duck clubhouse and a couple corned beef options, with everything from sausages to breads made in house.
If you’d like to get your first taste of wild game, or simply want to enjoy a delightful dining experience, Lily Mae’s is open for brunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-3pm & 5pm-11pm.