After several months of retrofits and revamps, the Thompson Hotel said goodbye to Scout PNW and welcomes Conversation to the table. The restaurant was designed to bring people together the old-fashioned way — over a tasty meal. Executive chef Derek Simcik and executive pastry chef Kate Sigel have cooked up a menu that is destined to inspire past the ooo’s and ahh’s. And if those factors aren’t enough to spur your chat session into action, just check out the conversation starter cards that come with the menus — maybe even contribute an idea of your own on your way out.
Chef Simcik dug deep when he wrote Conversation’s menu, drawing from his extensive global travels growing up. Tender octopus tentacles swim in a fantastic tomato-based mole sauce. Oysters are served on the half shell with sweet and spicy “pearls” made of strawberry purée and kimchee, respectively. Toothsome house-made rigatoni comes with a mélange of morels and spring onions topped with a duck egg and aged gouda. Stuffed quail with baked beans and BBQ lacquer speaks of a southern sojourn. But the biggest conversation starter is definitely the split pig head — it takes days to prepare and is served with perfect crispy cracklin’ skin. Separate the shards of crunchy skin to reveal the decadence beneath. Accompaniments include kimchee apples, ramps, and cherry ketchup. This is finger food at its best.
Not to be outdone, chef Sigel has some tricks up her pastry sleeve. The whimsical fudgesicle is almost too pretty to eat, flavored with honey and black truffle. For a “big reveal” moment, try the London Fog — a puff of cotton candy billows on the plate, doused with vanilla bean milk tableside to melt the “fog,” revealing dollops of Earl Grey mousse and lemon ice cream beneath. Inventive cocktails with tongue-in-cheek names by bar manager Joshua Haddock round out the playful Conversation menu.
Conversation is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.