It’s possibly only a matter of a day or two (again, crossing my fingers and knocking on wood) before Vancouver gets treated to Bao Bei. I checked it out again last night in its final construction phase, and I can say without any reservation that’s really looking beautiful (see for yourself below). For those of our newer readers who’ve never heard of the place before, the Chinatown restaurant is widely acknowledged in trade circles to be the city’s most highly anticipated room. Here’s what we wrote about it when we first broke the news of its coming last May…
Bartender Tannis Ling, a fixture on the wood and well at Chambar since 2005, has just signed a lease that has given her possession of 163 Keefer Street, a space just around the corner from Main St. in Chinatown proper (MAP).
Her plan? A modern Shanghainese/Taiwanese joint called “Bao Bei”. The small, 2200 sq ft, 50 seat room will feature an 8 seat bar (naturally) and a kitchen window not unlike the slit pass at Chambar. For the etymologists among you, the name is a Chinese term of endearment that translates along the same lines as precious, darling, honey, et cetera (a wonderful name).
Her mother’s cooking is the main inspiration behind the food concept. Nothing is set in stone just yet but she says that we can expect “lots of noodles, dumplings, drunken chicken – stuff like that”. Though the menu will see some experimentation, she carefully points out that there’ll be “nothing crazy”, hastily adding that it won’t be fusion. “I’m going to try to keep it as authentic as possible”.
Quality Chinese food + Tannis’ cocktails = lots of people, there. I assume (quite safely, I should think) that she won’t have to wait long for her first packed service with this, her first restaurant. I’m really looking forward to it, and I know I’m not alone.
If you’ve ever taken a stool at Chambar, it’s very likely that she’s served you and served you well. Tannis is highly respected in local barkeep circles. She is, without a doubt, considered one of the top bartenders in this increasingly tough bartender town. When she competes on any given Sunday, she can blow the boys away. She often does.
They’ve done a friends and family night already to get some feedback on chef Joel Watanabe’s menu an chef, and from what I’ve heard from folks who were there, it was very good. Like you, I’m really looking forward to this one.
PS. If you’ve never met Tannis before, here’s an interview we did with her this past summer…