A Tour Inside Imminent “Oru” At The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel

February 9, 2010 

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We’re big fans of executive chef David Wong (Bocuse D’Or Canadian competitor) and manager Chad Clark (ex-Feenie’s), so while we’ve been hotly anticipating the arrival of small independents like Bao Bei and Corner Suite, we’ve also been quietly stoked for the coming of Oru in the new Fairmont Pacific Rim downtown. The hotel has just opened – running on 30+% occupancy until Thursday, when they hit 100%. Thursday is D-Day for Oru as well. I’ve just been given the grand tour, checking out the already opened Giovane cafe and the lobby bar (and raw bar), as well as the restaurant itself, currently a hive of fevered activity. Though it might look like Oru is long from finished, the kitchen is seasoned and fired up, the menus have been tested and priced (viewable on Chefs Table Talk), and the front of house construction appears to be down to clean up and final fixture installation.

The following video includes an interview with the chef (at the end) on the restaurant’s authentic Pan-Asian menu…

The Photos

Exterior (Oru is on the second floor) | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimThe lobby | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimInside the already opened Giovane cafe, located on the main floorGiovane | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimGiovane | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimCake inside Giovane | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimOrigami in Giovane  | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimLooking down on the lobby bar area | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimMain floor | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimMain floor lobby | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimAmazing piano detailed with gold and origami lid pattern | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimLooking down on the lobby bar area | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimThe main floor lobby bar | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimMain floor raw bar | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimMain floor raw bar | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimSetting inserts in the main floor bar | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimGraham and Jenny behind the main floor lobby barOrigami awaiting installation | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimStairs up to Oru from the main floor bar | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimEntrance and touch screen menuOrigami awaiting installation | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimOru | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimOru's more casual side, dubbed the Sky Bar | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimThe window to the left is a marble-topped communal table of 12 | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimPriming next to the window | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimTable-tops waiting for legs | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimFirst of the origami installed | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimThe beginnings of a banquette | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimWall detail | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimOrigami awaiting installation | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimChef David Wong and Manager Chad Clark | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimOrigami awaiting installation | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimIn the kitchenOrigami awaiting installation | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimChairs ready to be arranged | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimChairs ready to be arranged | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimThe massive ceiling origami installation primed for installation | Oru at the Fairmont Pacific RimExterior

It’s a big, voluminous space (8,000 sq feet altogether) that includes 2 chefs tables of 6 in front of the kitchen pass, a really cool cut-out, low-slung 12 seat communal table topped with grey marble (the place is weighed down with marble), a private room for 14, two patios (the lower floor outdoor space holds 50-75), and a flood of natural light enhancing the near-waterfront view. The dining room and adjacent Sky Bar lounge area seat 140. Upstairs, there are 3 banquet rooms (300, 200, and 150) and an open reception area with a capacity for 400+. The kitchen(s) are massive and pristine, including a tandoori oven, pizza oven, the biggest garde manger station I’ve ever seen, and every bit of kitchen equipment you’d expect in a top shelf operation. All told, chef David Wong oversees a 38 person crew. Phew. As he says in the interview above, 4 hours sleep is plenty.

Here’s what we wrote about the place when we first broke the news of it back in March of 2009.

The upcoming Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel will soon announce its plans for a restaurant. The not-yet-finished hotel has saddled up with the local design and architecture firm MGB, and together they are building a new, upscale, street-level swank expression of hyper modern BC. It’s the full-on fantasy model of clean lines and ocean zephyrs, a gambit for local favour and tourist hearts and minds.

Oru, as it’s called (from the Japanese: “To Fold”), will see plenty of Asian influence, a hodge podge of inspirations that tour the Ring of Fire. It will capitalise “on Vancouver’s multicultural vibe, with a focus on traditional dishes from Pacific Rim Countries authentically prepared utilizing locally sourced and responsibly harvested ingredients.” Not unlike “C” Restaurant, I suppose, only without Quang Dang or Robert Clark (no chef reveal yet), or indeed the affections of most concierges in town (it’s a hotel, after all). I really hope it’s good, as we run a deficit of first rate quasi-waterfront restaurants in this here waterfront town.

The designers have the run of the concept, from brand and chairs to art installations and schematics. A 180ft long and 5ft wide light sculpture by local origamist, Joseph Wu, will dominate the dining room. An 8 inch thick wooden wall of reclaimed lumber will hide a wine tasting room and a private room.

They will open “in advance” of the Olympics, which likely means in the weeks just prior.

Once again, should you want to browse through Oru’s menus, you can at in the Chefs Table Talk forum.

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Break a leg.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS