DINER: “Wildebeest” Finally Finished, Set To Open To The Public This Tuesday Night

August 19, 2012.

by Andrew Morrison | As we hinted last night on Scout’s new Tumblr, the long wait for Wildebeest at 120 West Hastings has ended. The highly anticipated restaurant from Josh Pape and James Iranzad (with former West chef David Gunawan at the kitchen helm) will open for its first official service this Tuesday evening. They did their soft run yesterday with friends, family, and a few large, a la carte bookings (40, 12, oh my!), and it appeared to all go off without a hitch. We left thinking – and we suspected this when we first got wind of the project last year – that Vancouver had a new glory on its hands.

The large, high-ceilinged room sports a homey, coastal industrial feel with plenty of wood and iron (courtesy of Union Wood Co.), and though I wouldn’t compare it to any single aesthetic, in a squint it might come across like an amalgam of homage – reminiscent of Revolver, Chambar, L’Abattoir, and The Diamond. Not a bad mix. It’s a look that gels especially well when writ so large (110+ seats), and while it’s broken up into tidy sections – lounge, waist and rear – it all comes together like a riparian package that flows comfortably (the trick is helped along by a good soundtrack and tolerable acoustics). The downstairs wine bar is not yet finished, and it’s doubtful for Tuesday, when the main floor restaurant and bar will almost certainly be bum-rushed like a Bellingham Costco. It will start as dinner only, with brunch service coming soon.

Whatever you do, don’t let the meaty name fool you. Wildebeest’s menu is appealing on many fronts. Adventurous carnivores who are red in both tooth and claw will certainly be satisfied (behold the chicken butter, the cotechino sausage, the sweetbreads, etc), but those keen on lighter and more vegetal fare are in for treats, too, like an heirloom radish salad with malt crumble and beet sorbet, or a sorrel gazpacho with lemon-infused yellow cukes. It’s a chef’s restaurant to the core, and I’m not just saying that because customers are invited to buy six packs of beer for the kitchen (for real: the $9 option is just below the 15oz dry aged ribeye). You’ll find no kids meals or defeatist genuflections to convention, only exacting exercises in originality, with some more daring than others. The plates don’t really reach for any particular cuisine type, standing instead like the inventions of well seasoned, Michelin-trained cooks envisioning sugarplums just after smoking fat joints of imagination. In a pinch I’d pin it to a blend of French and West Coast, but what does it matter? Nothing disappointed, and with prices for most dishes in the $5-$15 range, it all translates to the customer as tremendous value.

I’ll save further comments for when it’s properly open and I’ve paid a few bills, except to say that Wildebeest is very probably going to rock the bells. It has all the requisite ingredients for an instant hit (including lots of familiar faces on the service team), so I’m predicting a full, happy house out of the gate. While you await the dawning of D-Day, take a look at what we ate, drank, and saw before spreading the good word…

  • Frontage | Wildebeest
  • The bar | Wildebeest
  • The bar | Wildebeest
  • East Side Smash | Wildebeest
  • Front stand up | Wildebeest
  • 6 pack for the kitchen | Wildebeest
  • Bardstown Breakfast - bacon-infused bourbon, aromatic bitters, maple syrup, mezcal | Wildebeest
  • Hostess stand | Wildebeest
  • Smoked castelvetrano olives | Wildebeest
  • Bar detail | Wildebeest
  • Breads with pork, yogurt, and chicken butters | Wildebeest
  • Dining room facing open kitchen | Wildebeest
  • Pork croquettes with housemade ketchup | Wildebeest
  • From rear | Wildebeest
  • Heirloom radishes, yogurt, beet sorbet, malt crunch | Wildebeest
  • Rear | Wildebeest
  • Menu | Wildebeest
  • Honey cured steelhead with beets, sorrel, dill
  • Scarfing cotechino | Wildebeest
  • Wildebeest
  • Strawberries and meringue | Wildebeest
  • Front stand up | Wildebeest
  • Duo of chicken | Wildebeest
  • Waist | Wildebeest
  • Duo of chicken | Wildebeest
  • Wildebeest
  • Cotechino with flageolet cassoulet | Wildebeest
  • Bar | Wildebeest
  • Opening day at Wildebeest
  • Kholrabi spring roll, oyster emulsion, wild herbs | Wildebeest
  • Opening day at Wildebeest on West Hastings
  • Roasted bone marrow, potato and parsley salad, grilled bread | Wildebeest
  • Matches | Wildebeest
  • Hemingway daiquiri  | Wildebeest
  • 48hr cooked Angus short rib, smoked salt, hay-infused jus | Wildebeest
  • Wildebeest
  • Bar | Wildebeest
  • Wildebeest | 120 West Hastings St. | Gastown | 604-687-6880 | www.wildebeest.ca
  • Bar | Wildebeest
  • Bar | Wildebeest
  • Bar | Wildebeest
  • Wildebeest

ALL ANTICIPATED RESTAURANTS

Andrew Morrison lives and works in Vancouver as editor-in-chief of Scout, food columnist at the Westender, and National Referee & Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He also contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and television shows on local food, culture and travel; collects inexpensive things; and enjoys rare birds, skateboards, cocktails, shoes, good pastas, many songs, and the smell of camp fires.

#ScoutThis

There are 23 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Diner Delicious restaurant intel...

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Chinatown’s 2nd Coming & Putting That Brooklyn Look To Bed

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Chinatown’s 2nd Coming & Putting That Brooklyn Look To Bed

by Talia Kleinplatz | As Chinatown undergoes a significant transformation, residents share their hopes for the future of their neighbourhood which includes… more 

STACKED | Detailing The Deliciously Different Leberkäse Sandwich At ‘Bestie’ In Chinatown

STACKED | Detailing The Deliciously Different Leberkäse Sandwich At ‘Bestie’ In Chinatown

STACKED is a new Scout column that aims to dig down into the delicious details of Vancouver’s better sandwiches and burgers. From banh mi and beef dip to… more 

OPENING SOON | ‘The Sportsbar’ At Rogers Arena Set To Bring 600+ Seats Into The Action

OPENING SOON | ‘The Sportsbar’ At Rogers Arena Set To Bring 600+ Seats Into The Action

by Andrew Morrison | Late last week I was able to tour the massive, soon-to-open sports bar on the 4th floor of the Aquilini Centre's freshly finished West… more 

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Baking Happiness & Bad Airport Burgers Bumming Out Bourdain

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Baking Happiness & Bad Airport Burgers Bumming Out Bourdain

by Talia Kleinplatz | Ever heard of a cranberry glut? Yeah, me neither. Alas, it's a real thing, and between it and this past year's drought, it's been super… more 

DINER | Vegetarian Comfort Food Eatery ‘The Arbor’ Set For Wednesday Launch On Main St.

DINER | Vegetarian Comfort Food Eatery ‘The Arbor’ Set For Wednesday Launch On Main St.

by Andrew Morrison | The Arbor, casual sister restaurant to The Acorn, opened quietly for friends and family over the weekend. Word is they're taking today… more 

STACKED | Kitsilano’s Best Burger Is Oddly Not At All Where You Would Think It Would Be

STACKED | Kitsilano’s Best Burger Is Oddly Not At All Where You Would Think It Would Be

STACKED is a new Scout column that aims to dig down into the delicious details of Vancouver’s better sandwiches and burgers. From banh mi and beef dip to… more 

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Trump Wrecking Coffee & Never Enough Cooks In The Kitchen

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Trump Wrecking Coffee & Never Enough Cooks In The Kitchen

by Talia Kleinplatz | With the holidays just around the corner, Eater is rounding up a list of the best gifts for the food lover in your life. Some great ideas… more 

HEADS UP | Chinatown’s ‘Bestie’ All Set For First ‘Schnitzel Sunday’ Service This Weekend

HEADS UP | Chinatown’s ‘Bestie’ All Set For First ‘Schnitzel Sunday’ Service This Weekend

This weekend chef Colin and the team at Bestie in Chinatown are making a move to seduce schnitzel lovers with the launch of "Schnitzel Sundays", an evening… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Agrius Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio AnnaLena Araxi Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bistro Wagon Rouge Bittered Sling Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Bufala Burdock & Co. Cabrito Cacao Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cook Culture Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Dixie’s Authentic Texas BBQ Earnest Ice Cream Edible Canada Elementa Espana Exile Bistro Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Badger Fat Mao Fernwood Coffee Company Field & Social Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Harkness & Co. Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Heritage Asian Eatery Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juke Fried Chicken Juniper Keefer Bar Kin Kao Kissa Tanto Knifewear Kozakura Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Latab Wine Bar Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Little District Lobby Lounge + RawBar Longtail Kitchen Made By Pacific Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mister Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro OLO OPUS Bar Oru Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Phoenix Perennials Pidgin Pied-à-Terre Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, The Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Sai Woo Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Shika Provisions Siena Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Sorella Stable House, The Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Vij’s Restaurant Virtuous Pie West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .