DINER: Modern Chinese “Bambudda” Eatery Set To Bring Nouveau Dim Sum To Gastown

February 22, 2013.

by Andrew Morrison | Remember the massive old Canvas Lounge spot at 99 Powell St. in Gastown? It was a beautiful space, but it was only ever used for special events and parties. I distinctly remember staying down from the mezzanine a few years ago at some packed, super shitty Heineken-esque soiree and asking myself two questions, “What the hell am I doing here?” and “How are they making this work?”

It lasted longer than I thought it would, closing last year without much of a whimper.

Fast forward to this month, and the 8,000 sqft. space has been split into two addresses by the landlord, with one larger than the other. Both have already been leased. The bigger space, which is liquor primary, is apparently being turned into a nightclub (damn), which is to say that it’s the smaller spot that interests me. It’s slated to become a restaurant, and an interesting one at that.

It’s called Bambudda. It will be a 55-60 seat contemporary Chinese joint dishing mostly Cantonese-inspired plates (plenty of nouveau dim sum) in a more stylish environment than we normally see from the milieu; expect a more fashionable design, darker lighting a more relaxed ambience, an audible soundtrack, considered cocktails, et cetera (if you think that sounds a little like Bao Bei a few blocks to the south, I agree, except that in this case we’re talking about Cantonese rather than Shanghainese/Taiwanese). There will also be a sidewalk patio outside and a 400 sqft private room for up to 18 people.

Behind Bambudda is front of house lifer Ray Loy, who worked at “C”, Joe Fortes, and Bacchus before he became part of the opening team at Market by Jean George in the Shangri-La hotel, where he has been ever since (that’s him above, bottom left). His parents brought him to Vancouver from Hong Kong when he was an infant some 40 years ago. He was raised in Strathcona/Chinatown, and opening a restaurant has been a lifelong dream. Where does the name Bambudda come from? “It’s a mix of two of my favourite things.” Loy explains. “Bamboo and buddha”.

The chef, Keev Mah (with wok, bottom right) is a self-described “food nerd” who found a passion for the culinary arts in the kitchens of his grandmothers. Apparently, one grandma would cook Cantonese Chinese-inspired dishes with a Kelantanese-Malaysian slant and the other would cook Fujian-Chinese and Vietnamese-influenced food informed by her Nyonya-Peranakan heritage. Malaysian-born and French-trained, Mah worked at several restaurants in Vancouver (Hy’s, Malarkey’s, Circa) before landing this gig. He might be unknown to the fooderati, but I’m told he’s well travelled, well schooled, and a super keen perfectionist who likes to innovate.

Opening day is slated for the Spring (April at the earliest).

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

—————————————————————————————–

Andrew Morrison is the editor-in-chief of Scout and BC’s Senior Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and TV shows on local food, culture and travel. He live and works in the vibrant Strathcona neighbourhood, where he also collects inexpensive things and enjoys birds, skateboards, whisky, shoes, many songs, and the smell of wood fires.

  • Tammy

    Can’t wait for this to open up! Gastown doesn’t seem to have enough Asian restaurants, especially ones with well thought out cocktails and good service.

  • Doc Butch

    So stoked for this.

    “Apparently, one grandma would cook Cantonese Chinese-inspired dishes with a Kelantanese-Malaysian slant and the other would cook Fujian-Chinese and Vietnamese-influenced food informed by her Nyonya-Peranakan heritage”

    Not sure what that means but bring it!

  • http://scoutmagazine.ca Sean Orr

    “Audible soundtrack”

  • Scout Magazine

    It’s a thing.

  • Patricia

    That sounds super! Never had such out of this world food in Canada. Now we have in Vancouver. A must-try…yeah!

  • Brown guy

    Sounds like a good idea in Gas town. The name is very catchy. Hopefully the food will be too! Only one way to find out!

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters Abigail’s Party Acorn Alibi Room Araxi Ask For Luigi Bambudda Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Beach House Bearfoot Bistro Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Beta5 Chocolates Biltmore Cabaret Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bitter Tasting Room Bittered Sling Blacktail Florist Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Bufala Burdock & Co. Butter On The Endive Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cannibal Cafe Chambar Chewies Oyster Bar Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Commune Cafe Cuchillo Culinary Capers Catering Curious Oyster Catering Co. District Brasserie Diva At The Met Doi Chaang Coffee Co. Earnest Ice Cream East Of Main Cafe Edible Canada El Matador Espana Exile Bistro Farm 2 Fork Fish Counter Forage Greenhorn Espresso Bar Hapa Izakaya Hart House Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Vegetarian Homer Street Cafe & Bar Irish Heather Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Keefer Bar Krokodile Pear L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Lazy Gourmet Les Amis du Fromage Little District Local Philosophy Catering Lolita’s South Of The Border Cantina Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina Lukes General Store Lupo Restaurant Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mogiana Coffee Nicli Antica Pizzeria Notturno Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro Oyama Sausage Co. Oyster Seafood & Raw Bar Pallet Coffee Roasters Parker, The Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pink Elephant Thai Pizza Fabrika Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Pourhouse Prado Cafe Railtown Cafe Rainier Provisions Re-Up BBQ Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Settlement Building Shameful Tiki Room Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Sidecut | Four Seasons Whistler Siena Six Acres Spotted Bear Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tapenade Bistro Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine Bar Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood + bar

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 .