DINER: Maenam’s Angus An To Open New “Longtail Kitchen” Eatery At River Market

by Andrew Morrison | Chef/restaurateur Angus An of Kitsilano’s multiple award-winning Maenam restaurant is opening a new counter-service eatery called Longtail Kitchen in New Westminster’s popular River Market. An, you might recall, trained at New York’s French Culinary Institute and worked in such famed kitchens as Jo-Jo, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Nahm before opening Maenam in 2009. He’s one of Vancouver’s top culinary stars. His new joint is named after Thailand’s ubiquitous, iconic, and often turbo-charged “longtail” water taxis) — a cool name that fits that address’ Fraser River waterfront location and Thai theme.

The lease was just signed this week, but it’s been in the works for many months. And it’s no wonder. Between shuttling to and from New York City where An consults at the famed Kittichai restaurant, overseeing the perennially busy Maenam, and raising a young family, An is a busy guy. You’d think opening another establishment would seem a daunting, overly complicated prospect, but he shrugs the notion off. “I wouldn’t have done this if it didn’t feel right for me,” he says. “It’s a fine balance, but I can do it comfortably.”

The 25 seat, 880 sqft Longtail will focus on sea-centric Thai street food. “Quick and easy Thai fisherman comfort food”, is how An likens it, adding that there “will be noodle dishes, fish stews and fish curries, with price points ranging from $8 to $12.” Sadly, there will be no liquor license to start off with, but the application is under way. They’ll also be trying for a sectioned-off patio (which would work beautifully with garage door frontage), but if you’ve ever been to the River Market, you already know how easy it is to take your meal outside and sit just about anywhere (the gull population mercifully appears to be about 1/50th that of Granville Island market).

Longtail is being designed as a multi-functional space. By day it will concentrate on regular service with a retail component (selling An’s signature curry sauces, spices, cookbooks, etc.) and then at night it will host cooking classes, private functions and special chef-collaborative suppers. “I’m a longtime fan of Angus’ cooking,” says Mark Shieh, the River Market’s Director. “He and I have talked a lot about the future of restaurants. One of our goals at the Market is to reconnect with food in a meaningful and playful way. Angus’ imagining of a restaurant as a multifunctional seaside kitchen is a great fit with our Food 360 approach.”

Longtail Kitchen is another big “get” for River Market (already home to Wild Rice, Re-Up, Wally’s Burger, La Grotto del Formaggio, among other food fetishist faves). Opening day is scheduled for early May, 2013.

Follow things as they progress on Twitter via twitter.com/rivermrkt and twitter.com/longtailkitchen.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

  • Irene

    Is the arrow pointing to the Fathom Seafood spot? It was a shame that it closed, but I guess most New West folks head to the all you can eat joints.

  • christine

    Thanks for stereotyping the New West diners as trough feeders. In fact, the spot was briefly occupied by the Crab Shop (of North Van) fame for fish and chips and seafood. For some reason, they quickly decided to close that location, and I think Re-Up BBQ, who have the spot next door, took over the fish and chips business for awhile as “Fathom.” It’s right next to the boardwalk, so you can see why a fish and chips business would have been a natural. Anyway, I am very glad to see another great Vancouver chef come on out to New West – we’ve got a wonderful scene emerging here. Will definitely be looking forward to the opening of this place.

  • YeaYeaYea

    I live in New West. I hope it works as I really enjoy Maenam. It will take some push to get the surrounding neighbourhood to open their arms and wallets past the paddle-wheeler. My advice? Big portions and cheap beer.

  • Laura

    So excited about Longtail Kitchen and will be looking forward to checking it out! Please don’t let the previous comments scare you; believe it or not, not everyone in New Westminster is looking for big portions, cheap beer or all you can eat!! Really enjoy Wild Rice, Re -up, and Paloma. Would love to see a fresh fish shop!? oh and a cool clothing boutique would be awesome as well…

  • Abots

    So excited to read about this!!! We live in new west (having moved from downtown vancouver, as we see the potential new west has), anyways, we’ll definitely be 1st in line when this place opens. New West needs more cultural restaurants/funky spots to check out so we don’t have to take the skytrain into town for a good casual meal. Thanks for the article!