The ‘Nouveau Dim Sum’ Concept in Gastown That Closed Before it Should Have

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

Bambudda was a 55-seat nouveau dim sum restaurant located at 99 Powell Street in Gastown. It was launched by front-of-house lifer Ray Loy in 2013 and lasted almost four years.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Strathcona/Chinatown, Loy had worked his way up through the ranks at restaurants such as “C”, Joe Fortes, Bacchus at the Wedgewood and Market in the Shangri-La before striking out on his own with this project.

Bambudda was by most accounts a very attractive restaurant (designed by Vanessa Rienau), especially in the bar area with its stools lining up to the lip of the room’s convertible frontage (great in summer). The kitchen was a bit of a revolving door, with chefs Keev Mah (later Pidgin, Sai Woo), Scott Korzack (later Beach Bay Cafe, Crowbar) and Curtis Luk (later Mission) all taking turns on the line. The bar program also saw talented hands on the tiller like Tarquin Melnyk.

The 3,000 sqft restaurant was forced to close in early 2017, soon after the landlord informed Loy of the building’s need for extensive renovations that would require his exit (not to mention the actual erasure of the 99 Powell St. address itself). Sadly, Loy decided not to search for a new location to continue the promising concept.

The following images are from Bambudda’s opening day, just hours before the arrival of the restaurant’s very first guests.

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There are 5 comments

  1. People went for the food? I mean snagging a seat at that L-shaped bar with the doors open during summer and a drink from Tarquin beat any cocktail bar that Gastown had to offer. I know how bold of a hot take this is.

  2. Max is a talented bartender but he never worked at Bambudda. The bar program started with Buck Friend from Australia. Tarquin Melnyk took over the reigns as bar manager for the last few years of its existence with the help of Dylan Williams – both imports from the Prairies. The bar was kind of the main attraction at that place and there were so many notable drinks that I still have mad cravings for. RIP Post Opium

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