Opening Soon: First Look Inside Dale Mackay’s New “Ensemble”

To follow up on the news that Scout broke last week on the coming of Ensemble, I met up with Dale Mackay off Robson yesterday at the location in the old Corner Suite space at 850 Thurlow (I realise the brand is spelled with a lower case “e” -  as in ensemble – but I reserve the right to sanctimoniously ignore that in the dickish name of the English language).

He and his crew were already hard at work at the 115 seater. Take a look… Read more

Dale Mackay’s New “Ensemble” To Open In The Old Corner Suite

by Andrew Morrison | We’ve respectfully kept this on the extra-double-down-low while talented chef de cuisine Dale Mackay’s tenure at Lumiere was coming to a close, but since it did just that last night it’s time to break the good news: the Top Chef Canada competitor has indeed figured out his next step, and it will be to open a new restaurant of his own.

We can confirm that Mackay has taken over the recently vacated Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe location at 850 Thurlow Street (just south of Robson) with plans to open his first restaurant – dubbed Ensemble – hopefully before the end of this May. We are also especially glad to hear that some Lumiere employees are going along with him for the ride, among them sommelier Kevin van Hullebush and sous chef Brad Hendrickson.

Expect a 30+ seat oyster and cocktail bar and an 85 seat dining room. Further details soon, but in the meantime see below for images of the location…

UPDATE | The official press release…

March 15, 2011 – Vancouver, BC – Chef Dale MacKay announces the spring, 2011 opening of ensemble restaurant, just off Robson Street in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Best known for his award-winning, Five Diamond, Grand Relais & Chateaux class, modern French techniques and exquisite presentation, Chef MacKay will break from tradition, when ensemble opens in May.

“ensemble is a new dining concept for Vancouver,” says MacKay. “we will combine classic French techniques with influences and flavour profiles from around the world, and offer a wide variety of flavours and textures in tasting size dishes priced from $8-$24.  The kitchen will be doing what I’ve always done, but with a more casual and modern approach.”

Chef MacKay’s resume, like his culinary style, is condensed and flavourful.  Highlights include time spent as a private chef in Italy; as Executive Chef at an exclusive BC resort; protégé to Chef Gordon Ramsay at his restaurants in Tokyo, New York, and London; then most recently, as Executive Chef of Lumière, Vancouver’s Five Diamond, Four Star, Relais Gourmand establishment managed by New York Chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group.  Dale is a contender on Top Chef Canada, premiering April 11, 2011 on Food Network Canada.

“For me,  ensemble represents the culmination of my life so far as a Canadian chef and what I want those experiences to mean to me, to my team, and to our clients.  Of course I have no illusions about how tough the restaurant business can be in these times and in Vancouver but, I believe my path to prosperity will be about working with people I respect and care about, doing what we love, and making other people happy by sharing our talents and enthusiasm … and keeping it real and affordable for them.”

ensemble’s interior design mirrors Chef MacKay’s fresh, clean and modern culinary vision.  An open concept space features a cocktail bar/lounge with 30 comfortable seats and plenty of standing room for busy times like game nights and live music weekends. The 85 seat dining room, separate from but flowing seamlessly into the lounge area, is at once intimate and social – what Dale describes as a reflection of  Vancouver’s contemporary dining scene.  The 850 Thurlow Street address, at the northeast corner of Smythe/Haro and a stone’s throw from busy Robson Street, takes no chances on location as it’s situated at the epicenter of one of the city’s highest concentration of shops, restaurants, theatres and hotels.

A longtime friend and client of Chef MacKay’s has come on board as silent partner and business advisor,  but the day to day operations and creative license of the restaurant will remain the domain of MacKay and his hand-picked ensemble cast, including Sommelier/Maitre d’ Kevin van Hullebush, and Sous Chef Brad Hendrickson.


“Oyster Seafood & Raw Bar” Has Joined The Scout Community…


Oyster Seafood & Raw Bar is now a proud member supporter of Scout. We will be publishing their news on our front page and hosting a page for them in our list of recommended restaurants to check out. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of our little website. Click ahead to read on or jump directly to their Scout page hereRead more

“The Refinery” On The Granville Strip Joins Scout Magazine

May 20, 2009 

The Refinery on Granville is now a proud member supporter of Scout Magazine. We will be publishing their news and releases on our front page, and hosting individual pages for each in our list of Recommended restaurants. Scroll below for a taste:


The Refinery |
1115 Granville Street, Vancouver BC | V6Z 1M1 | MAP
Downtown Vancouver Entertainment District
Phone: 604-687-8001 | Fax: 604-687-7479
5pm til 12am Tue to Sat | closed Sun and Mon Read more

Oyster Seafood & Raw Bar



Inside Vancouver’s original Stock Exchange Building (circa 1929)
475 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC
Telephone: 604-899-0323
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 12pm to 9:30pm
Capacity: 25 seats




Owner: Jeremy Towning
Manager: Kelly Ann Woods

About Oyster


Oyster Seafood and Raw Bar: a new pearl in the Vancouver dining scene. A small and charming room, distinctly focused on Ocean Wise seafood, Oyster blends the charm of the 1920’s with the upscale and modern influences of the twenty-first century. Housed in the original Vancouver Stock Exchange building at 475 Howe Street, this 25 seat oyster haven is open from noon to 9pm Monday to Friday, with daily menu features and 3 – 6pm “buck a shuck” oysters.

The seed behind Oyster is Jeremy Towning. A family background in hospitality and passion for business brought Towning to open Oyster. He has put together a team that is passionate about – yes, you guessed it – Oysters. A wine list focused on seafood pairings, and house-designed “batched cocktails” are among a few of the inventive creations at Oyster.

Oyster offers a broad choice of non oyster offerings; try the chopped shrimp salad, the delectable Lobster Butter mini Hoagies or for the carnivore in the crowd the Philly Cheese Steak mini sandwich features AAA shaved rib eye with caramelized onions and aged cheddar. Sharing plates see a selection of Organic Ocean Wild Salmon Tartare, Crab Claw Cocktail and the always popular Steamer Bowls – clams, mussels or ALL In. Add some Potato Salad or an order of Garlic Toast and lunch is a done deal.

Oyster features a selection of BC’s finest seafood, as fresh as can B, with the emphasis on freshly shucked Oysters, prepared Scallops, Mussels, Clams, Crab and fin fish, cooked in with global flare and maintaining the flavours inherent to BC seafood and the waters they come from.

Oyster is located at 475 Howe Street (at Pender). To book private weekend functions please call 604-899-0323.