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.
by Andrew Morrison | The new Wild Rice (aka Wild Rice Too) is only a few weeks away from opening. I toured the space at New West’s River Market with owner Andrew Wong yesterday and they’re looking very much on track. The skinny: the garage-door fronted, water-view dining area will seat 52 at square, interchangeable tables and sport a living wall of herbs and greens; the lounge will see a 12 seat bar, 3 couches, 2 armchairs and a host of low-slung coffee tables (a la the original Wild Rice on Pender); the open kitchen will include a line-fronting chef’s table of 8; and the patio – oh, the patio! – will seat about 35. Take a look. There’s clearly still a lot of work to do, but wow…
Get a load of architect Marianne Amodio’s gorgeous vision after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Wild Rice owner Andrew Wong has a new restaurant space in New West. It’s been a long time coming. Developer Mark Shieh (who is very much a stand up guy) has had Wong and Wild Rice on his radar to fill the restaurant space at the new and greatly improved River Market complex at Westminster Quay for about a year now. It’s been an on again, off again negotiation (I remember them talking about it on my roof last August), but that changed today, when hands were shaken and ground was finally broken.
The original Wild Rice (seen above) will remain as it ever was, still very pretty and pristine at the gates of Chinatown, while the new Wild Rice will enjoy some 3,600sqft of space in a ready-to-go lot of concrete and glass. Wong aims to fill it with 88 seats (12 at the bar, just like the original), plus another 30 or so on a leafy patio. Wild Rice with a freakin’ patio? Yes.
But there are other differences between the old and the new, too. While the River Market location will be similarly styled as the original with a cozy, modern vibe, the kitchen will be considerably larger and open to view from the dining room. Executive chef Todd Bright will be making the daily commute, and is invested as a partner. The increased size of his kitchen will deliver a menu 20% larger than the original’s. That means we can count on all the modern Chinese goodies that we can currently get at Wild Rice (eg. their kickass Kung Pao), plus a good deal of new and likely interesting dishes that at this point I can only guess at.
We still have to wait until the Fall to give it a whirl. Wong and Bright are aiming for an October opening, but you know how restaurants go. It could very well be Christmas or beyond before we can check it out, though I sincerely hope it’s kept on schedule.
Bottom line: New West just scored.
News from Scout supporter School of Chalk
Vancouver, BC | Strathcona’s new community-minded School of Chalk is putting on two gardening workshops on Sunday, July 25th for those keen to get their hands dirty. The first, which runs from 10am to 12pm, covers Winter Gardening planning for those dark days of January (yes, you start now!), while the second, from 1pm to 4pm, deals with Soil Fertility. Heading both workshops will be resident green thumb Grant Watson, who divides his time between organic farming and running an edible landscaping business, Grant’s Gourmet Gardens. He has been teaching gardening workshops since 2003. Get all the details after the jump… Read more
Principal: Shannon Harvey
Vice-Principal: Mark Shieh
ChalkXChange is a neighborhood creative commons. Like a favorite corner store, Chalk is nearby and sometimes serves pie. Rather than groceries, we stock ideas, stories, and activities. Getting together as neighbors to imagine, learn, teach, and create is the foundation for creative neighborhoods; and in turn, creative cities. At ChalkXChange, we draw on our collective creative arts and invite the public to participate in events, workshops, and projects. Meet you at the chalkboard…
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