by Andrew Morrison | 55 Dunlevy St. has seen a lot since the Vancouver Urban Winery took it over a couple of years ago. The old railtown address, all 7,700 sqft of it, is home to not only VUW – with its own Roaring Twenties Wine label, retail shop, and 36 tap wine lounge open to the public – but also FreshTAP, the company that brings BC wine to Vancouver’s forward-thinking restaurants serving the stuff on tap. It can be a little confusing with so much going on under one roof, so they’ve gone ahead and rebranded the whole building, sort of as an umbrella moniker. As of this afternoon, it’s called The Settlement Building. The rebrand is just as well, as the place will soon shelter two new companies.
The first of these is a 65 seat eatery called Belgard Kitchen. It’ll offer day/night service, low and cozy hideaway booths, and bar height tables. Overseeing the food program is 19 year Earls veteran, Reuben Major. Together with chef de cuisine Jason Masuch (ex-Brix) and sous chef Mark Reder (ex-Fish Shack), Major plans on serving shareable small plates in the evening (eg. Swiss cheese fondue, bacon mushroom pate) and a larger lunch program that will see sandwiches, chile, soups, salads, slaws, a house special ramen, and a daily crockpot. I looked in on construction yesterday and they were just about to start installing the bulk of their kitchen equipment.
What’s in a name? I had to consult a 20 volume version of the OED to find the answer. It turns out that a belgard came to English (the poets, natch) from the Italian in the 16th century or so, and it means “a kind and loving look.” ”The team felt the meaning captured what they’re all about and what guests through the doors can expect,” The Settlement’s PR person, Kate MacDougall, explained. “It’s their everyday disposition – made easier, I’m sure, surrounded by wine – and their service style.”
Opening Day for Belgard Kitchen is set for the middle of April.
The second new company in The Settlement Building is a microbrewery called Postmark Brewing. It’s being led by managing director Nate Rayment, formerly of Howe Sound Brewing, while the “brew chief” is none other than polymath Craig Noble, who made the engrossing 2007 Tableland documentary (also the brother of JoieFarm‘s Heidi Noble).
Postmark will produce four sessionable beers that will be available for growler purchase/refill, on tap (one presumes) 20 feet away at Belgard Kitchen, and in local beer-loving restaurants around town. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be drinking their first beers in June.
The one catch to it all is that FreshTAP is moving out to make room for Postmark, which matters not to the public because it never provided any on-site services to the end consumer. In the grand scheme of things, however, it’s worth noting that the little company with the big idea of selling local wine in steel kegs to local eateries has already outgrown its nursery (slow clap all around). They’re looking at options for a new and scaleable space as we speak. Good luck, and well done indeed.
by Andrew Morrison | The West End will land a new and very interesting eatery called Exile tomorrow. The 20 seater is located at 1220 Bute St. off Davie in the old House of Empanadas spot.
The owner is Vanessa Bourget, a young import from Quebec with some 14 years in the trade. You might remember her hosting the Holistic Cocktail Bar in The Waldorf’s hideaway back in 2012. Most recently, the Holistic Nutritionist and Chartered Herbalist was Head Bartender and Creative Beverage Director (respectively) for Nuba and Heirloom Vegetarian.
I took a walk-through the other day and was immediately struck by how much it reminded me of The Acorn. Maybe it was a trick of the light, but the look – marked by dark stained wood, angled mirrors, and bespoke polyhedron light installations – appeared to be virtually identical to that of the celebrated vegetarian restaurant on Main Street. Indeed, I’d cry bloody foul if the two restaurants didn’t share the same designer: Scott Cohen (see also Les Faux Bourgeois, the Waldorf redux, Pronto, and remember Gastropod). If Exile served Argentine steaks instead of “plant-forward” cuisine, it might be less of a bang on the head, but the ingredients – like Acorn – are foraged or sourced almost entirely from small local farms.
And yet – despite the overt similarities – I’m not at all convinced that Bourget’s goal was to copy or even emulate any other restaurant. Far from it. Judging from her obviously dedicated affections for healthy foods, I expect everything about Exile to be entirely genuine. And I further trust that Cohen – as a designer – is in the midst of fleshing out an aesthetic in a series of interiors that began with Acorn. Exile was merely next, and whatever comes after that should count itself lucky. So if/when a knee-jerk reactionary diner next to your table says “These guys totally ripped The Acorn off,” politely let them know that the two restaurants share the same designer. Either that or just stare at them with crazy eyes and growl until they run from the place afraid, leaving you to feast on their leftover beet bacon, rabbit liver, and foraged pistou.
The menu from Northwest Culinary grad Lina Caschetto (ex-Fable, Wildebeest, Cuchillo, Les Faux Bourgeois) focuses on fermentation, curing, dehydration, pickling and preserving. It will also incorporate sustainable, land-based aquacultured trout and a selection of game meats such as elk, venison, boar and duck. Caschetto is also part of the Elementa culinary crew, which is sort of a loose brain trust of young, fiercely talented cooks who – by individual reputation – I believe will one day serve as the core of the next generation of Vancouver’s best and most exciting executive chefs and restaurateurs.
Also in the kitchen is former Nuba cook Kaylie Barfield and Caschetto’s Elementa cohort, Melanie Witt, who most recently toiled at Wildebeest and Montreal’s Lawrence. Front of house manager Camille Flanjak, I’m told, is a master forager “whose obsession with plants, mushrooms and permaculture has been an invaluable resource” to the restaurant. Bourget, of course, has not only designed the list of apothecary-inspired cocktails, but also made room for some small batch beers and a selection of sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines.
Exile clearly has talent, purpose, and drive up and down the ranks. By accident or design (it’s unclear), it also looks to be an all-female operation, which is definitely a rarity in the restaurant world. Its ethical bent doesn’t come across as preachy, and the cooks are only absolutist in their sourcing. ”This is not a vegetarian restaurant,” Bourget points out. “It’s a considerate restaurant.” To wit, they avoid the top four mono-crops (corn, wheat, soy, canola), and don’t use pork, beef, or chicken. As for the general absence of seafood from the menu, Bourget says “We wanted to give the ocean a break.” With the philosophy, cooking methods and ingredients employed “exiled” from the norm, naming the eatery was easy.
Exile will function as a healthy artisan cafe in the day Monday through Friday and as a restaurant and bar Wednesday through Sunday evenings. They will also serve a weekend brunch, complete with vegan french toast, root vegetable hash, boar bacon, and 49th Parallel coffee. The complete dinner menu is below, with prices ranging from $6 to $16. We wish them well.
‘Oyster’ mushrooms, bloomed seeds, seaweed & spirulina
Naturally fermented and pickled vegetables, sprouted nuts
Levain rye bread, infused oil & vinegar, cultured butter (V)
Seed pate & nut cheese, stone fruit
Pemmican: wild berries & cured big game (M)
Cured rainbow trout, fennel choucroute, cashew cream, smoked roe (F)
Farm House ‘lady jane’ cheese, hot pepper brittle (v)
The mushroom soup (VE option)
Foraged & cultivated plants, nori
Roots, foraged & cultivated
Shoots, coconut oil & smoked salt
Fermented buckwheat porridge, beet bacon & foraged pistou (V)
Game saucisse, lentils, rabbit liver, apple, horseradish (M)
Cast iron broth pot
Game meats, seasonal sauces, roots & shoots | Choice of bone broth (M) or mushroom bouillon
‘Cake in a jar’ – our daily whim
Apple, nut crumble, honeycomb & nettle sorbet
Maple pie, dates & chocolate buckwheat soil
Handcrafted vegan chocolates
Owners Zach Berman and Ryan Slater picked up the 5,000 sqft space (formerly Stanley’s Printing) back in August and have broken it up into three areas: storefront, commissary, and community space. The storefront will function as a 16 seat eatery/retail apothecary, selling juices, supplements, tinctures, teas, puddings and so on, with 3-4 quick and healthy breakfast and lunch items (vegan/gluten-free) from a menu designed by chef David Gunawan of Farmer’s Apprentice. The front doors are inset from the sidewalk, so expect a patio as well. The good folks over at Glasfurd & Walker (responsible for the branding of Meat & Bread, Wildebeest, among others) are doing the interior design.
The commissary component is massive, a high gloss testament to the success of a once fledgling mobile operation that is now looking to expand its reach beyond the Lower Mainland (it’s so great to see them outgrow the space that they shared with so many other food trucks next to Beta 5 on Industrial Ave – makes one wonder who will be next to leave the nest!). It accounts for some 3,500 sqft of pristine work space for juice production and cleanses, and as you can see from the shots above and below, it’s already looking pretty damn spiffy.
Finally, there’s the community space (the pinkish red room in the photographs). While it can and will seat 26 people for pop-up suppers and movie dinners, it will also be used for nutrition and fermenting workshops, yoga classes, kids activities, and more.
Juice production starts in April, and the retail/eatery frontage will open to the public (if all goes according to plan) on May 1st.
by Andrew Morrison | Cinara, the new 40 seat European/Italian eatery from La Pentola owner/chef Lucais Syme and his wife Jill, is set to open next week at 350 W. Pender. That’s the 1,500 sqft space occupying the main floor corner of the recently renovated Victoria Block at West Pender and Homer, right nexG door to our friends at The Paper Hound bookshop, across the street from the original location of Finch’s, and umbilically attached to the Victorian Hotel.
I took a look inside the highly anticipated eatery this morning and they look very close to being finished. The final building inspection is slated for this afternoon, so the place was a hive of activity. All of their staffing is done, and if all goes according to plan, they hope to do a trial run with friends and family on Wednesday night. If everything goes off without a hitch, they’ll offer their first proper service to the public on Thursday.
The dinner menu had me drooling. There’s plenty of small plates (duck pie, venison bresaola, humpback shrimp in bisque sauce, seafood antipasto); starters (prosciutto-wrapped rabbit terrine, corned veal tongue with fregola and clams0; mid-sized sharables (stuffed squid, coarse-grained polenta with nettles and pecorino); mains (beef shoulder with anchovy salsa verde, roasted branzino with sauce grebiche); plus dolce with a selection of cheeses. It all reads very well, and since we know who we’re dealing with in Lucais and Jill, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Vancouverites are in for a real winner here.
But what’s in a name? Here’s what we made of it when we broke the news of Cinara’s coming back in October:
“The name of the place – pronounced Chinara – is a nod to the humble artichoke (“Prickly on the outside and sweet on the inside,” Syme says). While it is one of several ancient monikers for the wild artichokes of the Levant and the thistle family’s Greek catch-all (Cynarae), Cinara is actually a place, an almost mythic island in the Aegean Sea (now known as Zinara). It was said to be home to some especially alluring Sirens, as well as a mysterious place of banishment. It was where the emperor Tiberius once sent a cheeky Greek named Zeno who dared to employ some flowery language in his presence. Cinara was also the name of a particularly greedy but irresistibly sexy ex-lover of the Roman lyric poet Horace (“the grief I knew in my cups when the delicious Cinara left me” – the poor dear)…Alas, Syme, as far as I know, is not a poet (lyric or otherwise) and, thank goodness, has not been banished from Yaletown. Operations at La Pentola will continue as normal.”
Cinara will be open for breakfast 7 days a week from 7am to 10am and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until 10pm. Click through the photos below to get a feel for the room and to take a look at a draft of their dinner menu (subject to change, natch)…
by Andrew Morrison | When Le Gavroche closed last month after some 35 years in business at 1616 Alberni, I half expected to see its old Victorian shell knocked down in favour of some crappy condo that a prominent architect staffed out to a junior with a lazy eye. Despite the best efforts of Chef Robert Guest, the place felt done after longtime owner Manny Ferreira decamped for Miradoro in the Okanagan, which sort of explains why a bailiff had to eventually slap a notice on the locked front door exclaiming $80,000 in unpaid rent. To put it another way, nobody went.
The good news, of course, is that it’s not going to be demolished to make way for the kinds of buildings that have robbed Coal Harbour of the personality it used to have. It’s been picked up by chef Neil Taylor, Ed Perrow, and Georgia Goritsas, the same triumvirate that brought us Espana on Denman Street two years ago. They signed the deal on the space earlier today.
It’s going to be a proper British gastropub, which makes sense since both Perrow and Taylor are English imports.
They’re calling it The Fat Badger.
“Before we opened Espana,” Perrow says, “Neil and I always talked about a doing a proper pub when we sat and reminisced about the places we used to drink at in Chiswick and Hammersmith.” So what does a “proper pub” mean? I’ve been told to expect some local craft beers plus a few British classics (London Pride, Fullers, etc.), a little “by the glass” wine list, a handful of cocktails, and Neil’s always reliably good food. “We want to keep the menu small,” Perrow points out, adding that the goal is to change it two or three times a week, “depending on what we are getting in fresh from local suppliers.”
Taylor says we can anticipate a “casual, warm environment” with British gastropub-style dishes. At dinner, “you can expect to see dishes such as roast pork belly with colcannon; black pudding and cider; grilled lamb with pea purée, morels and mint sauce; roast cod with spinach, baby onions, wild mushrooms and red wine; and some classics like Lancashire hot pot and braised oxtail with suet dumplings. Appetizers could feature potted Dungeness crab with buttered toast, fried pigs trotters with English mustard, or jellied ham hock and rabbit terrine with piccalilly.”
And what about lunch?
“For lunch we will have a delicious burger with aged English cheddar or even Stilton; a daily pie such as fish, steak and kidney pudding, chicken, ham and leek; and soups such as cock-a-leekie, Cullen skink, or game and lentil. For desserts, we will have dishes like eton mess, sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream, treacle tart with custard, lemon meringue pie and arctic roll, homemade ice creams, and a great selection of British and Irish cheeses. Bar snacks could include black pudding scotched eggs with HP sauce, hand-cut fries with curry sauce, London pride battered cod and chips with tartare sauce.”
Sounds great, but will there be roast beef and Yorkshires? Yes. Every Sunday, The Fat Badger will be tabling a special traditional roast, be it rib of beef with Yorkshire puddings and horseradish “or roast leg of lamb with mint sauce or roast pork shoulder with hot English mustard and apple sauce.”
The Fat Badger will be open for lunch and dinner, with brunch service on the weekends. Hours will probably be 11am to 11pm. Expect a quick turnaround on this. I imagine they’ll be ready for their first service at some point in April.
A visit to the brand new Basho Japanese cafe at 2007 East Hastings St. today saw a Veggie Lunch Set that blew our socks off. It included a cup of thick yam soup; a delicious, lightly dressed (tofu?) green salad with walnuts; a pickled vegetable, broccoli, cucumber, carrot, and avocado rice bowl; a steaming cup of light and simple green tea; and an assortment of matcha cookies. Not bad for for $10.50! If this is the first time you’ve heard of this place, take a click here or browse through the gallery below.
Basho | 2007 East Hastings | 604-428-6276 | www.bashocafe.com
by Andrew Morrison | After a lengthy renovation/downsizing break that included a temporary pop-up in the original Boneta space at 1 West Cordova, Save On Meats is set to reopen tomorrow morning (Friday, February 14th) at 43 West Hastings, right where it has been since long before the Peloponnesian War. Expect the diner to launch with a brand new menu at 7am with the butcher shop – which has been radically/suitably reduced in size to more manageable proportions – opening a little later at 10am. Work on the incubator kitchen (for small business and VCC) is already well underway (snapshots of both below).
We checked in on the progress during the day and followed up later, just as a group of artists were christening the new space with their works and the first bites of a friends and family feast were being enjoyed. It doesn’t look all that different from the previous Save On Meats, save for the 45 new, Save On-related artworks on the walls (including a sweet pair of custom-designed Converse kicks), and a flip-counter that adds up the number of sandwiches that have been served to those in need thanks to Save On Meats’ sandwich token program. There’s also the favourite tie of the well remembered Jess Nichol, a local barman who passed away in the summer of 2011, folded inside a framed portrait of him hanging in a place of prominence above the bar. Oh, and plenty of Persephone beer. Even at breakfast. See you in the morning?
by Andrew Morrison | Foreign Restaurant Porn looks at covet-worthy restaurants from parts afar and uses them to plug holes – geographically or conceptually - in Vancouver’s own restaurant landscape. This week we’re dreaming about Namnam, an 88 seat Singaporean eatery in Copenhagen, and wishing it was located in the Fraserhood. We’ve gotten word that a developer is looking into retro-fitting the 3,000 sqft Excel Tire Centre at 615 Kingsway and is currently on the lookout for a restaurant/lounge tenant. That’s the same block as Los Cuervos, Les Faux Bourgeois, and Matchstick Coffee, and right across the street from the very photogenic Black Lodge.
Why do we want this? Well, chiefly because “build-to-suit” opportunities that are tucked away in our neighbourhoods don’t come around every day, and we can imagine in our minds eye an outdoor patio with hanging lights in colourful lanterns strung across it high above the tables (explore above for the visual). Go ahead, close your eyes and imagine it. Smell the beef rendang and proper laksas mingling in wafts on warm summer nights and taste the cold bottles of Tiger beer. We’ll settle simply for an operator who gives a damn, but c’mon…a Namnam-esque joint with reasonable price points would just kill it here.
by Andrew Morrison | To celebrate its 75th anniversary this year, the Hotel Vancouver will be transforming its main floor lobby and lounge to the tune of $12 million. Construction begins this month and won’t be completed until the Autumn. With both the 900 West bar and Griffin’s eatery shuttered during this time, hotel guests will need to bend elbows somewhere, so they’re turning the long forgotten but once mighty 15th floor restaurant and bar known as The Roof into a pop-up.
You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of the place. The 5,200 square foot space opened in 1939 and. It enjoyed a very long run as one of Vancouver’s most magnetic establishments. It was the “it” spot, the Chambar or Wildebeest of its day.
The CBC used it as a “happening” studio during service, and the one and only Dal Richards, aka “The King of Swing”, was the resident band leader from 1940 through to the mid-60′s. It was where the city’s swish set went to see and be seen as they got their Saturday night drunks on.
Its popularity fizzled out after its last renovation in the 1970′s (yes, those are straws coming out of the pineapple in the photo above), and it’s been pretty a ghost restaurant since the 1990′s, opened only for the occasional private function. That a gem commanding such incredible views of the city exists high in our skies but not in our modern cultural landscape always seemed a crime to me ever since I first toured it four years ago, almost to the day. Here are my notes from way back when…
“ The pillars are crassly mirrored, the ceiling is hung with strange yellow and dark grey blocks, and the carpet can best be described as “crab blood blue”. There’s an odd, sunken bar on one side that could probably fit thirty bums, but it sports a bar top that only comes up to the guests’ knees. The kitchen is massive, and though in dire need of some TLC, it’s where the old bones of the hotel shine the brightest (many of the fittings looked to predate the Second World War). But it was the view that impressed the most. The north and south vistas were breathtaking…
We stood there for a while [my friend Owen Lightly and I], wondering what it must have once been like. It had been a quiet tour, done mostly by flashlight as our guide couldn’t find the switches, but we could nevertheless imagine the space filled with the dapper in the halcyon days of my grandmother, well before rock ‘n roll. If those walls could talk I would have pulled up a banquet chair (the horror!) and opened a bottle. I would have paid to listen…
And so it sits there, almost totally dormant, maybe whispering quietly to itself little reminders of where our food and restaurant scene once was between evenings filled with insurance salesmen trying to get laid at their annual staff party and playing host to the Bobs and Graces of this town celebrating their 75th wedding anniversaries.
I know we’re staring an economic apocalypse in the nostrils at the moment, but that won’t stop me from hoping the times will one day warrant its renovation and reincarnation. With so many new hotels popping up downtown (Voya, Moda, etc) and long-established ones revamping their food and beverage programs (Yew, Hawksworth, etc), you’d think the Hotel Vancouver would be keen on doing something better than Griffin’s, its tired old tourist trap on the main floor. Even when dark, empty and severely hamstrung by its ugly 70′s prom dress, “The Roof” offers far more personality, history, and romance.
Just imagine what a few million dollars could do in there…”
Indeed. It’s undergoing a complete overhaul as we speak. When it opens – within a week or two (don’t let the pictures fool you, they’re nearly done) – it will be with a completely new kitchen serving 100 dining room seats – complete with wing-backed chairs and cozy banquettes – and another 50 at the exquisitely odd sunken bar (it’s low to the ground so as to maximize guest sight lines). There’s also a grand piano; guests can anticipate live entertainment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Chef Cameron Ballendine is at the helm, and he’ll be plating predominately old school classics like prime rib with Yorkshire puddings, porterhouse steaks, creamed spinach, French onion soup, and much more. “We have menus for The Roof that go back to 1939, so we have lots of ideas,” Ballendine says.
The selfishly sad news is that once the main floor is done with its construction this Fall, this gem will revert to its special occasion status. I imagine that it will be reborn as one of the best and most sought after private party space in the city, but it’s just not the same if you can’t just take the elevator up for a Manhattan and a tune or three. One day…
by Andrew Morrison | Andrew Wong officially announced this morning that he will soon finish up at the original downtown location of Wild Rice. The trailblazing restaurateur opened the socially and environmentally conscious “Modern Chinese” eatery at 117 West Pender St. off Abbott St. back in 2001, serving ethically sourced cuisine informed by his heritage and pairing it with local wines and original cocktails. The spirit of the restaurant (a founding member of Ocean Wise and Green Table) will, of course, continue to live on at its new location in New Westminster’s increasingly awesome River Market. The restaurant officially closes its doors on January 31st.
With Wong’s announcement out of the way, we can now tell you that he accepted an offer from restaurateurs Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart (see The Sardine Can, La Buca, Pied-A-Terre) before Christmas. The well respected pair take possession on February 1st and are joined in ownership this time around by Michel Durocher, who has been part of the company since long before he started managing The Sardine Can (back to the old Parkside days).
Together, they hope to transform the 2,500 sqft space into a cheffish gastropub/tavern of serious sway. We can expect a darker, woodier, warmer aesthetic, which is to say that it it won’t look remotely the same as Wild Rice when it open this Spring (they’re crossing their fingers for April/May). “It’s a complete overhaul,” says Stewart. The only thing that they’re keeping is the length of the bar. When I asked Durbach for points of conceptual reference, he mentioned the Dominion and Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal and The Spotted Pig and Minetta Tavern in New York. Think 90 food primary seats and a menu of classics that have been amplified by good ingredients and furrowed brows of creativity. Though nothing about the place is really set in stone just yet, Durbach likes the idea of spinning high quality fish and chips, chicken karaage, an assortment of salads, perfect Côte de Boeuf (inspired the mainstay at the recently closed Boneta), toulouse bangers with whipped potatoes and craft beef-infused onion gravy, and so on. Durbach also says that he’d like to try and make the best burger in town, so you know…fancy, but not too fancy.
With the new Chambar re-opening in their new location just up the street at the same time and rumours of new eateries slated for the old Chambar location and the soon to move Medina next door, this looks like a solid pick-up from Durbach et al. Crosstown, it seems, is going to have a little renaissance (again).
They don’t have a name for the restaurant just yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s set and update our readers as things progress because this is one to keep an eye on. In the meantime, there’s still time to pay your respects to Wild Rice and sneak in another delicious bowl of Rossdown chicken Kung Po.
350 West Pender, Vancouver, BC V6B 1T1
The People Who Make It Happen
Lucais Syme, Chef & Co-owner
Gillian Book, Chef & Co-owner
Cinara is a 40 seat restaurant located on the corner of Homer St. and West Pender in the Victorian Hotel. With a European approach to cuisine, owners Lucais Syme and Gill Book use the best available ingredients to deliver interesting and satisfying dishes to be enjoyed either al la carte or as a tasting menu designed for the table. The wine program ranges from a seasonally changing list of 40 labels to the top wines of the old world which have been collected over the years. Cinara is a comfortable setting with a mix of old world and modern to be enjoyed for a brief stop or a whole evening.
Cinara is also open for breakfast, serving all house-made dishes. Offering sprouted grain bread, house cured salmon, and our own cream cheese, Cinara offers a style of breakfast unique to Vancouver.
Chef and owner: Andrea Carlson
Co-owner and architect: Kevin Bismanis
Front-of-house manager: Lisa Haley
Consulting sommelier: Matt Sherlock
Consulting bartender: Lauren Mote
ABOUT BURDOCK & CO.
Burdock & Co serves refined dishes crafted from organic ingredients. Chef Andrea Carlson’s relationship with local suppliers ensures that only the best arrives at the table, whether sourced from one of Vancouver’s nearby farms or a downtown urban garden.
In keeping with its rough-and-refined theme, seating includes a communal table where diners are welcome to converse with neighbours as they enjoy Chef Andrea’s polished, approachable dishes. Burdock’s vegetable-focused share-plate menu changes frequently, to reflect seasonal availability of ingredients. A careful selection of naturalist wines from France and Italy, along with craft beers and bespoke cocktails rounds out the menu.
Reminiscent of quirky family-owned hardware stores and inspired by one of Chef Andrea’s favourite local root vegetables, the name Burdock & Co captures the essence of the restaurant and its philosophy. It implies a sense of community and highlights the botanical focus of the menu, while evoking a warm heritage quality.
Chef Andrea Carlson trained at Dubrulle Culinary School, and has cooked at some of the finest restaurants in the Vancouver area, including C restaurant and Sooke Harbour House. At Sooke, Andrea was inspired by the fresh, organic, seasonal foods that were grown on-site. It was there she was motivated to further explore small-scale organic gardening, later creating a kitchen garden for the Tofino Botanical Gardens. This close connection to food and nature became the foundation of Andrea’s cooking philosophy, which she brought to her role as chef de cuisine at Raincity Grill. At Raincity she developed Vancouver’s first 100-Mile Menu, and became a driving force behind the city’s “locavore” movement.
During her tenure as executive chef at Bishop’s, it was twice named Best Regional Restaurant by Vancouver magazine. Now chef and owner of Burdock & Co, Andrea offers organic, seasonal plates, crafted with polish and served with approachable style.
Chef Andrea Carlson creates an organic, seasonal menu crafted with refined technique. The menu spotlights our rich local bounty of coastal seafood, organic vegetables, ethically-raised meats and fresh dairy. Dishes might include heirloom beans, grains, wild foraged greens, eggs or local honey.
Named one of Western Living’s Top 40 Foodies Under 40 in 2012, sommelier Matt Sherlock chooses naturalist wines from France and Italy to complement Burdock’s menu. Wine list selections include an earthy Aurora Marche Rosso, a Domaine de Cristia Cotes du Rhone with flavours of singed herb and raspberry, and a Maison Roche de Bellene Bourgogne Blanc, bright with baked apple flavours.
Celebrated Vancouver bartender Lauren Mote’s cocktail list makes use of fresh, homemade ingredients. Lauren is passionate about using fruits, herbs and spices with beneficial properties to mix well-balanced cocktails. Drinks are earthy, with influences taken from field, forest and garden. Original cocktails include the woodland-inspired Vieux Boreal made with maple rye whisky and pinecone dram, and the Burdock & Beer, flavoured with saison, burdock root and sour ginger and a dash of plum and rootbeer bitters.
A well-curated selection is on tap, with bottles on offer from BC breweries and carefully chosen beers from Europe. Craft brews from companies like Driftwood (Victoria), Phillips (Victoria) and Coal Harbour (Vancouver) pair perfectly with the menu’s share plates.
The rough-and-refined interior of Burdock & Co. was designed by Andrea’s partner, architect Kevin Bismanis. Andrea and Kevin chose building materials that reduce the restaurant’s environmental impact, reclaiming wood from local buildings, and up-cycling vintage finds to evoke a warm “urban barn” atmosphere.
“Committed to organic, locally-sourced produce, Carlson’s menu is one of the more impressively creative offerings in the city right now.”—Fiona Morrow, Huffington Post, May 13, 2013
“I really like this place. Carlson takes her fine dining skills and funks it up although the dishes could sit comfortably on most fine dining menus and they’re tastier than many haute dishes I’ve had in high-priced spots. The food looks fresh and vibrant and lively and skillfully presented.”—Mia Stainsby, The Vancouver Sun, May 22, 2013
“If there were a competition for the restaurant that best represented Vancouver, Burdock & Co. would be the hands-down winner…this refined-yet-rustic charmer is a shining reflection of progressive local tastes.” –Alexandra Gill, Globe and Mail, June 21, 2013
by Andrew Morrison | In the 1860′s, three Englishmen – William Hailstone, John Morton, Sam Brighouse – purchased the 550 acres of the West End of Vancouver for a buck an acre (everything west of Burrard St. except the Government Reserve that became Stanley Park). Using the native clay of the area, their plan was to become brickmakers. They were mocked for their endeavours and derisively called “greenhorns” by the media of the day, as their enterprise was seen as entirely foolhardy – the work of 19th century noobs (they ended up doing pretty well for themselves in the long run and there’s a a lovely sundial memorial to them on English Bay beach).
Close to the epicentre of what was once their bit of good earth is 994 Nicola St., a long vacant spot that will soon welcome the Greenhorn Espresso Bar. Owned by first timers Walter Le Deca and Ganga Jolicoeur, it is set to open on January 3rd. I took a look inside the other day, guided by local photographer Dylan Doubt, who is helping Le Deca and Jolicoeur with sourcing, set up, and other things besides.
To call it just an espresso bar (serving Moja beans) is selling it rather short, though, as Greenhorn will also feature an upstairs gallery showcasing poster art and vintage bikes, a retail shop (coffee, chocolates, flowers) and a bakery/cafe component overseen by ex-Chambar kitchen fixture Becks Foster, from whom we can expect Spanish tortillas, quiches, sandwiches soups, salads, baguettes, croissants, waffles, and more.
If I had to pin it, I’d say that the West End is about to score something similar to Le Marche St. George, and that’s cause for residents to rejoice. This is a terribly under-served bit of the city, so it would be rather silly if they didn’t do well. If it’s half as good as I expect it to be (and the rent isn’t cruel), it could be a real institution, cut from the Finch’s cloth.
They have a “friends and family” dry run on the immediate horizon, with opening day slated for January 3rd. The hours will be 7am to 7pm, with a decidedly casual and brunch-ish vibe peaking throughout.