The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s Pidgin gets into the holiday spirit with 5 inventive, classically rooted winter drinks that will make the top of any cocktail connoisseur’s wish list. Pidgin’s head barman, Robyn Gray, has assembled a collection of quality cocktails to warm up the holidays.
This winter, try the All Scrooged Up, a chocolate orange cocktail made with vodka, winter syrup, and muddled Japanese orange topped with chocolate foam. Add some spice to the season with the Flip D’Hiver, a cocktail prepared with Asian 5 spice rum, Amaro Averna, pear nectar, maple syrup and a whole egg that gives it a snowy foam top (dusted with a dash of nutmeg). Other cocktails include French 75 (Pre-Prohibition) made with cognac, lemon, and cane syrup served in an elegant champagne flute, and the Irish Sour shaken and fine-strained with whiskey, lemon juice, Guinness syrup, Irish bitters and egg white.
And special to the list is the Mostaccioli, a winning cocktail fashioned by the late Derek Vanderhiede for The BC Hospitality Foundation’s Dish‘n’Dazzle competition. The tasty concoction features bourbon with Tuaca liqueur, vermouth, whiskey barrel bitters and is garnished with express orange oil and outfitted with a moustache cherry pick and coaster. Read more
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | On November 5th at 6:30pm, join the Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement (ALIVE) Society and learn about Motivate Canada’s GEN7 initiative while enjoying the creativity of chef Makoto Ono and the PiDGiN kitchen, recently named one of the top restaurants in the country by enRoute magazine. Building new relationships is a key part of the GEN7 program, an initiative which trains and supports Aboriginal youth leaders to “hunt in both worlds”, as advocated by the late Chief Dan George. The Vancouver program began in 2012 when ALIVE partnered with the respected national youth organization Motivate Canada (MC), the Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, the Vancouver Park Board, and the First Nations Employment Society (FNES) to implement a plan to train Aboriginal youth (16-24) in leadership skills, and anchor them in five selected community centres to act as role models. Each $5000.00 raised provides one more urban Aboriginal youth the ability to participate in this unique opportunity. Get all the details after the jump. Read more
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Pidgin invites guests to join Vancouver’s preeminent sakemaker Masa Shiroki to explore the unique flavours of Toshimori Shuzo’s Sakehitosuji collection. On October 29th at 6PM, Masa matches rice wines with a five-course tasting menu designed by Pidgin’s executive chef Makoto Ono.
Toshimori Shuzo is a boutique sake producer, crafting sake of the highest quality from the warmer western region of Okayama since 1898. The brewery devoted years to reviving “Akaiwa Omachi”, an extinct wild rice stock known to be the grandfather of a number of popular sake rice varieties. Mr. Tamura, Toshimori Shuzo’s Toji or master sakemaker, uses this rare single-variety rice grain to create premium sakes with distinct characteristics and rare flavour profiles.
The Sakehitosuji brand, meaning “the absolute dedication to sake making,” has become synonymous with this unique regional specialty and quality ingredients. Shuzo’s sake is highly recognized and celebrated locally and internationally. It has been awarded at the prestigious ALL-JAPAN New Sake Competition and Monde Selection’s International Contest of Wines.
The Toshimori Shuzo dinner is $100 per person including tax and gratuity, with limited seating available. The evening includes a five-course tasting menu with an amuse bouche and dessert, all paired with sake. Guests are encouraged to reserve early by calling the restaurant at 604-620-9400. Check out the Sakehitosuji Sake line-up after the jump… Read more
Makoto Ono – Executive Chef
Brandon Grossutti – General Manager
Hao-Yang Wang – Assistant General Manager
Amanda Cheng – Pastry Chef
Robyn Gray – Bar Manager
Common cuts rendered sublime. Deceptively simple staples skewed and polished with Asian elegance. Large format family-style ssäm with the attention to detail and flavour usually reserved for highly composed dishes. These are the cornerstones of Chef Makoto Ono’s food. Rarely predictable, never overwrought and fussy, always thoughtful, cared for, and prepared with the utmost integrity.
At PiDGiN, there is no need for distinctions between casual and fine dining. A restaurant can be both beautiful and comfortable; cuisine can be at once delicate and approachable. As dining perspectives have changed, so too has the line between east and west. Pidgin’s chefs and owners draw inspiration from their travels and work experience on different continents which is reflected in the restaurant’s design, drinks list and cuisine.
The bar pays its respects to classic cocktails with fresh interpretations that make good use of our region’s fine local bounty. For the more adventurous the taps pour local sake. By the glass and bottle is a tight wine list, bolstered by a well-curated reserve list for those seeking something truly special. Perhaps most exciting is the harmony between kitchen and bar, a collaboration that ensures equal attention to detail and creativity with the ladies and gentlemen behind the wood and stoves.
Craig Stanghetta of Ste. Marie based PiDGiN’s design around the food and approach of chef Makoto Ono. Much like the namesake, the design borrows liberally from different schools of thought. Curated ephemera, inverted subway tile and contemporary lighting stand against clean Japanese joinery, simple panel moulding and an intentionally sparse and functional layout. The mandate was to be disparate and somehow achieve balance, much like each dish that leaves the kitchen.
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Pidgin is set to feature a five-course tasting menu on September 24 at 6:30PM. It will guest-hosted by Tomonobu Mitobe, owner/operator of Japan’s Mitobe brewery. Mitobe will guide diners on a journey through the flavours and aromas of the Yamagata Masamune Sake collection while executive chef Makoto Ono will pair the drinks with a five-course menu complete with amuse bouche and dessert.
A small-scale artisan with generations of wisdom and experience in the sake industry, Mitobe Sake Brewery uses traditional methods to produce the Yamagata Masamune collection. Local mineral water from the Tachiya River and neighbouring rice and noble rice varietals result in crisp and refined flavour profiles. The brewery pays homage to Masamune, Japan’s legendary swordsmith, by crafting clean-cutting, smooth and superior quality sake.
The Yamagata Masamune Sake event is $100 per person, including tax and gratuity, with limited seating available. The evening includes a five-course tasting menu, with an amuse bouche and dessert, all paired with sake. Guests are encouraged to reserve early by calling the restaurant at 604-620-9400. Check out the full Sake Lineup after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Vancouver, BC, June 25, 2013 – Gastown’s Pidgin welcomes classic cocktail connoisseurs to enjoy $8 Negronis every Sunday and Monday evening. Keeping in theme with Pidgin’s unconventional yet classically rooted cocktail menu, Robyn Gray’s version of the Negroni is a spin on the original recipe. Prepared with Gin, Italian Sweet Vermouth, and Campari, the mixture is stirred with ice then poured over a frozen house made cold press coffee cube and garnished with a zest of lemon. Read more
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | PiDGiN is looking for a Lead Host/Hostess to join our team. The ideal candidate will be self-motivated with a pro-active attitude. He or she will also have previous restaurant experience, knowledge of OpenTable, and a passion for food and beverage. If you are keen to share our commitment to exceptional service, please reply with your resume and availability details to resumes [at] pidginyvr.com.
The Vancouver Police Department held a press conference today announcing that they were putting a small number of the anti-gentrification protestors outside Gastown’s Pidgin restaurant on notice that they will be arrested for “criminal acts” (watch video above). The following document – which contains the legal definition of criminal mischief (for the kids) – spells out the VPD’s position:
The restaurant, which is co-owned and cheffed by Makoto Ono (the first Canadian Culinary Champion), has endured protests by anti-gentrification activists ever since it opened on Carrall St. across from Pigeon Park some two months ago. What’s lost in all this brou-ha-ha is the food. The picketers decry it as “upscale”, but it’s cheaper than Earls and not a little better. Give it a try.
You’ve likely heard plenty about PiDGiN, the new restaurant in Gastown, but you probably haven’t seen its interiors being built before your eyes. Here’s a time-lapse look at its construction. If you look closely and pause it at :59, you can see co-owner Brandon Grossutti sleeping at Table #30 (on the banquette) on the night before the restaurant’s 6am liquor inspection.
by Andrew Morrison | A 20 seat coffee and chocolate house called East Van Roasters is opening up at 319 Carrall St. in the first week of April (right next to Nelson The Seagull and across the street from Pidgin).
Owned and operated by the Portland Hotel Society, the social enterprise cafe comes to us via polymath Shelley Bolton, who we know from The Window and our recent tour of The Only, and Merri Schwartz, recent recipient of a Mayor’s Arts Award, pastry chef extraordinaire, and founder of Growing Chefs! (arguably one of the raddest non-profit organisations in Vancouver).
What can we expect? Roasted in house chocolate and coffee pairings and flights; seating on donated grand fir church pews and vintage stacking chairs reclaimed from an East Van bingo hall, winnowing and nib rooms (like Mast Brothers in Brooklyn, for example); East Van honeys from Hives For Humanity; single origin, made in-house chocolate bars; educational programs; regular cuppings and tastings; the best smell going on the Downtown Eastside (I mean, roasting coffee and chocolate…seriously); and women from the Rainier Women’s Treatment Centre staffing the joint.
Master roaster Doug Graf has a Loring Smart Roaster to play with. The same machine – with the lowest emissions of all roasters – will take care of the chocolate as well. We’ve sampled some of both already, and they’re top drawer (the 70% Madagascar chocolate in particular being a highlight). Bolton actually traveled to Hawaii to train at Madre, Honolulu’s bean-to-bar chocolate company. She’s quickly become something of a chocolate geek with very high standards.
The aim might be to supply Vancouver chocolatiers and chefs with locally-produced chocolate, cacao powder and cacao butter (like Theo in Seattle, for example, only smaller in scale), but the mandate is to create training and employment for the women of the Rainier. And that’s awesome.
You can get a feel for how East Van Roasters will look from the images above (taken by Michelle Sproule yesterday). We took the 7 shots below way back in October, when things were just getting serious.
THE “BEFORE” SHOTS
by Andrew Morrison | As many of our regular readers are well aware, the recently opened PiDGiN restaurant on Carrall has seen its entrance picketed nightly by protestors who view the eatery is an unwanted agent of gentrification on the Downtown Eastside. There’s been an active, oft-emotional and occasionally bizarre conversation about it in one of our comment threads. The restaurant has stayed mum on the protests until a little over an hour ago, when the following statement was released:
First and foremost PiDGiN is about food and dining experience; we have worked tirelessly to create something that all Vancouverites can be proud to call their own. Our focus on food, bar, service and design will contribute to an already thriving reputation as an international destination for great hospitality and culinary exploits. That said, we are intimately aware of where we call home and all the responsibility that comes with. PiDGiN is by definition a bridging of language and culture and our location is not haphazard; we are opening in the most diverse and interesting part of the city and that’s why we are here.
Over the course of the last 7 months of building PiDGiN we have supported and created a dialogue to integrate ourselves within the community. It has been our mandate since inception to introduce programs that will contribute and support the great efforts made within the DTES. We are implementing donation programs which all proceeds will go to charities that will be crowd-source picked by our patrons and residents of the DTES as well as creating food programs for residents of the DTES. During the build process we worked with groups in the neighbourhood, including The Window and Beauty Night, we also gave work to those that asked on the construction site as well as outside. Upon opening we have employed 2 DTES residents, local recycling, window washing, Blue Shell for linens and interior cleaning and will continue to hire within the neighbourhood wherever we can.
When choosing this location we knew that there would be a stark contrast between what is outside and inside. Rather than this being viewed as a negative we believe it starts a conversation, one that is overdue. Our patrons come from the DTES and all over the city, some of which have never taken a step in Pigeon Park. This venue is on the divide between the east and west of the city and can serve as an opportunity to bring a more integrated community, where we can better understand each other’s viewpoints and struggles.
Despite the fact that the protestors have chosen to confront this business, we all agree, there absolutely needs to be more dignified housing and services for low income residents of the DTES, our inability to help those most in need in our society is a horrid reflection of the lack of progress by all levels of government. Rather than us being divided in our fight to help those in need, we welcome a dialogue with them and other community leaders to focus our collective strength on the real problems facing the DTES, not on a small business trying to be socially responsible.
Take it as you will. My view on the restaurant – which remains unchanged – is here.
by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. From our calendar to yours… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | I think the restaurant that I’m most excited about on our Anticipated Openings list is PiDGiN. It’s the upcoming Gastown effort from past Canadian Culinary Champion Makoto Ono. You might remember us breaking the news of its coming last summer:
Ono was the first to win gold at the Canadian Culinary Championships back in 2007. He’s been on the ascendancy ever since, opening the eponymous “Makoto” in Beijing and the celebrated “Liberty Private Works” in Hong Kong. He returned from China [in 2011] to guest chef at his father’s famed restaurant, Edohei, in Winnipeg. The revered sushi establishment closed in late February (Sadao retired), which freed Makato up for this project. There was some speculation that Makoto would head to Toronto, but lucky for us, he decided to return to Vancouver instead, where he went to culinary school and where his girlfriend works as a pastry chef.
I suspect that Pidgin, as the new restaurant is called, will be something of a summation of Ono’s career to date. The concept will see a hybrid of Japanese and French cuisine with a thread of Korean weaving throughout. The name alludes to the expression of that combination, and to Pigeon Park, which is right across the street.
The menu will offer share plates, from small to very large, priced from $10 to $25 per. The wine and cocktail program will be buttressed by a healthy supply of sake, baekseju and even soju, all designed to wrap neatly around the food conept. They keenly aware that Gastown is very much a cocktail-forward neighbourhood, and I suspect they’ll be putting a little skin in the game.
The project has been evolving since March, and plans for the redeveloped addresses of 350 Carrall (combining for some 1808 sqft) have already been submitted to the City. What they envision is a stylish 66 seater with a 10 seat bar. They’re also considering doing a chef’s table (which I wholeheartedly encourage them to do).
Ono is an incredibly gifted chef. He could have gone to Montreal or Toronto or decided to stay in China or Winnipeg, so it’s our good fortune that he picked a spot off Hastings instead. I say “good fortune” because I trust PiDGiN to be an above average dining experience. It won’t be traditional fine dining, but I do expect it to be one of the better restaurants in the city when it launches.
My hope is that it will be like a Japanese/Korean Bao Bei of sorts, the kind of place where cuisines are interpreted idiosyncratically but with respect by an experienced and imaginative chef whose confidence and competence sing loud and clear across on the plate. I definitely see that in every one of Ono’s plates presented in the photo gallery below (all the food shots are by TT Lui). This hope is also buoyed by Ono’s choice of designer: Craig Stanghetta, the same fellow (interview) responsible for the looks at Meat & Bread, Revolver, Clough Club, and Pizzeria Farina (he also had a hand in the stunning aesthetics at Bao Bei, so it’s not like I’m pulling my hope out of my ear…).
Beyond sharing a thought or two, the point of this post was fourfold: to let readers know that PiDGiN is on track to open in early February, to reveal some shots of the construction progress (hats off to the Tetherstone crew), to give some indication of Ono’s game by teasing some of the plates he has planned for opening day (without knowing what they are), and to make all of those individuals who are interested aware that opportunity knocks. To wit:
PiDGiN is looking for a Bartender and Lead Host/Hostess to join our opening team. The ideal Bartender will have an intimate knowledge of all classics and be ready to join a top notch team behind the wood. The ideal Host/Hostess will have previous restaurant experience and knowledge of OpenTable. Both candidates will have a passion for food and beverage, be self-motivated with a pro-active attitude, and share our commitment to offer our guests exceptional service. Please reply with your resume and availability details to resumes [at] pidginyvr.com.
Seeing how Gastown is ground zero in Western Canada’s cocktail culture, the bartending opportunities here are pretty huge. Though I’m keen to work my way through Ono’s menu (so I can at least discover what I’m looking at in Lui’s photos), I’m also looking forward to seeing who ends up on the wood. Less than a month to go…
Andrew Morrison lives and works in Vancouver as editor-in-chief of Scout and National Referee & Judge at the Gold Medal Plates and Canadian Culinary Championships. He also contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and television shows on local food, culture and travel; collects inexpensive things; and enjoys rare birds, skateboards, cocktails, shoes, good pastas, many songs, and the smell of camp fires.