by Andrew Morrison | Scout broke the news that Ensemble Restaurant chef/owner Dale Mackay was opening a new restaurant back in September, but we’ve been sitting on the details of the new joint (name, location, etc) ever since by request. Here’s the skinny we had two months ago:
…the concept sounds like a BBQ and beer-heavy pub that will serve the kind of fare that you’d normally associate with the milieu (nachos, burgers, bangers, pot pies, etc) only elevated to a level where just about everything is made in house from scratch and by hand. It’ll be sports heavy, too, with some fifteen 45″ flat screen TVs. Helming the kitchen will be chef de cuisine Bradley Hendrickson (now at Ensemble), with former DB Bistro sous chefs Alex Amos (recently Mission Hill) and Greg Reid (recently Quail’s Gate) in support. There will be a 40 foot bar of reclaimed wood to tend, and another 80 seats in an expansive dining room (with mezzanine). Running the show will be current Ensemble barman Christopher Cho, with operations back-up from the lovely and talented Ali Maher, formerly the maitre’d at DB Bistro.
The new, short story: it’s called ensemble Tap; a 130 seater in the old Azia location by Earls Paramount (990 Smithe). They’re about to go public with all of that and more, so here’s a draft copy of their first release, which should be hitting the press tomorrow.
Top Chef Canada Winner Dale MacKay, best known for his precision execution and presentation of technical French cuisine, is opening a second restaurant in downtown Vancouver during the first week of December, 2011. As the name implies, ensemble Tap promises icy cold fresh beer on tap – no less than a dozen of the 40+ world titles on the menu. The lunch and dinner food menus are decidedly ‘un-fancy’, but predictably extraordinary and beyond comforting. “I’ve always dreamed of opening a world-class pub-style restaurant where I can go after work or on my day off to watch a game and order a sleeve of extraordinary beer and the best comfort food imaginable,” says Chef MacKay.
Chef MacKay is excited about spreading his culinary wings and showing a side of himself that his culinary career thus far has not encouraged, or in fact permitted. “My Chef de Cuisine at ensemble restaurant and bar, Brad Hendrickson and I have been talking about what constitutes the perfect pub-style restaurant for years,” says MacKay. “My heart and my person will always be at ensemble restaurant, but I’ve always wanted to use what I’ve learned over the years cooking with Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud, to create ‘ultimate’ timeworn tap-house favourites like chicken wings, meat pies, ribs, fish and chips, burgers and sandwiches. Big, comfortable food that guests can sink into with a fantastic beer or glass of wine. We hope to redefine comfort and pub-style food in much the same way the ensemble restaurant redefined fine dining.”
In assuming the role of Executive Chef of ensemble Tap, Hendrickson leaves the ensemble restaurant kitchen behind. He takes with him, an unflappable, uncompromising diligence that comes from working side by side with Chef MacKay and stepping in as head chef when MacKay was away competing in or doing appearances for Top Chef Canada. “My ideal for the food at Tap is to take classic pub-style fare and comfort food and be as diligent as we would be in a high-end restaurant kitchen. I love comfort food, especially sandwiches, and I believe there is a reason for the sentiment. I have cravings for comfort food and when I find a restaurant that does comfort well, I want everyone to know about it. I really look forward to ensemble Tap because it promises three of my favourite things – great food, great beer, and a modern-rustic atmosphere. That’s me in a nutshell,” says Hendrickson.
More after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Steve Jenning’s London Pub has opened on the southeast corner of Main and Georgia on Chinatown’s southern border with Strathcona. I popped in yesterday for a gander… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | A couple of days ago I made mention of a new pub under construction near my house on the southeast corner of Main and Georgia in Chinatown. There was some speculation as to who was behind the project in the comments so I went by for another recce yesterday evening and found it to be the work of the affable Steve Jennings. He’s a “life-long pub lover” who’s striking out on his own after many years working with Donnelly Hospitality Management (Republic, Library Square, etc).
His room, which should be open to the public by the end of October, will seat 160, including 14 at an L-shaped bar (which will serve nearly a dozen local craft beers on tap). It will being staying open until 3am on the weekends with a kitchen plating bangers and mash, pot pies, and so forth. Nothing fancy. Just pub grub. We had a good debate on the desirable number of television screens. Jennings was thinking 9, while myself and an English construction worker lobbied for as few as 3. Though I’m a devout Canucks fan who very seldom misses a game, this ain’t the Granville Strip. What my neighbourhood needs is a place of bent elbows and conversation, not a sports bar.
Indeed, what will be particularly interesting to see is the clientele. It’s my belief that the customer base Jennings is used to from his lengthy DHM experience will not be making the trip (it’s too rough). He’ll more than likely have to rely on the residents of Chinatown, Strathcona and Mt. Pleasant to deliver the ducats, and as far as my read of the landscape goes, they ain’t the 9 TV breed of peeps.
I guess we’ll see how it goes.
The Charles Bar, brand new to Gastown, is now a proud member supporter of Scout. We will be publishing their news and press releases on our front page and hosting a page for them in our list of recommended places 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… Read more
Here are a few photos of the nearly completed “London Pub” and neighbouring Brixton Caffe at 700 Main St (at Georgia in Chinatown). I’ve been passing this property every day for a couple of months now and it’s finally taking promising shape (we could use a fresh watering hole in my neck of the woods). As you can see from the unearthed mosaic, it was once upon a time the London Hotel. Lovely old bones. The brick archways are particularly nice. I reckon they’re about a month away. More after the jump… Read more
News from Scout supporter The Irish Heather:
Vancouver, BC | The Irish Heather is hosting two sittings for Mother’s Day for everyone who wants to treat their mothers. If your mom doesn’t live in Vancouver you are welcome to come for dinner anyway – there will definitely be a mother at the table who will adopt you for the evening!
In anticipation of some warmer weather we have added some lighter, summer dishes e.g. Flat Iron Steak, Baby Back Ribs, Poached Salmon, Baked Ham and a variety of cold sides to match. We have also dropped the price back to $12 on Mondays.
June 15th will be the 1st Anniversary of the Long Table Series. To celebrate we will be launching the LTS lunch & breakfast, as well as a couple of late night, weekend events. We’ll also be running a couple of super cheap nights…keep watching for details.
As always, we are delighted to accommodate any dietary requests, all we ask is 24 hours notice if possible. We have included a vegetarian dish that will be featured each week. For those who don’t want to drink alcohol, we are offering Boylan’s Vintage Soda Pop, courtesy of their Canadian agents and our pals, Dovre Imports.
LTS reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and are strongly recommended. You can visit the blog for photos, menus, dates and prices at www.ltsmenu.blogspot.com.
In addition to providing daily editorial, Scout is dedicated to supporting and promoting cool, interesting, and independent British Columbian businesses through the publication of their press releases and event info. To learn how to get your news up on our front page, check out our supporter details page here.
News from Scout supporter The Irish Heather:
Vancouver, BC | Here at the Irish Heather Gastropub, we are delighted to announce that starting this Sunday, April the 18th, we will be taking full advantage of our pub’s liquor license by opening until 2am for 7 nights a week. To tweak your interest, from Sunday to Wednesday, midnight to 2am, we will be serving FREE bar snacks from Chef Lee Humphries’ kitchen. Think house made potato chips with truffle mayo, spiced mixed nuts, devilled eggs, pickled onions and pork scratchings. Combine these with the best poured (and one of the cheapest) pints of Guinness in the city or a whisk(e)y from the city’s largest selection and you’ll have a relaxing finish to your evening. See you on Sunday! Read more
Hours Of Operation
Monday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Tuesday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Wednesday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Thursday – 11:00AM – 1:00AM
Friday – 11:00AM – 2:00AM
Saturday – 10:00AM – 2:00AM
Sunday – 10:00AM – 1:00AM
Who We Are
General Manager: Chris Hannan
Bar Manager: Mike Bailey
An icon and a landmark location in Vancouver, Woodward’s gave us nearly a century of authentic yet forward-thinking style. The concept was built around the welcoming of newcomers into a thriving new neighbourhood; a city on the rise where art and commerce would merge to create a social hub of unique personalities. A consummate business professional and politician, Mr. Woodward never tolerated improprieties, yet he remained approachable and as always ready to shake one’s hand. Attention to detail and creativity were some of his trademarks, becoming infamous for his “25 cent days” and his mail order catalogues. Today that entrepreneurial spirit continues in the burgeoning renaissance of Gastown, the beating heart and architectural soul of Vancouver. Enjoy craft brews, classic cocktails and contemporary casual fare in a truly original West coast atmosphere: industrial wood, iron and brick. This structural foundation inspired us to design a space where a new generation of vanguards could explore ideas and push the envelope. We like to think of this as the type of fine establishment that Mr. Woodward would frequent and truly get to be himself; a place where he could meet friends and business colleagues alike, and be comfortable being called by his first name. Welcome to The Charles Bar.