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.
The GOODS from Greenhorn Espresso Bar
Vancouver, BC | Greenhorn Cafe is currently looking for a chef/kitchen manager and an experienced cook to join our team. Greenhorn is a newly opened independent cafe in the West end gearing up for a busy spring/summer. Applicants for the kitchen manager position must be comfortable with menu planning, ordering, costing, inventory control, and all kitchen related managerial duties. Applicants for the cook position must have line experience, a good attitude, good knife skills, the ability to work in a clean and organized manner (open kitchen), and the poise that allows one to work independently and as part of a team. Send cover letters/resumes to email@example.com.For more information, read the reveal post on Scout.
The GOODS from Greenhorn Espresso Bar
Vancouver, BC | Greenhorn Espresso Bar is seeking a full-time cafe cook to start immediately. The successful applicant will have at least 2 years professional kitchen experience. Weekday shifts will be from 11am to 7pm and weekend shifts will be from 7am to 5pm. Greenhorn is a brand new and independently owned café that includes a small gallery and flex retail space nestled in a residential pocket of one of Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhoods. It is inviting and warm, offering great coffee, delicious food created by Rebecca Foster (formerly of Chambar), high quality fresh baked goods, and curated retail items. For more information, read the reveal post on Scout. Resumés can be sent to info [at] greenhorncafe.com with “Attn: Rebecca” in the subject line.
The GOODS from House Wine
Vancouver, BC | Back by popular demand! At house wine it’s not just about the grape; sometimes we cheat on wine. In honour of Robbie Burns Day, we are excited to toast the great poet on the night of January 22nd and share our passion for our favourite brown spirit. Explore the wonderful world of whiskey with healthy drams of various Single Malts, Blended Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye at the Stewart Stephenson Modern Art Gallery on Robson Street. And don’t worry, we’ll forego the haggis and serve cheese instead! Get all the details about the event and house wine after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Forage
Vancouver, BC | 2013 marks the first year of operation for Forage Restaurant. Chef Chris Whittaker is pretty happy with the numbers. From the amount of guests at the restaurant to the amount of community events Forage has been able to support, this business has proven itself sustainable. Of course, one important factor of Forage’s success is in its energy efficient production of deliciously local meals, and its dedicated gas and electric meters (installed as a key element of The Next Course project with BC Hydro and LiveSmartBC) provide a reliable reference to that measure. At the end of its first full year of operations, the restaurant is maintaining combined energy savings of 24% (30% gas, 18% electric) over its previous baseline. Or to look at it another way, the energy cost per meal served at Forage is only 45 cents, down from over 60 cents previously. Learn more about other strategic decisions and their benefits after the jump… Read more
Is there a better way to start the year than jumping into the icy cold waters of English Bay with hundreds of inappropriately dressed strangers? Probably, but it’s likely not as uproariously fun. This year, we saw the likes of Batman, Thor, a pair of gorgeous newlyweds, Wonder Woman, fundoshi-wearing Hapamen, scores of “It’s so cold and I’m still so hammered, bro” brrr-os, and even a naked dude with just a tiny elephant trunk covering his confused penis (but not his balls) goes for a refreshing, celebratory dip. Because hello 2014.
The GOODS from Greenhorn Espresso Bar
Vancouver, BC | Greenhorn Espresso Bar is seeking experienced full-time and part time baristas. Both positions are available immediately. Baristas with experience on Sinesso espresso machines will be given priority. Minimum one year experience. Wages commensurate with level of experience. All interested parties are invited to email their resumes to info [at] greenhorncafe.com. Read more
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.
Nook is an easy restaurant to love but a difficult one to find a seat at. Even though they’re consistently packed, there’s no pretension in the air and the staff know what they’re doing, both in the front and back of house. The pizzas are a close approximation of Neapolitan authenticity (using a gas-fired oven), and we’ve never had one that we wouldn’t want to order again. Bonus: tidy drinks list and a charming room designed by Scott Cohen and Stephan Gagnon (see also Les Faux Bourgeois).
781 Denman Street | Vancouver, BC | 604-568-4554 | www.nookrestaurant.ca
Though it takes a far more elevated approach to the dining experience than most Vancouver restaurants (let alone its pizzerias), Robson’s legendary CinCin nevertheless boasts a wood-fired oven and has been churning out great pies since shortly before the Industrial Revolution. Seriously, it earned a place in the top 3 before any of the others on this list were even born.
So grab a seat at the bar, order a glass of 2008 Andrea Oberto Barolo (yes, they sell it by the glass – along with 30 others) and pick a pizza littered either with Calabrian nduja and mozzarella or wild mushrooms and fennel salami. Feasting like this at CinCin is one of the little gifts that Vancouver gives its learned initiates. It might cost more than the others, but treat the extra expenditure as an Ambiance & Service Tax and order another glass.
1154 Robson St. | Vancouver, BC | 604-688-7338 | www.cincin.net
The GOODS from Ocean Wise
Vancouver, BC | After a delicious battle for chowder supremacy at the Vancouver Aquarium, defending champion chef Chris Whittaker of Forage Restaurant again earned the title of 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver at the sold-out, annual event.
Thirteen top Ocean Wise chefs from British Columbia joined the sustainable seafood movement at the ever-popular Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown by presenting their best, ocean-friendly seafood chowders, paired with beers, to an eager crowd of 600 people. A panel of celebrity judges sampled each mouth-watering chowder and crowned chef Chris Whittaker of Forage as 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver. After indulging their taste buds in all 13 Ocean Wise chowders, guests at the event chose chef Ned Bell of YEW Restaurant + Bar as the winner of the People’s Choice award.
Chef Whittaker impressed the judges’ panel for the second year in a row with his enticing recipe for Creamy B.C. Spot Prawn Chowder, featuring the classic flavours of bacon, white wine and thyme, and finished with smokey chicharon and poached egg.
Chef Bell’s choice of Ocean Wise humpback shrimp, pink peppercorn cream and BC Cranberry & Okanagan Apple Relish culminated in a mouth-watering chowder named The Big Red, which won the crowd’s allegiance with ease. Chef Paul Cecconi of Brodo Kitchen and Catering with CodFathers Seafood Market won the award for best pairing – Outlandish Mussel-Saffron Chowder paired with Red Racer ESB beer by Central City Brewers and Distillers.
“As the sold-out nature of this event demonstrates each year, the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is a fun and delicious way to celebrate sustainable seafood,” says Ann-Marie Copping, Ocean Wise manager at the Vancouver Aquarium. “Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. In fact, we’re already fishing the last 10 per cent of all large, predatory fish from our oceans. It’s heartening to bring together our sustainability-conscious chefs and suppliers to share their passion with consumers who deeply care about the health of our oceans. We are so grateful to our partners, participants and guests for their support.”
This year’s sixth annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Vancouver showcased 13 top Ocean Wise chefs who joined the sustainable seafood movement by competing head to head in this friendly competition. Their original, ocean-friendly seafood chowders were paired with beers that highlighted each chowder’s flavour profile. The diverse ingredients of the chowders ran the spectrum, from Ocean Wise Dungeness crab chowder with salmon bacon to Ocean Wise smoked oysters and chanterelle chowder. A list of participating chefs and their bios can be found here.
This year’s panel of distinguished judges included:
· Guy Dean – Vice president and chief sustainability officer, Albion Fisheries Ltd.
· Rob Clark – Co-owner of The Fish Counter and Ocean Wise chef partner
· Chester Carey – Serious Beer program instructor and certified cicerone
· Sid Cross – Food and wine aficionado
· Andrew Morrison – Founder of Scout Magazine
· Tim Pawsey – Food and wine journalist
· Jamie Maw – Food and wine journalist
During Ocean Wise month in November, consumers are invited to join the sustainable seafood movement by eating ocean-friendly seafood to keep our oceans healthy. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item for the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. Read more
The GOODS from Forage
Vancouver, BC | Santa’s elves have been hard at work all year preparing for the festive season at Forage; canning and jamming, pickling and preserving, all to share throughout the upcoming festive seasons. Forage is open for lunch in December – Wednesdays to Fridays beginning December 4th and concluding December 20th. Chef Whittaker offers a four-course menu for $28, with the added bonus of house made cranberry preserve for each guest to take home. There is one catch, you must bring friends, minimum reservation is for four people and reservations are absolutely required. Like Forage year-round, the feast is served family style. Check out www.foragevancouver.com or call 604-661-1400 for further information and to book your fun Forage feast. Learn more and take a look at the menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Hapa Izakaya
Vancouver, BC | In support of the efforts to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Hapa Izakaya has announced today that they are now donating $1 from every edamame dish sold within Hapa’s Vancouver locations, between Friday, November 15 and Monday, December 9 to the Canadian Red Cross.
“Our hearts are saddened by the tragic devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan”, says owner, Justin Ault. “The Hapa family stands with their staff, friends and guests who have loved ones affected by the typhoon and hope this small gesture will provide some comfort to those greatly in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Donations collected will support the Canadian Red Cross to provide urgently-needed basic services to affected communities. This includes carrying out search and rescue operations, distributing food, and mobilizing items like blankets, clothing, hygiene kits and sleeping mats.