The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!
Bambudda was a 55-seat nouveau dim sum restaurant located at 99 Powell Street in Gastown. It was launched by front-of-house lifer Ray Loy in 2013 and lasted almost four years.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Strathcona/Chinatown, Loy had worked his way up through the ranks at restaurants such as “C”, Joe Fortes, Bacchus at the Wedgewood and Market in the Shangri-La before striking out on his own with this project.
Bambudda was by most accounts a very attractive restaurant (designed by Vanessa Rienau), especially in the bar area with its stools lining up to the lip of the room’s convertible frontage (great in summer). The kitchen was a bit of a revolving door, with chefs Keev Mah (later Pidgin, Sai Woo), Scott Korzack (later Beach Bay Cafe, Crowbar) and Curtis Luk (later Mission) all taking turns on the line. The bar program also saw talented hands on the tiller like Tarquin Melnyk.
The 3,000 sqft restaurant was forced to close in early 2017, soon after the landlord informed Loy of the building’s need for extensive renovations that would require his exit (not to mention the actual erasure of the 99 Powell St. address itself). Sadly, Loy decided not to search for a new location to continue the promising concept.
The following images are from Bambudda’s opening day, just hours before the arrival of the restaurant’s very first guests.