Chef Bardia Ilbeiggi has taken possession of the old Burgoo space in Kitsilano (2272 West 4th Avenue) and is planning to open a new restaurant in its place this summer.
The talented Bardia, who many in and out of the trade will recognise from his three years working the open kitchen at South Granville’s Farmer’s Apprentice (or his four years before that at Gastown’s L’Abattoir), had been searching for a location for his first restaurant – which will be inspired by his Iranian heritage – since long before the pandemic began.
He’s calling it Delara, which he says translates from Farsi as “she who brings beauty to hearts.”
The address gives Bardia some 60 seats and 2,400 sqft to work with, including a solarium-like frontage. I did a walkthrough last week when it was still very much looking like Burgoo — think lots of naked wood and grey plaster. That will change soon when interior designer Carmen Cheung gets to work, taking the space – as Bardia says – “from dark to light.” If I recall correctly, Carmen was one of the Ste. Marie design leads (together with Kate Richards) responsible for the look of Commercial Drive’s charming Caffe La Tana, so it’s not entirely presumptive to expect something beautiful here, especially when you’ve seen this early rendering of the project…
Prolific local firm Glasfurd & Walker are working on Delara’s branding and identity (see also Savio Volpe, St. Lawrence, Como Taperia, etc.), so we can also fairly anticipate that the restaurant will benefit from a tightly wrought brand/design combination. I’m told they aren’t making any structural changes, so they should be able to meet their launch target of this summer with ease.
I’m excited for this one, not least because independent restaurants with original concepts from first-timers are what this city could always use more of and it’s been years since this block of West 4th Avenue has seen a mentionable arrival (Au Comptoir in 2014). I’m thrilled and intrigued by the prospect of “humble Persian food” as interpreted through the prism of someone who not only trained in France at the Ecole Gregoire-Ferrand, worked his way up through some of Vancouver’s best restaurants and has long established relationships with many of the best local suppliers of seasonal ingredients, but also someone who expresses sincere appreciation for their mother’s own recipes and cooking methods. (I had the pleasure of meeting her on location last week and have little doubt of her sway over her son, who she long ago forgave for giving up his aerospace engineering degree and job at IBM to start cooking). I can’t wait to see a menu!
Delara will be open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch service. I’ll have more on the project as it progresses, but in the meantime you can take a good look at what they’re starting with via the gallery below…