Scout recently got the chance to step behind the papered-up windows of 1079 Mainland Street (previously Glowbal, WildTale) to check out the beginnings of a new vegetarian restaurant taking shape under the enthusiastic direction of Chanthy Yen.
Inside was a full-on construction zone, but the bones of what promises to be an innovative eatery were discernible amidst the ladders, power tools and dust. Sean Sherwood (Valkyrie Design Group) was on site to detail the fundamentals of the design vision: elegance and simplicity, and lots of plants.
The name for such a vibrant and bright concept? Ironically, Nightshade. As described by the Nightshade team: “Oftentimes miscast and misunderstood as a toxic plant, nightshade actually refers to a family of plants, including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers. Some nightshades can be dangerous, some can be exciting, and some are simply delicious. Nightshade restaurant will aspire to challenge the diner the same way, with a balance between culinary comfort and challenge.”
Although Head Chef Chanthy Yen is no stranger to Vancouver (Yen has logged hours at The Mackenzie Room, Secret Location, and Yew at The Four Seasons under Ned Bell), he has been cooking in Montreal (Fieldstone, Parliament, and his own popular pandemic pop-up restaurant “Touk”) for some time, so this return to Vancouver is a homecoming of sorts.
Yen is earnestly excited about supporting local farmers, and thrilled to be putting together a menu that reflects his Cambodian heritage – of which he is fiercely proud of – while also drawing inspiration from myriad other South-Asian culinary cultures (think India, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea). Chef Chanthy’s vision is not to imitate proteins (meats) but to focus more on the spirit of the ingredients on the plate. When all is said and done, the entirely vegetarian menu is anticipated to include 22-24 items.
Nightshade’s main dining room, which is split into two levels, will boast a total of 85 seats. On the lower floor, expect tables and chairs, including a chef’s table and 12 bar seats that positions diners at eye level with the kitchen garde-manger, which extends far into the floor. On the upper level, there will be banquette tables and booths, upholstered with earthy tweeds and linens. There will also be a 24-seat year-round patio.
At the rear of the restaurant, opening up onto Hamilton Street, is a third and more intimate room, with a capacity of just 35 people. During the day, this space will be available for meetings or private events. Whereas at night, the lighting dims, and guests can expect a fun wine-list and a cocktail program that also echos the kitchen’s drive to push the limits.
At 3960 sqft, Nightshade will boast somewhere in the neighbourhood of 150 seats on the floor, which would, to Nightshade’s knowledge, make them the largest vegetarian restaurant in town and certainly a welcome addition to their Yaletown locale. Opening date is anticipated for early December. Follow Nightshade’s IG feed for updates here.
Take a peek at the work-in-progress below…