The team behind South Granville’s wine-forward Stable House Bistro, and Italian neighbourhood restaurants Fiore and Fiore Famiglia add some French inspiration to their portfolio with the recently opened “Brasserie Coquette“.
Coquette (French for ‘flirtatious’) took over the 1700 sqft space at 2685 Arbutus (previously occupied by Gramercy Grill) back in March. After a short but delightfully effective cosmetic upgrade courtesy of Meme Brooks Design, the 55-seat restaurant (with a 15-seat bar and a permit for a 24-seat patio in the works) opened softly over the weekend. Yesterday, ahead of service, we dipped over to the west side to tour the space with co-owner Peter McGee…
When asked what it was about this address that caught his attention and motivated him to open another restaurant at a time when many would be wary, McGee explained: “The location is great, and the windows and patio are pretty rare for a Vancouver restaurant, so that was a big part of the attraction. It was always one of those places I’d walked by (going between The Stable House and Fiore Famiglia) and wondered, “What if…” So when the Gramercy left, we moved pretty quick.
“Our focus has always been neighbourhood spots, so I suppose the most important thing is that it feels welcoming. That said, we also wanted to bring something fresh to the west side, and took inspiration from our favourite places in Paris mixed in with a bit of the modern and industrial look found in places like La Mercerie in New York and Cafe Birdie in LA.”
Walking through the space, the style references are visible. There is a simple but classically French colour palette of blue, tobacco brown, black and crisp white, and unique design details – like vintage gold light fixtures and a wood-framed antique mirror – provide added warmth. Tile work – in the entry and on a raised platform featuring two sultry looking velvet-clad booths – adds texture. Full length windows let in ample light. It’s a pretty room. So much so, that I’m already planning to return as a diner, based on looks alone.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to dine at Coquette yet, both the “French-inspired West Coast focused” menu and the wine list (a group effort under the guidance of Sommelier Matthew Landry, who won BC Sommelier of the Year in 2019) read deliciously. I already have my first visit gamed out:
I’m going to arrive early so that I can catch the tail end of happy hour (3-5pm) and order the gougères (choux pastry with gruyère) and crudités to go with my $9 glass of 2020 Esprit du Rhône Réserve. As for dinner, I’ll be ordering the steelhead served with root vegetables, béarnaise and basil. By my estimation, that should leave me just enough room for whatever Chef Stewart Ehrecke has planned for the crêpes I spied him prepping during my tour. See below for photos (including the menu) to help you design your own visit to Coquette. Hours are Wednesday – Thursday from 11am – 10pm; Friday – Saturday from 11am – 12am; Monday from 3pm – 10pm, and Sunday from 11am – 10pm. Details here.
Congratulations to the opening team: Managing Partner Pete McGee, Chef Stewart Ehrecke; Sommelier Matt Landry; GM Guilaume (Gui) Barret; Assistant Manager and wine aficionado Kelsey Milne and bartender/accordion player Freeman Iceton.