Modern Canadian fare inspired by British Columbia’s natural landscape is coming to Vancouver’s Downtown core as ‘Archer‘ officially opens on Wednesday, September 28th.
Located at 1152 Alberni Street with an A&W on one side and a now closed and papered up Tim Horton’s on the other, Archer looks quietly confident, if slightly awkward, on the block.
I took a tour through the space a few days ago, and as the photos above and below attest, Archer looked about 95% finished. The rich coastal colour palette and grounding wood and stone accents made the 70-seat, 2,400 sqft room feel both elegant and comfortable. If not for the pre-service buzz from the open format kitchen perched above the bar, I’d almost call the room serene. Overall, it feels remarkably faithful to the vision for the restaurant as described by designer Mark Burkart (Little Giant Studio) in their pre-construction press release, earlier this spring:
“As the food is an expression of the Pacific Northwest, so too, the space seeks to be an embodiment of the landscape. The goal is to both capture the quiet of the forest and the raw power of the ocean. The space is designed to be soft, bright and textural – fit for a long and raucous brunch as well as for a beautifully moody and dramatic evening meal.”
If they are as accurate in realizing their original vision for food as they have been with aesthetics, diners can expect a menu that “celebrates the coasts and waters of the Pacific Northwest, highlighting the bounty of the region’s talented farmers, fisherfolk, and producers, as well as the diverse cultures and flavours of Canada.” From what I have seen (and tasted) so far, the concept is on track.
Archer’s menu – a collaborative effort between Chef Clement Chan (Torafuku, Chambar, Fairmont Pacific Rim) and Chef de Cuisine Sandy Chen (Torafuku, Le Tigre) – is all about creating an “elevated outdoors-y experience”, with dishes that showcase ingredients from the forests, waters and coastlines of Pacific Northwest. Think Fanny Bay oysters; Binchotan Octopus; Salmon Crudo; Crab Gnocchi; Forest Foraged Mushrooms – all painstakingly plated to visually connect the diner to the elements of nature central to the restaurant’s identity (it doesn’t hurt that they will look nice on Instagram too).
A dinner menu with plates this intricate and pretty would be a hard act to follow for many, but Executive Pastry Chef Kiko Nakata (Miku, Thomas Haas) is on her game. Her inventive and skillfully made desserts – such as Westberry Farms Pavlova’Hive’ (with lime, Tahitian vanilla creme, and yuzu curd) or ‘Flaming Cheesecake’ (chocolate dome, white sesame crust, miso caramel cheesecake, blood orange gel, and flaming Grand Mariner shot) – deliver.
Archer’s bar program also aligns with the “celebration of the Pacific Northwest” vibe by offering a selection of local wines available by glass and bottle, as well as Strange Fellows and 33 Acres beers, Orchard Hill Red Roof cider, and an imaginative line-up of cocktails (I recommend the St. Germaine and The Seawall, both pictured below).
Archer plans to “officially” open doors on Wednesday, September 28th, but will be in ‘soft open’ mode starting this Friday, September 23rd. Hours will be Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 5:30—11pm; Friday & Saturday, 5:30pm-12am.
Owners | Karen Ho and Iain Bell / Hobell Group
Executive Chef | Clement Chan
Chef de Cuisine | Sandy Chen
Executive Pastry Chef | Kiko Nakata
Branding | Glasfurd & Walker
Design | Little Giant Studio
Take a sneak peek at what to expect via the photo gallery below…
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