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Tim Pawsey

Terrific Tapas at Como Taperia

By TIM PAWSEY

Nov. 2019

(Clockwise from L): Tinned razor clams, Spanish tomato toast and fried, spicy eggplant at Como Taperia (Photo by KK Law)

A few minutes’ cab ride from downtown leads to some of the city’s top Spanish tastes. The buzz right now is for Como Taperia, an upbeat Main Street nod to Barcelona and Madrid, which is leading the charge in authenticity. Go for the abundance of specialty charcuterie and cheeses, charred octopus with white beans, morcilla (blood sausage) and squid ink hamburguesa, Iberico chorizo, or clams with tomato and saffron. The list of sherries is equally impressive, as are the cocktails, cavas (sparkling wines) and Spanish vermouths on tap. Other worthy Iberian haunts include heritage-housed Bodega on Main, Gastown’s well-named The Sardine Can, English Bay stalwart España, and contemporary Cabrito on Commercial Drive.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Beyond Pub Fare at Mahony

By TIM PAWSEY

Nov. 2019

The revamped menu at Mahony blends traditional Irish vibes with international flavours (Photo by KK Law)

Waterside Mahony teamed up with Vikram Vij, of Top Chef Canada and Dragons’ Den fame, to refresh their menus. The local celebrity chef’s newly introduced dishes were inspired by South Asian street food, lending a more cosmopolitan air to the classic pubs. Try the bunny chow–style lentil soup served in a bread bowl, four types of pizza on handmade naan bread, or the gluten-free paneer pakora made from chickpea flour and served with mint-and-onion chutney. Also on offer: potato leek soup, an Ocean Wise steelhead salmon burger, fish ’n’ chips and plenty more from a wide-ranging selection. The welcome is warm and the mood always lively. And Mahony still very much celebrates its Irish roots, with well-poured pints of Guinness.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

West Coast Cuisine at West Restaurant

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At West, Bobby Milheron serves seasonal delights such as (clockwise from L) roasted ling cod, smoked carrots and braised kale; and beetroot salad (Photo by Leila Kwok)

For the ultimate in West Coast cuisine, head to South Granville’s West Restaurant. Executive chef Bobby Milheron presents farm-to-table ingredients with precisely honed flair and creativity, all in an elegant and modern wood-trimmed setting. Dishes evolve with the seasons, but hallmarks include Yarrow Meadows duck breast with kohlrabi, apricots and almonds; soy-sake-glazed Haida Gwaii sablefish; and Maple Hill chicken with grilled leeks, porcini puree and roasted maitake mushrooms. Service is seamless and wine pairings impeccable. The irresistible desserts include a Guanaja chocolate soufflé with poured vanilla crème anglaise. Not to be missed: the current prix fixe menu and the all-encompassing chef’s tasting menu.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Pampered Pubbing at Ballyhoo Public House

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

Enjoy local craft beers, cocktails, high tea sandwiches and more at Ballyhoo Public House (Photo by KK Law)

Handy to cinemas and nightlife, downtown’s newly launched Ballyhoo Public House is a welcoming spot to enjoy local craft beers and smartly conceived cocktails. Drop by for high tea of devilled egg or avocado cream cheese sandwiches. Then hang at the bar with a refreshing Aperol Spritz or Bally gin and tonic. Traditional pub grub takes a back seat on this more contemporary menu, with the likes of crispy cauliflower, shishito peppers, an arugula and roasted chicken salad bowl, and a quartet of creative pizzas.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

East Meets West at Blossom Dim Sum & Grill

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At Blossom, every dim sum dish is made fresh daily, with zero MSG (Photo by KK Law)

An airy upstairs destination at Bute and Robson, Blossom Dim Sum & Grill takes fusion to the next level. Truly a merging of culinary cultures, the menu blends Asian inspiration with the freshest of West Coast ingredients. Tantalizing tastes include albacore tuna tataki with local black garlic and ponzu dressing; sweet ’n’ sour Sakura pork; bison rib eye; and seared sablefish with rice cake, baby bok choy and mushroom ponzu. A must for visitors, dim sum yields pork belly buns, tofu prawn tarts, mushroom dumplings with black truffle aioli, and more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Granville Island Bites: Popina Canteen

By TIM PAWSEY

Sep. 2019

Chow down on the East Coast lobster roll (top) or dig into fish ‘n’ chips (bottom) at Popina (Photo by KK Law)

Four top chefs are behind view-kissed Popina Canteen, an outdoor eatery on the wharf beside the Granville Island Public Market. Stalwarts Angus An, Hamid Salimian, Joël Watanabe and Robert Belcham blend their distinctive styles in a collaboration that features everything from East Coast lobster rolls and grass-fed-beef cheeseburgers to steamed Dungeness crab and a cornucopian seafood tray. Go early to try their popular puffcreams: soft-serve ice cream in a freshly baked creampuff. (We recommend Turkish Delight.) Or drop by for an “adult” pink lemonade or a Bourbon Smash. Most scenic way to get there? Hop aboard False Creek Ferries from the Aquatic Centre, Science World or the east foot of Davie Street.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

A Taste of Greece at Hydra Estiatorio

By TIM PAWSEY
Aug. 2019

Forno flatbread, grilled octopus and tomato salad, at Hydra (Photo: KK Law)

Wander into the luxurious EXchange Hotel to discover newly unveiled Hydra Estiatorio, under a soaring atrium with sunny decor that transports you to the Greek islands. Check in at the long bar for mezzes and creative cocktails. Or linger over specialties that include forno-roasted leg of lamb, pan-roasted salmon and catch of the day either grilled or baked. Globally sourced vintages include a rare and respectable nod to the home country, including Moschofilero, Assyrtiko and Xinomavro. The cafe downstairs serves light bites and espressos until mid-afternoon, when the wine bar takes over for botanical cocktails, canapés and vino by the glass.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Alto Alfresco: Perfect Outdoor Dining

By TIM PAWSEY
Jul. 2019

Lift’s picture-perfect patio (Photo: KK Law)

Looking for that perfect table outdoors? Some of the best are out of sight, even upstairs. On the Coal Harbour seawall, Lift Bar-Grill-View  dazzles with panoramic views and all creature comforts. Drop by for lunch of fish ‘n‘ chips or red crab salad sandwich. Linger over dinner of prawns tempura, smoked duck breast or ahi tuna with deep-fried avocado and apple chutney. Well-matched wines play a strong BC suit. Find more uplifting tastes at Joe Fortes , Black + Blue and the Earls on Robson Street. Or, for the ultimate in “elevated” dining, head to Altitudes Bistro atop Grouse Mountain.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Vancouver’s Plant-Based Eateries

By TIM PAWSEY
Jul. 2019

(Clockwise from L) Medi Benny with enoki mushrooms, savoury Mezze Tasting plates and the Silk Road, at Aleph Eatery (Photo: KK Law)

Home of the 100-mile diet, Vancouver has always been a culinary trendsetter. No surprise that plant-based fare is on a roll. East Side Aleph Eatery’s  Middle Eastern inspirations sport the freshest of regional ingredients, perked up with traditional spices. Standouts include the Silk Road, an appetizer plate of hummus, baba ganouj, labneh, zaatar and honey; crispy potatoes with tahini, roasted peppers and thyme; turmeric cauliflower; cashew coconut curry; and plenty more. The room is airy, relaxed—and truly welcoming. For more formal West Coast fare, head to Main Street’s acclaimed The Acorn. Longest-running vegetarian haunt? Legendary The Naam —since flower-powered 1968.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Superb Sips: A Taste of BC’s Thriving Wine Scene

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

Photo ©Klarka0608/shutterstock.com

Fancy a glass of BC pinot gris, pinot noir or bacchus? No problem! But it wasn’t always that way.

The local wine scene is blossoming, in part thanks to a changing climate, but also due to significant advances in viticulture. As well, winemaking expertise from regions around the world has contributed much to BC’s relatively new wine scene. Just 45 minutes from downtown, the Fraser Valley is home to some 15 grape wineries (as well as fruit wineries, cideries and meaderies). They include Chaberton Estate (the valley’s first winery, established in 1991), Township 7, Backyard Vineyards and Vista d’Oro, all in Langley, as well as Abbottsford’s Singletree Winery. Chaberton is also home to a delightful French bistro and ideal lunch stop, adjacent to the vineyard and rolling hills. (more…)

Gastown Con Gusto: Italian Fare at Di Beppe

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

Margherita pizza with mozzarella di bufala, and spaghetti amatriciana with guanciale, tomato and pecorino, at Di Beppe (Photo by KK Law)

Just a block from Gassy Jack’s statue, Di Beppe celebrates all things Italian. The lively corner cafe, with its bentwood chairs and intricately tiled floor, is busy all day. Locals drop by for good coffee and a bite of delicious sfogliatelle, or perhaps a bowl of gelato. Come evenings, the buzz spreads to the slightly-more-formal adjacent dining room, with its wide selection of classics: bruschetta with artichoke tapenade and pecorino, plates of steaming carbonara or amatriciana, and tempting pizzas. Flavours are rustic and robust, cocktails authentic (including an easy-sipping Aperol Spritz) and the service genuinely friendly. Inside scoop? Ask about their occasional family-style polenta nights.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Hoppy Hangouts: Vancouver’s Craft Beer Scene

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

Granville Island Brewing photo by KK Law

Thanks to the craft-beer revolution, a bevy of casual tasting rooms has emerged as neighbourhood anchors. Brewery Creek, near Main and Broadway, was the site of the city’s early industry. Close by, a cluster of modern-day haunts offers plenty of options. (more…)