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Tim Pawsey

Chinatown Redux: Classic Dishes, Reinvented

Jan. 2018

Vintage art, button lights and preserved trees add to the ambience at Sai Woo. (Photo by KK Law)

Savour new twists on old flavours in one of the city’s original neighbourhoods. Housed in an artfully re-envisioned 1920s chop suey house, Sai Woo (pictured) blends classic ingredients with contemporary flair. Go for Chinese “paella,” Korean scallion pancakes with barbecued pork, and sous vide Szechuan black-pepper beef. Or book a dumpling masterclass and historic Chinatown walking tour. At Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, owner Tannis Ling salutes the street food of Saigon and Taipei with edgy small plates, family recipes and savvy cocktails. Nearby, at The Union’s friendly communal tables, you can meet locals while savouring inventive pan-Asian tastes.

To read more from Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com 

Dine Out 2018: Canada’s Biggest Food and Wine Celebration


Photo of Yew Seafood + Bar by KK Law

Jan. 19 to Feb. 4, 2018 Vancouverites love their food. Witness the extravaganza that is Dine Out. The 17-day-long festival, which started as a make-work project to fill seats in the post-holiday season, has blossomed into Canada’s biggest food and wine celebration. If you’re looking for dining deals, there’s no better time to be here, with over 200 restaurants offering set menus for $20, $30 and $40. Beyond dining deals, the festival now includes an extraordinary repertoire of 35 unique events to appeal to every taste and interest. From craft beer tours and specialty-tea gastronomy tastings to market tours and street food celebrations, the festival leaves no stone unturned. To check on event availability, click here.

Zest Japanese Cuisine Reopens as Yuwa

Dec. 2017

Clockwise from top: ohitashi bok choy, tuna with nori sauce, spicy salmon tartare, kusshi oyster and soy-roasted duck. (Photo: KK Law)

Long-time West Side destination Zest now sports a new moniker: Yuwa Japanese Cuisine, a fitting showcase for the Tokyo-honed talents of chef Masahiro Omori. The chef embraces local ingredients such as yuzu-citrus-marinated BC sablefish, or ling cod pâté and prawn wrapped in nori and tofu skin then deep-fried. Veal cheek is simmered in hatcho-miso stock, while peppered Berkshire pork is served with spinach gomae, yuzu-pepper paste and Pommery mustard. To go along, well-chosen wines and the city’s best selection of artisan sake.

For more from Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Ways to Celebrate the Season

Dec. 2017

Wild side stripe shrimp salad at Boulevard is delicious, whether deconstructed or fully assembled. (Photo: KK Law)

In a city that sparkles all over, here’s where to mark the season in style. (more…)

Fireside Dining in Downtown Vancouver

Nov. 2017

Quinoa salad with albacore tuna, green beans and a soft-boiled egg, at Yew Seafood + Bar. (Photo by KK Law)

Warm the cockles of your heart at these hearthside havens that provide welcome winter respite. Yew Seafood + Bar in the Four Seasons embraces local and cross-Canada ingredients prepared with classic French flair. Against a flickering backdrop, enjoy rack of lamb, lobster bisque with crispy leeks, or sablefish with crab-and-ricotta ravioli. Sip cocktails in front of the fireplace at cozy Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge in the intimate and opulent Wedgewood Hotel. Or hunker down over a local pint and a bowl of chowder, close to the hearths at Cardero’s Restaurant, right on the Coal Harbour seawall.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Hidden Gems: Moose’s Down Under

Nov. 2017

At Moose’s owner Corina Aquino serves dishes such as the Aussie burger, topped with beets, pineapple and a fried egg. (Photo by KK Law)

Some of the best bites—and people—are tucked away in unlikely spots. A welcoming Aussie bar and grill, the suitably subterranean Moose’s Down Under attracts expats and locals alike. Drop by for a true taste of Oz: meat pies, chicken parmas, Vegemite-and-cheese “sangers” (sandwiches), schnitzels, and wicked burgers with all the trimmings, including a tender kangaroo burger. And maybe catch some exciting Aussie rules footy while you’re at it.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Spicy Bites: Malaysian Cuisine at Banana Leaf

Nov. 2017

Nasi goreng campur (L), Singapore laksa (M) and eggplant fries (R) at Banana Leaf. (Photo by KK Law)

Always appealing, Banana Leaf celebrates the Malaysian Straits, that unique culinary crossroads of Portuguese, Indonesian, Thai, Indian and Chinese influences. Roaming from lettuce wraps and Singapore chilli whole crab to sambal green beans and caramelized-ginger black cod, the fare is immensely varied at these welcoming, vibrant rooms. Don’t miss the well-priced seven- or eight-course tasting menus with optional BC wine pairings.

Four Fresh Seafood Spots in the City

Nov. 2017

At Hook Seabar, chef Kayla Dhaliwall creates specialties such as a spicy tuna roll (back) and tuna tartare (front). (Photo by KK Law)

Finny fare thrives throughout downtown.

Newly landed at English Bay, Hook Seabar blends multiple influences, from sushi to poke to steamers, in a smart modern setting.

Just off Robson, Fanny Bay Oyster Bar yields a bivalve bonanza, plus salmon burgers, a smoked oyster skillet and an oyster happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.

At Main Street’s The Fish Counter, every bite is certified Ocean Wise: tacos, po’ boys, bouillabaisse and the freshest of fish ’n’ chips.

In Yaletown, Rodney’s Oyster House revels in fresh oysters, steamers and stews with a laid-back, distinctly East Coast vibe.

Seasonal Sips: Pumpkin Ale

Oct. 2017

Bradley Moffatt with one of the fall offerings at Central City. (Photo by KK Law)

Well before Halloween, the city’s talented craft brewers turn their attention to pumpkin ales. And the results are anything but scary. Styles can range from dry and spicy to sweet and fruity. But the flavours, often with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove hints, are always authentic. For a truly seasonal sip, swing by Central City for Red Racer Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ale. Head to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House in the Stadium District for the Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale. At Steamworks in Gastown, sip some pumpkin ale and get a glimpse of the harbour. Or, to discover a range of styles, try a flight at St. Augustine’s in East Van, with over 60 beers and ciders from near and far on tap.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Renaissance of the Railway Stage & Beer Café


Rack up the good times at one of the oldest venues in town. (Photo by KK Law)

When the long-running Railway Club (dating from the 1930s) closed, a furor erupted over the loss of the downtown venue. After a year’s hiatus, the upstairs club was reincarnated as the Railway Stage & Beer Café. The remodelled-but-quirky space maintains its heritage feel, paying tribute to its forerunner with bric-a-brac recalling its long musical past. The new edition ups the suds ante with an impressive, mainly local 24 taps and—continuing the tradition of live acts—often blends beer with blues, boogie, jazz and joke nights. All-day fare includes freshly made soups, sandwiches and salads, such as a kale and romaine Caesar that can be topped with smoked turkey sausage, grilled avocado or blackened chicken.

Farm-to-Table Favourites in Kitsilano


At Fable Kitchen, Trevor Bird serves mouth-watering dishes such as cavatelli with chorizo. (Photo by KK Law)

Decades ago, the local organic movement took root on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano. Today, farm-to-table still rules. At Fable Kitchen, Top Chef Canada all-star Trevor Bird’s highlights include slow-cooked salmon with roasted zucchini, smoked duck breast with duck vinaigrette, and lemon-meringue parfait. At nearby Mission, fellow all-star Curtis Luk uses firmly local flavours in his creative chef’s tasting menu. One block west, organic trailblazer Bishop’s is still the destination for West Coast fine dining, while vegetarian pioneer The Naam turns 50 next year.

Sustainable Eats on Main Street


Chef Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co. keeps the focus on local and organic. (Photo: KK Law)

Burdock & Co. chef Andrea Carlson (who found her calling at Bishop’s) enjoys a well-earned rep for regional plates that appeal to both carnivorous and vegetarian tastes. For example, weekend brunch sports wide-ranging local ingredients such as pork-and-fennel-ragout fettuccini, or smoked salmon served on house-made sourdough and topped with poached eggs. Complementing the organic menu is the city’s best selection of BC and naturalist wines.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com