160 East Pender Street, Vancouver
Advice: Reservations suggested.
With a nod to the history of its 1930’s predecessor, Sai Woo Chop Suey, occupied the same footprint, and the contemporary version is poised to become a hub of the reinvigorated neighbourhood. The restaurant is stunning in its interior design, boasting two levels: the 113-seat upper floor is home to a dining area, bar and Chef’s Table; the 75-seat lower floor features its own bar and smaller menu, inviting guests to linger long into the evening. Owned by restaurateur Salli Pateman she has created a foundation with a stellar team. The menu mixes influences from Executive Chef Douglas Chang upbringing of his Canadian, Chinese and Jamaican roots.
Bar Manager Justin Anello has created an inventive cocktail list, I enjoyed the Kom Collins ($12) with Bombay Saphire east, O5 Tea Kombucha, cucumber, lemon and mint. Sitting at the bar I then indulged trying several dishes including the unique and delicious Cola Wings ($14) marinated overnight in coca cola served on a bed of shredded lettuce. Next was the Beef Carpaccio Salad ($14), Mustard Greens, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Cress and Fried Shallots. Loved the Salt Cod Fritters ($9) with Meyer lemon cream, with great flavours.
Next was the outstanding Black Cod ($25) Baked Sablefish, Lotus Root, Bamboo Shoots, Radish, Burdock in a delicious Kombu Broth; followed by the outstanding Fried Rice ($12) with pearl rice, egg and preserved vegetables.
For dessert I had both of their offerings, the unique and sensational, Sweet Tofu ($8) almond tofu, ginger syrup, toasted almond shiso; along with the Steamed Molasses Rum Cake ($10) served with butter and preserves, baked to order in 20 minutes, an outstanding dessert. Dinner came to an end with another one of Justin’s cocktails, his signature which is a show unto itself, The Smoking Gun!
With an equally matched chef and bar manager at the helm, look for exciting cocktails and dishes as you dine their often.
Review by: Richard Wolak