Around the World – Vancouver, Canada – Hawksworth Restaurant (July 2019)

Our lunch at Vancouver’s Hawksworth Restaurant during our summer holiday in British Columbia surely warranted a separate post!

As we knew that would be meeting up with Koen, Erica, and Madouc in Vancouver before they would kick off their road-trip of the entire Pacific West Coast, I already looked into places for a nice dinner. It proved rather tricky to make a fine-dining dinner reservation for 7 persons (as such and especially that would also appeal to 3 teenagers), so I was quite content to be able to book lunch at Hawksworth Restaurant (801 W Georgia St, www.hawksworthrestaurant.com) late July.

About the restaurant
Vancouverite chef David Hawksworth spent the 1990s in Europe working in Michelin-starred kitchens such as Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons (Raymond Blanc), L’Escargot (Marco Pierre White) and The Square (Philip Howard). Back in Canada, Hawksworth was considered one of the countries’ leading culinary talents and was inducted in the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2008.

His eponymous restaurant in the glamorous Rosewood Hotel Georgia opened in 2011 and has been lauded ever since. From the winner of the 2012 and 2013 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards fir Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year and subsequently winner of Best Upscale Restaurant for 5 years – of which 4 consecutive – to currently being placed #11 in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.

Hotel restaurants benefit from being open all day and being able to offer a more extensive array of dining experiences, but many of such restaurants are lackluster​ and fall short of the mark. However, this is definitely not the case here. Hawksworth (with Chef de Cuisine Antonio Sotomayor, Pastry Chef Wayne Kozinko, and Wine Director Bryant Mao) clearly does not compromise on striving to offer excellent contemporary and innovative Canadian cuisine, regardless the time of day and audience as the kids had a great time too. The cocktail bar is apparently also unique as it was mentioned several times online as a must-visit spot in Vancouver.​

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About the food
After browsing through the excellent wine book, we decided to stay local and toast on our respective holidays with a bottle of British Columbia sparkling wine: Blue Mountain Winery‘s Gold Label Brut from Okanagan Valley.

For food, the adults choose the 3-course prix fixe lunch (CAD 28) which had a vegetarian and protein option for the starter and main dish. We also selected the wine pairings (increasing the menu total to CAD 44). The kids had a go at the smaller version of Hawkworth’s signature burger (CAD 14) and Pasta Pomodoro (CAD 12) which portions proved to be sufficient for them. From the Zero proof drinks menu, our kids tried the Provence iced tea (Tahitian vanilla bean, Okanagan lavender, Hathikuli estate Assam cold brew) and the Yuzu iced tea (pomegranate, honey, yuzu, chilled earl grey) and there were no complaints there.

Ordering the bottle of bubbly apparently confused the – otherwise impeccable – waiters, as we didn’t get the ordered wine pairings with the quickly-served starters. No worries; the fruit-forward, yet dry Methode Traditionnelle-style sparkling wine paired very well with the food. The wine director noticed this, so we did switch to the intended wine pairings for the main courses, and both red and white (from British Columbia, of course) were excellent. We actually looked for them in liquor stores to try them again.

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Marinated Heirloom Tomato Miso Aioli, Cashew Cheese (V)
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Octopus Ceviche Guajillo Aioli, Radish, Black Rice Cracker
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Braised Lamb Cavatelli Pickled Vegetables and Stinging Nettle
2016 Meyer Family Vineyard. Chardonnay, H’s blend, Okanagan Valley, BC
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Charred Eggplant Panisse, Zucchini Aioli (V)
2016 Winemaker’s Cut Syrah, Okanagan Valley, BC
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Apricot Earl Grey, Almond, Honey

For dessert, the kids sampled the à la carte ice cream and sorbet menu (CAD 8 each), which that day contained several tea-infused ice creams and raspberry and other fruit sorbets.

Also,​ the Candy Cap mushroom ice cream (CAD 14) was tried and approved. A Candy Cap is a unique variety of mushroom with a maple-esque flavor.

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Candy Cap Ice Cream Toasted White Chocolate, Toffee, Walnut

The dishes were prepared spot on, and their complex flavors worked very well with the “best of summer” intensity of the ingredients. The pomegranate and buttermilk sauce served on the charred eggplant was an unlikely but memorable combination. The lingering heat in the braised lamb sauce was a pleasant touch to its already intense flavors.

Overall, amazing food and top service at very reasonable prices for what you get. Hawksworth Restaurant is therefore highly recommended if you happen to be in Vancouver!

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