HAWKSWORTH EASED INTO ITS SECOND DECADE LAST YEAR with its kitchen helmed by a new chef de cuisine, Sylvain Assié. And while many talented predecessors have occupied that post, none since Kristian Eligh seems to have enjoyed such a productive and culinarily symbiotic relationship with chef David Hawksworth. The evidence on the plate presents in two ways. First, you can see that French-born and -trained Assié (whose last stop was a long run at Café Boulud in Toronto) has quickly come to embrace Vancouver’s ease with Asian culinary influences; second, that Hawksworth is enjoying the rekindling of his formative relationship with classical approaches and sauces. So, on the one hand, a Dungeness crab risotto gets brightened with a lemongrass foam, while on the other, lobster thermidor might pop up as an evening special, and a roast loin of lamb with sunchoke gnocchi acquires an exquisite, if locally obscure, bois boudran sauce. Maria Gonzalez has taken over the pastry kitchen and is modernizing classics with a deft touch (say, apple-infused crème caramel with macadamia-brittle- and-rum ice cream). It’s a fine time to stop in at this exceptionally elegant, Studio Munge–designed restaurant for a sophisticated lunch or a leisurely dinner or even a chic cocktail-hour tête-à-tête in the lounge — perhaps, on the leather sofa beneath the dazzling Damien Hirst. Service is discreet and very polished. The cellar is vast and rich with value offerings from smaller, family-run wineries, whether local or old-world. The list has an inordinate number of exceptional vintages by the glass.
Elegant and exceptional – you can always expect a fantastic meal out”
Photography by: Clinton Hussey