Since bursting into bloom three years ago, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s pretty-in-pink flagship restaurant has become best known for its worldclass bar, which keeps racking up major international awards (see Canada’s Best Bars 2020). But Executive Chef Hector Laguna’s magical cooking is just as deserving of the limelight. We love how the daintiness of his plating, with its frothy chicken-fat foams and dustings of mushroom soil, is juxtaposed against bold herb infusions and spicy vinaigrettes. Meats like lamb saddle and dry-aged duck breast are always perfectly roasted. Glazed pork belly is irresistible—especially when served on a savoury waffle and dusted with cured egg yolk, as it is on the brunch menu. Complex mole sauces (green with butter-poached lobster, red with pan-seared beef tongue) do not always jibe with the kitchen’s natural-bounty-of-British-Columbia theme, but we are pleased to see this supremely talented Mexican-born chef asserting himself.
Photos: BOTANIST / FAIRMONT PACIFIC RIM, INTERIOR / EMA PETER