No. 39: Botanist
Since bursting into bloom two years ago, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s pretty-in-pink flagship restaurant has flourished, breathing new life into a tricky second-floor space where several iterations of the former Oru eatery had languished.
It’s still uncomfortably loud, but local designer Craig Stanghetta (Kissa Tanto, Savio Volpe) has transformed the long, bright corridor into four distinct sections—Champagne lounge, bar, solarium and main dining room with open kitchen. The latter, filled with greenery, floral motifs and a grand piano, has a preppy ’80s vibe.
Executive chef Hector Laguna, who trained under Michelle Bernstein at Michy’s in Miami, followed by stints at Lee Restaurant, Nota Bene and Hawksworth, works with the bounty of British Columbia and a splash of Mediterranean brightness. Ethereal plating, dotted with colourful oils, foamy froths and dustings of edible soil, is grounded with bold herb infusions, spicy vinaigrettes and layered textures. Pastas, especially the egg-dense tagliatelle with foraged mushrooms, are excellent.
But perfectly pan-roasted, oven-finished and well-rested meats, never manipulated into spongy tenderness by a sous-vide circulator, are Laguna’s strongest suit. Lamb saddle and dry-aged duck breast are charred, juicy and brawny. They taste like real meat. At lunch, hand-cut beef tartare is topped with a smoked egg yolk ringed by Parmesan foam. Whatever you order, Jill Spoor will match it with a fresh, herbaceous pairing from her award-winning, terroir-driven wine program.
|Sunday||7a.m – 5–10p.m.|
|Monday||6:30 – 5–10p.m.|
|Tuesday||6:30 – 5–10p.m.|
|Wednesday||6:30 – 5–10p.m.|
|Thursday||6:30 – 5–10p.m.|
|Friday||6:30 – 5–10p.m.|
Photos by: Ema Peter