I’ve been in Vancouver for just under four years, which is more than enough time for me to wrap my head around what restaurants are the “must dine at” establishments in Vancouver’s downtown core.
Since opening in May of 2011, I’ve seen Hawksworth win many accolades – none too small to fall under the radar. In 2012 it was awarded Best New Restaurant in the WE Best of the City, as well as Restaurant of the Year in EAT Magazine. It was also coined Canada’s Best Restaurant of the Year in Maclean’s and Restaurant of the Year, Best Upscale and Chef of the Year in the Van Mag Restaurant Awards in 2012 and 2013. And these are only some of the restaurant’s many notable awards.
I’d be crazy to not include a restaurant with such an illustrious reputation on my list of “must dine at” establishments.
Surprisingly, I’ve only had cocktails at Hawksworth, and have never actually sat down for a bite to eat. Imagine my surprise then when I was invited to a “bloggers brunch” to be held at 7:45AM on a random Friday morning. As if I didn’t already have enough to look forward to on Friday, I was now throwing in an early morning gathering with some new and old faces in a restaurant that I had been keen on exploring.
Despite it still being early in the morning as I walked through the doors of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in to Hawksworth, the menu choices were, as expected, brunch themed.
Already on the table was a plate of freshly baked Artisan Breakfast Pastries ($12), that were buttery, full-flavoured and a heavier version of those I had during my trip in France. As I was reaching for a berry and cream pastry, I was kindly offered a beverage. Knowing that it wouldn’t be a true brunch if I didn’t have a mimosa alongside my Americano, I guiltily ordered both. The mimosa is $12 and is made from fresh pressed orange juice and cava sparkling wine. Simple, elegant and delicious – it’s a classic brunch cocktail that is pretty hard to screw up.
As typically “foodies” do, when ordering our mains, we carefully listened to what others were getting to ensure that there was an array of plates on our table; there’s nothing worse than everyone ordering the same thing! Who would we share with? You mean we could only try ONE dish?
Knowing that, it was of no surprise that we had a good variety at our table, some of which I was able to sneak a bite or two of.
Here’s what we ate:
House Chorizo Hash ($19)
Sunny side up eggs, grilled fennel sausage, smoked tomato vinaigrette
I ordered this dish because I like anything smoked, I wanted some meat and I love my eggs sunny side up.
The presentation was fantastic for such a casual dish – two perfectly cooked eggs resting atop a heaping pile of potatoes and fennel sausage coated in tomato vinaigrette. It was strange, but sort of exciting, to not be able to tell at a glance what bite would be sausage and which would be potato as they were shaped almost identically.
Slices of a perfectly ripe avocado nestled against the side of the mound, adding a fresh flavour to the dish, as well as complementing the bright orange yolks and vinaigrette. I was slightly disappointed as I didn’t notice much of a smoky essence in the vinaigrette, with the dominant flavour definitely being tomato.
This was a rich dish and might be better if not eaten first thing in the morning, and rather after a banana…and a run.
Would I order it again? Despite it being well executed, probably not. I’d leave it to the true potato lovers and opt for the next dish…
Pacific Sablefish Benedict ($19)
I love eggs benedict (evident in my previous article), but craving ingenuity I often lean towards the untraditional versions.
Pacific sablefish eggs benny definitely falls in to that category and proved to be a perfect combination. The smooth as butter sablefish was a great addition to the heavy dish, adding just a touch of fish flavour that was complemented by the citrus in the hollandaise sauce. Its texture didn’t compete with the other components in the dish, which I appreciated as sometimes subtlety is key.
Would I order it again? As suggested above, without a doubt.
I didn’t get to try the following dishes but couldn’t help but steal some shots. “The English” is for someone looking for a savoury, rich and filling dish, while the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes will satisfy those with a sweet tooth, while not being treacly with the addition of ricotta rather than whip cream or yogurt.
“The English” ($22)
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes ($17)
At Hawksworth they like to make art with their food; they also like to adorn their walls with art. Feature artists include Damien Hirst, Rodney Graham, Brian Boulton, Harland Miller and Michael Brown. We sat in the Art Room, which showcased the work of Harland Miller, with Too Cool To Die, and Rodney Graham, with Psychomania Variation III (shown below).
This piece is inspired by two multi panel paintings in the British zombie movie Psychomania, which was originally titled The Death Wheelers. It is “an attempt to improve upon the two compositions as they appear in the film while respecting their basic vocabulary of forms”.
While I liked Rodney’s modern abstract art, I was more drawn to Brian Boulton‘s portrait of David Hawksworth from behind. Brian bases his drawings on digital photos, rendering the details meticulously in graphite, creating an image that is difficult for the viewer to determine the medium and material used. I was drawn to it because I’ve seen similar (but much more intense) work by Paul Cadden, a hyperrealist artist from Scotland.
Lucky for me, David agreed to pose for a photo in front of his drawing.
“The subtle difference in the texture of fabrics work together to construct a portrait of these anonymous individuals removed from their urban environment.” – Brian Boulton
Hawksworth is located at 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia at Georgia and Howe. To see their brunch menu visit their website.
For high resolution photos check out my Breakfast at Hawksworth set on Flickr.
Disclosure: This was a media event set up for us to sample the brunch menu – all food was courtesy of Hawksworth Restaurant. All opinions, as always, are my own.