Wining + dining with Mark Brand + Wyndham Estate

Save On Meats has taken over “old Boneta” at One Cordova Street while construction on the butcher shop is in progress. The new location is now acting as a test kitchen and will be their temporary pop-up shop until construction is finished.

An intimate group of friends and media gathered at said location last week to enjoy a multi-course meal prepared by SOM’s Executive Chef Elliot Hashimoto (whom I took a sausage/bacon class with). Each course was paired with Wyndham Estate’s newly released George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve Shiraz 2010 Vintage, which is well-suited for the season with it’s nuance of cinnamon and cedar in the bouquet and the vibrant and blackberry-loaded mouthful. Each sip was a reminder of the end of a season and the beginning of another; blackberry season ends as summer dwindles and spices provoke thoughts of autumn.

This was quite an unorthodox approach to a wine pairing dinner as typically there would be a different varietal served with each course, in order to match the contrasting flavours of items such as game and fish. However, the 2010 vintage is surprisingly versatile and neither competed with the delicate flavours of the ling cod and pear tart fine, nor failed to stand up to the rich flavours of the veal cheeks and duck breast. Chef Hashimoto concocted a lovely meal for the group with personal favourites being the pan-roasted duck breast and the braised veal cheeks with ox tail ravioli.

Joining us at dinner was the host for the evening, restauranteur Mark Brand, as well as Wyndham Estate’s Chief Winemaker Steve Meyer. Both men represent trailblazers in their industry, with Brand regarded as an activist who is changing Vancouver’s culinary landscape, and Meyers representing George Wyndham who planted Australia’s first commercial Shiraz vineyards in 1830.

“I lived in Australia for ten years so I’m very familiar with the valley [Hunter Valley, NSW] and also with the pioneer that we discussed [George Wyndham]. One of the reasons that I came back to Canada and started the way that I did was because of the brash approach of the Australians; a lot of people think that they are crude and ignorant…well, they are [said jokingly]. They’re just bold, is really what is is. After being insulted for a solid 18 months, I realized that they were trying to make me better at what I do. I came here and realized people were talking a lot, but they weren’t doing a lot. So we started doing stuff, and we started doing stuff right here in this room in 2006, when Gastown was a completely different place and the Downtown Eastside was a place where there wasn’t a whole lot of play back and forth. This building is actually one of the oldest buildings that still stands in Vancouver, and that corner where we were hanging out earlier was the first planning point of the entire city. So, that pillar was where everyone started their dreams and hopes for this city and what it could become, and it has always inspired me to try and do good things. A lot of fun things, a lot of the time self-serving, but the point that we’re at right now is that the big heart on the wall is very indicative of what we do. That heart is made up 1,482 tokens that I stuck up there on a whim a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to do an install. Every single one of those has transferred between somebody’s hand to another person’s in this neighbourhood… We’re trying to create more and more programs like that in this neighbourhood that allow “regular people” who are moving here to start to understand the struggles that have happened in the past.” – Mark Brand

Save On Meats Unagi

Barbecued unagi (eel) with aware and cinnamon daikon

Save On Meats Ling Cod

Shiraz-poached ling cod served with golden beats, king oyster mushrooms and truffle

Pan-roasted duck breast

Pan-roasted duck breast served with charred peaches and roasted celery root puree.

Braised veal cheeks

Braised veal cheeks served with ox tail ravioli and caramelized Brussel sprouts

Spiced pear tart fine

Spiced pear tart fine served with fennel ice cream and sweetened shiraz

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