We’re taking a tasty tour of Vancouver’s many brunches to create The Ultimate Vancouver Brunch Guide. This week we’re indulging in an elegant fixed-menu with drink pairings at the just-launched brunch at the RawBar at The Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
We’re spoiled for choices when it comes to brunch in Vancouver, but after we’ve narrowed down a restaurant we’re then spoiled for choices when it comes down to simply picking what we’re ordering for the meal.
And while choices aren’t totally out the window at the newly-introduced five-course brunch offered at RawBar, they’ve deftly narrowed it down by curating a fixed menu of elegant Asian-inspired dishes with optional drink pairings; guests can choose whether they wish to have the five small drinks, as well as for some courses select between two dishes.
As the name RawBar distinctly implies, there is an undeniable emphasis on not only seafood but raw preparations of 100 percent Ocean Wise certified fish and seafood. For their first foray into brunch, RawBar is staying true to their credo, and what they do so well; the five-course cocktail brunch includes numerous seafood and sushi-style preparations, including a fourth course comprised solely of an omakase (chef’s choice) sushi selection.
Head Bartender Grant Sceney has created cocktails that are available exclusively with the brunch, and they each were designed to work particularly well as daytime drinks and to pair with the flavour profile of each course’s dishes. For those opting for the Red Tuna Tataki starter, the Light-Zaiten cocktail (made with gin, green tea, dry vermouth, rosemary, cucumber, and lime) offers an equally bright, palate-awakening, and refreshing kick-start to the ensuing feast.
The feast continues with one of the best pairings: Soup and Beer. Fine, it’s nowhere near that simplistic, but at the core you’ve got a full-on notion of comfort guiding the match-up of cured sablefish perched in a warming miso broth with bacon dashi and accents of ginger and scallion with a drink called “Beer Makes Miso Happy,” a peppy meld of Grand Marnier, wheat beer, ginger, and lemon.
If at this point you’re ready for something more “breakfasty,” namely eggs or bacon, the third course offers a choice of braised pork belly, or the RawBar’s homage to the almighty Eggs Benedict, the Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny.”
The “Benny” is a feast for the senses, with a clever play on eggs within eggs–there’s ikura (roe) inside the poached egg, which is served on a circle of sweet milk bread with wild salmon, avocado, and a miso Hollandaise.
The fourth course is the aforementioned sushi course, paired with a simple sparkling sake. This is followed by a witty dessert that offers a bit of an optical illusion: The Yakult Shooter isn’t the drink, it’s the dish, but it’s essentially a sweet yogurty pudding served inside oyster shells that you tip back and slurp as you would an actual oyster.
There’s no ocean brine here, though, it’s all sweet, but not overly so, and the paired drink is a very light send-off called “Wakayama Beach,” which taps into the surfside theme and has the zippy flavours of gin, yuzu, basil, coconut water, and ginger.
Certainly, five courses for brunch is quite the undertaking (with booze, to boot) but the courses are thoughtfully sized and paced, and the drinks are proportional–this isn’t a gut-busting buffet with oversized hefty drinks garnished with full meals unto themselves.
The RawBar brunch, priced at $42 per person (an additional $28) is a great option for a special occasion brunch (or a treat yo’ self outing), and offers tremendous value, as you get a tasting menu style meal that fills you to satisfaction but won’t leave your sides aching. In fact, you’ll likely have to plan to make a stop at Giovane in the hotel and take those must-eat sugar buns to go to enjoy later, since you may not have room for one on the spot.
A must for sushi lovers, this new brunch option at the Fairmont Pacific Rim offers a nice alternative to the existing brunches available on the property (namely the continental bites in the Lounge, the lighter cafe fare at Giovane, and the buffet upstairs at ORU) as well as a top-notch alternative to more typical breakfast-y brunch fare. The drinks also are a welcomed diversion from the workaday mimosas and Caesars and Bellinis that could use a weekend out of rotation.
Brunch at the RawBar at The Lobby Lounge is served Saturdays, Sundays, and select holidays from 11 am to 2 pm.
Address: 1038 Canada Place, Vancouver