Acre Through the Seasons: New high-end dining destination to launch in Richmond
Versante Hotel may have opened to the public back in the summer of 2021, but the boutique destination and its hospitality operator, Club Versante, haven’t stopped developing its many restaurant concepts in the time since.
The Richmond hotel is now home to three (soon to be more) distinct dining and drinking spaces.
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Anchor restaurant Bruno serves top-notch breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Cask Whisky Vault offers Japanese-inspired cuisine and stellar sips, and the penthouse lounge Alaïa is all about champagne and caviar.
A fourth concept in the hotel, Oo La Cha, launched last year and offered guests a menu centred around house dry-aged seafood.
Now, the former Oo La Cha space has become something new: Acre Through the Seasons.
The new eatery describes itself as a fine-dining restaurant that “marries the concepts of contemporary cuisine and the farm-to-table experience.”
Farm-to-table is central to Acre’s program, award-winning Executive Chef Will Lew, who oversees all of the Versante restaurants, tells Dished.
“We did dry-aged seafood, something the city never had and we are really proud of the efforts,” says Lew.
“But once we discovered we had our very own farm, it would be silly to have a restaurant that didn’t completely focus and celebrate locality.”
Chef Lew refers to Acre Lavande, a private boutique farm complete with a greenhouse on Cortes Island.
This farm, along with surrounding BC producers, foragers, and purveyors, is at the core of Acre’s menu.
The project offers a multi-course journey that mirrors the seasons in nature, one at a time. The dining room will also subtly change as offerings rotate in terms of decor.
At launch, the menu will be centred around “Forest, Forage, and Wild Game.”
We headed into the 65-seat spot for a preview of the contemporary cuisine that the team calls Series 1. This series will run from launch to July, after which the service will transition to offer Series 2.
The plan is for the second series to be all about vineyards, farms, and the harvest.
Acre’s restaurant chef, Lemuel Tsang, was onsite during our tasting to help kick off the experience with the first course: a selection of snacks served on an array of moss, twigs, and forest bits brought over from Cortes Island.
Bites here include a Truffle Mushroom Donut, Foie Gras, Bison Heart Tartare, and an Onion Tart.
It was a grand first step down the dining path that lasted a few hours, but time flew as each dish landed on the table.
From there, highlights included the Bone Marrow Bread and a Steelhead Gravlax with smoked trout caviar.
One of our favourite courses was the Beetroot, a delightful combo of quince, hazelnut, and fluffy goat cheese mousse.
For proteins on this spread, expect a house dry-aged goose and wild boar. Both were delicious.
In addition to a Sheep’s Milk Kefir Panna Cotta, the team brought out what they call “Campfire” during the dessert course.
It featured a rosehip marshmallow on a stick torched by the staff at the table. From there, the diner can dip their toasted marshmallow in the surrounding huckleberry, whisky chocolate sauce, and candied reindeer lichen.
If you’re looking for the ultimate photo op of the meal — it’s this moment.
All of the ingredients we tasted during this meal have been carefully sourced, from wild and cultivated mushrooms to delicate edible flowers and microgreens from Gastronomer’s Garden, aka Jenna Marcotte.
“This project is not just about food and the restaurant,” says Lew. “It’s about all the people who want to volunteer their efforts and creativeness, their craft, to help us tell this story.”
Overall, Chef Lew sees this restaurant as a special space that acts as a love letter to the farm that inspired it all.
Celebrating the abundance of BC is not something groundbreaking for local restaurants, but Lew and co. are certainly aiming to up the ante with Acre, for out-of-town guests at the hotel and locals alike.
One thing is for certain: there’s no shortage of passion and appreciation for the food and where it came from at this spot. The team is bursting with excitement to share what they’ve been creating here.
The goal is to transport guests to Acre Lavande and back, and it’s a delicious excursion.
“The project is a reminder through food to really recognize our home, BC, and why it is so supernatural and so special,” adds Lew.
“None of that could be done without the collaboration with the chefs and the team here.”
It’s also worth noting that there’s a vegetarian menu option. Both the regular and plant-based experiences are $98 per person.
Acre Through the Seasons will open to the public on April 6. Hours of operation are Thursday to Sunday from 5 pm onwards (last seating at 9:30 pm).
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ACRE Through the Seasons
Address: Versante Hotel — 8499 Bridgeport Road, Richmond