Lips Resto is a new restaurant in Vancouver’s West End that hopes to inspire diners to eat, drink, and be social. With an inventive concept that shifts focus from lunch to dinner, Lips Resto is a first-time ownership venture for seasoned chef Curtis Demyon.
Demyon, who was most recently the Executive Chef at the Fish House in Stanley Park, says he’s always been teased about his prominent lips, so when it came time to open up his own restaurant the name seemed an appropriate fit.
Yearning to create a space for gathering, eating, imbibing, and talking, Demyon and his team transformed a spacious former sushi restaurant on Davie in to a bright, airy dining room, and a menu designed to fit the constraints of the kitchen.
At lunchtime, Lips Resto is all about bistro-style fare, with a menu divided into salads, soups, sandwiches, and mac and cheese dishes. Demyon is particularly enthusiastic about his sandwiches, particularly the Salted Beef Brisket (house cured brisket, cabbage, broccoli sprouts, 3 cheese sauce, Dijon), Smoked Pork Belly LT (roasted jalapeño, tomato and onion compote, lettuce, aioli), and the LFC (crispy lemongrass marinated chicken, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, daikon, chili aioli).
Perhaps most emblematic of Demyon’s culinary diversity and playful approach to food, the LFC sandwich is, as he tells it, a clever nod to a few of his neighbouring restaurants, including a handful of Vietnamese pho joints, and a KFC. Though Demyon has honed his talents in the kitchens of large restaurants, Lips signals a shift to a smaller-scale operation and a chance for the chef to showcase his diverse culinary interests and present refined plates.
For dinnertime, Lips Resto shifts their focus to shared plates and the shared experience of dining. Demyon says the pan roasted duck breast served with a confit duck leg (bread pudding, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage cream on the side) is a best-seller. The dinner menu ranges from smaller (and vegetarian) bites, like mushroom and quinoa fritters, to seafood, pasta, and steak.
In the kitchen at Lips with the Saskatoon-born Demyon is a crew of his longtime co-workers from previous restaurants who joined him on this new endeavour.
“We really wanted to bring something different to the neighbourhood,” explains Demyon, who highlights the atypically large space and their approachable pricing as reasons to both bring in patrons and also stand out from the competition along restaurant-dense Davie.
Approachability extends to the cocktail, wine, and beer menu. The cocktail menu was designed in-house, and currently features lighter, seasonally-inspired concoctions that are unfussy and make use of quality spirits and ingredients. Many of those drinks carry over to brunch time, whereas for Happy Hour (3 to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to close) guests will appreciate $3 draft beers and $5 glasses of wine. The regular wine list features thoughtful selections with an emphasis on local and affordable, particularly their by-the-glass pours.
Lips Resto has been in “soft open” mode since early May, and with a few tweaks to the menu is ready to welcome in the neighbourhood for a taste of what they’ve got. Demyon is excited to share his vision of food meets drink meets socializing in a space he can finally call his own.
Address: 1143 Davie Street, West End