Under the Burrard Street Bridge on the downtown side of False Creek Ten Ten Tapas shines as a hidden gem.
Described as a mixture of whimsical and classical styles, this tapas restaurant sets itself apart from others with an inventive and thoroughly west coast menu that will draw in both adventurous and more reserved diners.
“The greatest thing about dining is sharing, and our tapas are designed exactly for that,” said owner Derek Oelmann.
Take for example Ten Ten’s west coast twist on the traditional slider trend: salmon sliders. These sliders have simply grilled wild salmon on a brioche bun with a buttermilk dressing, and are served with grand fir crème fraiche and a maple chipotle glaze.
“I roast the salmon on cedar planks, so theoretically I have three indigenous Canadian trees involved: maple, grand fir, and cedar,” said Executive Chef Matthew Phillip. “[This dish] is a true testament to B.C.”
Another seafood selection is a beer-battered shitake fritter with seared albacore, which the chef often serves as an amuse bouche. The fritter is served on top of a soy-licorice glaze and carrot-ginger emulsion. The contrasting flavours complement the albacore and help the tapas melt in your mouth.
Edging into cold weather territory is the satisfying winter lamb roulade. The lamb is glazed in its own jus, which is fortified with buttermilk and paprika, and comes with a chimmichurri sauce and is topped with a pumpkin seed crisp. The lamb with the seasonal flavours of pumpkin and spices will satisfy anyone looking to have a taste of Christmas early.
Another hearty favourite is the False Creek Cassoulet. The dish is a duck confit braised with beans and bacon, garnished with spicy green beans, and topped with a buttermilk lovage. This succulent dish is an elegant tapas option for any duck lover.
Following their mantra of making everything from scratch, Ten Ten makes their tortellini in-house. Their Wild Mushroom tortellini is made from roasted mushrooms, blended with onion and garlic and piped into the pasta. It is served in a white wine cream sauce, with a touch of garlic-chili oil, pea shoots and Parmesan cheese.
Perhaps the most exciting moment of our night at Ten Ten Tapas was the presentation of dessert. We were served s’mores without the camping experience. This dessert was truly a testament to Chef Phillp’s innovation. The marshmallows are made in-house and served on a warm chocolate fudge brownie with a line of graham cracker to taste. You then toast your marshmallow with the candle provided on your plate. It was a great way to end a meal, and would be a perfect way to surprise a date for a more active and engaged dining experience.
Chef Phillip is looking forward to using winter vegetables that are in season. For him, this season that means braised meats and spices paired with “less tomato, less avocado, [and] more squash, beets, and yams.”
Ten Ten Tapas has embraced the romance of winter by creating a cozy and intimate space where you can enjoy delicious tapas and listen to live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The restaurant exudes a vibe of casual elegance with high-quality food, as summed up by Oelmann: “We try and keep it comfortable, we don’t want to be pretentious. We’re a bit eclectic and casual.”
Ten Ten Tapas is the perfect venue for a romantic night out or a casual meal with friends. With a wide variety of options on their relatively small and accessible menu, Ten Ten Tapas has the direction and vision of an extraordinary chef to guide it to culinary success. For both large parties and small, and even for private catering events, Ten Ten Tapas will always provide you with something tasty and delightful.
Ten Ten Tapas
Address: 1010 Beach Avenue, Vancouver
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Friday, 5:30 to 11 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.