Tag Archives: Mark Sutherland

Weekend Brunch at Cibo Trattoria – Vancouver


By: Mark Sutherland

Since being named ‘Best New Restaurant in Canada’ by enRoute Magazine in 2009, Cibo Trattoria has been a mainstay in Vancouver’s Italian dining scene. Being located in the heart of Vancouver’s Arts & Culture district, Cibo Trattoria is a popular place for pre-theatre dining. However, Cibo Trattoria also does a fresh, organic and local approach of Italian fare to weekend brunch. And with their cozy, 50-seat dining room inside the Moda Hotel, it’s the perfect little escape as fall approaches.

French-toastThe menu ranges from comfort foods to options for the more adventurous, while delivering lovely little Italian twists. My family often takes a similar approach when making French Toast by using panettone – a traditional Italian loaf filled with raisins and candied fruit, typically consumed over the holidays. The light texture of the loaf impecably soaks up the egg for this dish. Accompanied with strips pancetta and a bourbon, maple syrup, this is definitely brunch made for those with a sweet tooth! A little fruit compote would nicely round this one out!Cibo-brunch

You know how the best part of brunch is taking foods you love having for lunch and dinner, then slapping a few eggs on it and calling it brunch? Dishes such as the Crispy Polenta with wild oregano, soft scrambled eggs, pancetta, pecorino and pepper, or the Poached Eggs with prosciutto, grilled focaccia, greens, aged balsamic and parmesan do exactly that! Not to mention that the crispy polenta was prepared to perfection with a crunchy exterior and smooth interior. (more…)

The Beach Bay Cafe Vancouver


The Beach Bay Cafe. Photo by Provoke! Studios.

By: Mark Sutherland

The Beach Bay Cafe Vancouver is a new and welcome addition to the West End. Focusing on Pacific Northwest flavours with fresh, local ingredients, the menu at The Beach Bay Cafe Vancouver is sure to satisfy any palate. With a team who has graced other local hotspots such as the Blue Water Cafe, L’Abattoir and Bambudda, you just know you’re in for a treat. The steal is the 3-course lunch menu for $32, the Beach Bay Cafe Vancouver is sure to become a new local favourite.


Seated out on their patio overlooking English Bay, it seemed only natural to start with something to drink. Cocktails range from a refreshing and classic Pimm’s Cup to a smokey twist on the Caesar using Mezcal as a base. There’s no risk in even trying one of Bar Manager Adrian Lindner’s creations.


The Rum Melon D’eau (watermelon, lime and hibiscus with white rum) was heavenly and went down far too easily. One could simply sip away the afternoon working through the extensive wine list or their delicious cocktails.


Taking advantage of the set menu lunch (or you’re welcome to order a-la-carte), we started with the Salade Nicoise and Ham Hock Terrine. Substituting salmon for tuna in the Nicoise, was an absolutely delight. Each ingredient was prepared to perfection – I’m still dreaming about the creamy texture of the salmon along with the softly boiled egg, fingerling potatoes and blanched green beans. (more…)

The Irish Heather Pub Vancouver


By: Mark Sutherland

In the heart of Vancouver’s historic Gastown lies The Irish Heather Pub. A staple that is known for their extensive selection of Whisk(e)y, the Heather (as locals refer to it) is also a gastropub serving up some of the finest pub grub in town! And really, calling the food at the Irish Heather pub grub isn’t fair to the creative, modern and refreshing twists that they’ve put on many of their dishes.


Ever since I visited Scotland as a kid, the Scotch Egg has been one of my favourite pub snacks! The Irish Heather Pub steps this classic up by using a nearly hard-boiled free-range egg (the yolk is still a stitch runny), then wraps the egg in fresh and delightfully spiced sausage meat, finally encrusting the ball in Panko bread crumbs for a nice little crunch ($8). While it was complemented nicely with their Guinness wholegrain mustard spread, I typically like my scotch egg with a higher ratio of sausage to egg.


We also started with their Chicken Liver Pâté ($8) which came with a house made compote, and baguette crostini. This is a must-have! The buttery and smooth, yet light, texture of the pâté with their rhubarb compote on crostini was essentially the grown-up version of PB&J. We could’ve eaten a few more jars of this one. Easily. (more…)

Bump N Grind Cafe – Vancouver


By: Mark Sutherland

Anyone who shops along South Granville knows that there is an abundance of places to get the latest in everything from fashion trends to home decor – but where can you go for for well-crafted specialty coffee when your puppies need a rest? Fear no more, Bump ‘n Grind Cafe has opened opened up their second location, giving the neighbourhood exactly what it needed!


Photo by Nancy Wu of Nomss

Bump N Grind is a Vancouver-based, independent speciality coffee house owned and operated by Cheryl and Kyle Wright. This husband-and-wife team is passionate about quality coffee and food. This is clearly evidenced by the impeccable selection of tasty treats that are baked in-house, not to mention their serious attitude toward selecting the best quality beans.


Inspired by the trend of baked-good-hybrids, popularized by Chef Dominique Ansel with the Cronut (a combination of a croissant and donut), Bump N Grind continues to offer its signature Mookie (above)  – the light, fluffy texture of a muffin on the inside combined with a firm, cookie-like exterior. Not to mention, it’s vegan! (more…)

Salt Tasting Room – Vancouver


By: Mark Sutherland

Vancouverites always look forward to seeing what culinary delights are on offer during Dine Out Vancouver, Canada’s largest food and drink festival. For 17 days every January, hundreds of restaurants throughout the city will be dishing up unlimited ways to enjoy the flavours of the Vancouver.

Tucked away on Blood Alley in Gastown, Salt Tasting Room emits a warm feeling from the welcoming staff and exposed brick walls – which makes it a great escape from the winter weather. Salt is a dining experience for those who enjoy, or are just simply curious about, pairing their food and drink. It also tends to be a place you might go after dinner for nibbles with your drinks. With their tempting selection of artisanal cheeses, small-batch cured meats, and a dynamic array of wines, beers and sherries, you’ll be drooling after a quick glance at their chalkboard listing all their current offerings.

Here comes the hard part – assembling your own tasting plate ($16)! The knowledgeable staff at Salt are happy to take that burden off your hands. Alternatively, visiting Salt during Dine Out narrows down your choices and turns the experience into a 3-course evening ($28). (more…)

Weekend Brunch: L’Abattoir – Vancouver


By: Mark Sutherland

L’Abattoir knows that Vancouverites can’t get enough of their French twist on West Coast cuisine, so starting this December, General Manager Paul Grunberg is now indulging our love for brunch. The exposed brick walls with essential 90’s R&B playing in the background was the perfect setting to escape a cold, crisp Vancouver Saturday morning in winter.


My brunch date was running a bit late so my server started me off with some French-pressed coffee from JJ Bean and a currant scone filled with strawberry jam and clotted cream. The scone was wonderfully crunchy and sweet on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. I was a little worried I would fill up on the scone, but the clotted cream was surprisingly light while still having a lovely rich texture to it.


Once Ashley arrived, we were ready to start with a couple of cocktails. As you do at brunch. The Bourbon Cinnamon Toast Milk Punch ($8) was an absolute hit! A creation of cereal infused cream, bourbon, Becherovka, cinnamon and cocoa bitters. In Ashley’s words: “I can never have cereal without Bourbon. Ever again.” I was feeling a little bubbly, so I ordered the Spanish Steps cocktail ($8) which feature a gin-base and finished off with strawberries and rosé bubbles, I wanted nothing more than Spring to come early so I could spend all day drinking them on a patio. (more…)