CBC food columnist digs into unique fusion menu at new Vancouver restaurant
‘It’s like having three supporting actors rather than a single star,’ says Gail Johnson
When it comes to eating out in Metro Vancouver, there's no shortage of places to find dim sum, sushi, and Western-style grill — but usually not all at the same place.
And definitely not with three different chefs, each specializing in their own style.
"There are lots of places you can find Asian flavours intermingled with Western ingredients; fusion food has been around for a long time," said Gail Johnson, CBC On The Coast's food columnist.
Blossom Dim Sum and Grill is a first for the city with three different cuisines under one roof.
"I'm not aware of anywhere else locally where you can order Salt Spring Island lamb with a coconut-curry chickpea base, squid-ink bao, and lobster roll off the same menu," she said.
"There's nothing else like it."
It's not just fusion food: the beverage list plays into the unique factor, as well.
"It's also rare to have dim sum connected with cocktails like a Bellini made with Mandarin soju or a gin and tonic using Empress 1908 purple gin from Victoria Distillers," said Johnson.
There are three main chefs behind the scenes at Blossom: dim sum chef Jensen Auyeng, sushi chef Rex Yeung and chef Derek Bothwell.
Auyeng and Yeung are both from Hong Kong originally and moved to Canada in the mid-1990s.
Through a translator, Auyeng told Johnson he loves how finished pieces of dim sum look like little works of art and that he'll sometimes get creative by making shapes of animals like elephants, rabbits, or whales.
Yeung explained how little things, like how to cut a cucumber, can carry tremendous weight to balance out the final dish.
Bothwell, who's from Red Deer, Alberta, boasts more than 600 cookbooks in his collection and told Johnson that when you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work.
"While most restaurants have a single executive chef who leads a kitchen in terms of menu design, here, there are three chefs who share that role and responsibility equally," said Johnson.
"It's like having three supporting actors rather than a single star."
Blossom, at 808 Bute Street, officially opens this Friday.
With files from On The Coast