You will find Hawksworth on every “Vancouver best restaurant” guide that you can get your hands on. It’s why we made a point to stop here (along with the fact that it was right around the corner from our Four Seasons Hotel).
The moment we walked in, it looked rich and bustling and full of energy. There are wait staff and sommeliers busily rushing around (unobtrusively) attending to their tables and guests. The service here is absolutely impeccable, but not too stuffy and intimidating (just right in my opinion). The restaurant has three rooms (one a lounge and two other dining rooms) and I absolutely loved the old hollywood vibe of the decor.
When given the choice, we always choose a tasting menu with wine pairings – this one was exceptional! At $166 per person (with the wine pairing) it’s also quite well-priced compared to other tasting menus we have experienced.
Our six-course journey began with a white asparagus amuse bouche with serrano ham and peperonata. It was paired with a spanish sherry, which gave us a nice fresh and salty start to our dinner.
The next course was my personal favourite. A very special hamachi tartare was bursting with surprise flavours of chili lime vinaigrette, coconut, radish and puffed rice. Every bite was a little different, and the frozen coconut and crunch rice was cold like a sorbet. I loved every texture and nuance, especially with the Clos de Soleil Pinot Blanc wine. Definitely my favourite dish of the night.
Our third course was probably David’s favourite – a slow cooked atlantic lobster covered with an herb pasta veil and a fennel foam with a hint of meyer lemon and parmesan. David felt this was the best wine pairing of the night with an Argentine Torrentes (a native grape from Argentina, crossed with a Muscat).
We moved into the deeper flavours with a very earthy dish. A perfectly cooked piece of pacific halibut, with a bacon dashi soup that had hints of black garlic, puffed grains and spring herbs. The surprise were the little balls of tofu (I think) covered in squid ink. Paired with a spicy red Piedmont wine, it made for a real umami experience.
Our main course of the night was a confit lamb neck ‘tagine’ with smoked carrot, quinoa, charred pita and yogurt. We added foie gras to the dish (as big as the lamb). It paired nicely with a big bold red from Languedoc. This was a nice dish, but David felt it would have been even better with more of the sauce.
At this point, we could have been done, and moved on to the dessert. But, we were provided with a cheese course option and we went for it! I can never turn down a plate of cheese. Rather than try to find a wine for a particular cheese, we took our sommelier’s advice to choose a cabernet sauvignon from Chile to enjoy with our blue goat, brie and red cheddar cheeses. Each very unique and delicious, and a rhubarb jam accompaniment blew our minds!
Finally, dessert. And this was a lovely surprise to end the night. We had a plum sweet sake that is lighter and sweeter than port. It was fantastic! We even tried to find it in some shops in Vancouver we enjoyed it that much. The dessert itself was a lime crémeux with pistachio and blackberry and sunflower seeds. It was a perfect lemony pairing with the plum sake.
As we were leaving Hawksworth, the exceptional and attentive service continued when we were given a little goodie bag with a little banana bread for a “midnight snack.” It was a great touch, and we were far too full for a nighttime snack, but thoroughly enjoyed it for breakfast in the morning.
Hawksworth is completely deserving of all the hype, and one of Vancouver’s best!