As one of the world’s most multicultural cities, Vancouver is home to an equally diverse restaurant scene, where the likes of Greek, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese cuisines sit next to one another in any given locale, and resident foodies are spoiled for choice.
Downtown along Robson Street, among the busy congregation of officer goers, shoppers, and tourists, a new restaurant has opened to satiate such diverse cravings, particularly of eastern and western cuisines at once.
Billed as an east-meets-west dining destination, Blossom Dim Sum Bar & Grill serves up a menu of dim sum, grilled meats and fish, as well as fresh sushi.
It is also quite the eye candy, with a striking mural of blossom-filled angel wings greeting diners even before they enter the restaurant, along with more gram-worthy artworks waiting inside.
A project of Eric Yang, former general manager of Chinese fine dining restaurant Mott 32 in Vancouver’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, Blossom Dim Sum & Grill offers a more down-to-earth approach to restaurant dining.
“The vision for this restaurant is contrast – affordable luxury,” says Yang. “It’s very approachable, and I want everybody who comes to the restaurant to have a different experience with each visit.”
The bar and lounge, for instance, features a more casual ambience, thanks to the open bar and booth-style seating. Past the bar, the dining hall with high ceilings and natural light lends a higher-end, more formal vibe, while the booth-style banquets to the side, in dimmer light, create more intimate options. Outside, the 40-seat patio offers more relaxed al fresco dining for happy hour bites as well as weekend gatherings.
Although perhaps the most notable aspect of the 6,000sqft restaurant sits in the main dining hall. Depicting two fingertips close to meeting, one of them clutching a dim sum piece, the Michelangelo-inspired mural by local artist Tyler Toews punctuates the space.
Along another wall, a mural of cherry blossoms adds to the drama, while an installation of parasols from the high ceilings completes the flurry of decorative elements in the dining hall.
In the bar area, the design touches are a bit more subtle, with recycled industrial pipes as pendant lighting and wall inlays with a Chinese motif.
The restaurant also features 13 wide-screen TVs, a semi-private dining banquet within the wine cellar, and a private dining area.
To complement the multi-faceted restaurant, executive chef Derek Bothwell heads up the equally multi-faceted kitchen, which features a wok area, sushi station, and grill.
“There are three separate kitchens working, but it’s not exactly separate – rather, it’s three separate stations in one kitchen,” says Bothwell. “So we use each others’ skills to do things.”
Bothwell unpacks the unique workings of the kitchen with the sablefish dish as an example: the sushi team prepares the dashi foam and ponzu dressing, the dim sum guys work on the rice cake, while the folks at the grill do the sablefish, mushroom, and baby bok choi. “It’s the three stations coming together,” says Bothwell on the fusion. "I make the sauces for the dim sum plates; I make some sauces for the sushi; they help me with some of the fish prep. It’s a big team, and that’s how this works."
Aside from the sablefish, founder Eric Yang personally recommends the lobster dumplings and the lamb chop in coconut curry as must-tries for first-time visitors.
As well, similarly to high-end restaurants, Blossom will be reflecting seasonal offerings by changing its menu throughout the year.
“Vancouver is famous for its Asian food scene, and the market itself has the best Asian culinary scene outside of Asia, but there’s no Asian-themed restaurant that’s popular for everybody,” says Yang, citing restaurants in the downtown social hub catering to specific cuisines, such as Korean and Japanese. “They’re either very cheap and there is no service; if you want high-end, you’re paying 200 dollars per person and people in the city can’t go there everyday.”
“So we’re in the middle – we’re kind of filling that gap.”
See more: The design lover’s guide to Vancouver