Must Eat Destinations: Blacktail Restaurant + Lounge (Vancouver, Canada)

While it’s a relatively new addition to Vancouver’s dining scene, Blacktail Restaurant + Lounge has cemented itself as one of the city’s must-visit venues. The menu showcases ingredients that are sourced predominantly from the Cascadia region, which spans the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon, as well as Canada’s British Columbia. The drinks list similarly includes only local wine and beer, and cocktails are made using homegrown spirits.

This inherently local approach to produce is no doubt impressive, however its executive chef Geoff Rogers’ creative flair in the kitchen that has Vancouverites raving – his dishes tend to include less conventional ingredient pairings, and as such they deliver new and unique flavour profiles.

The lack of convention starts at the menu, which is split into three sections – small, medium and large. This approach enables diners to mix and match, and ultimately share a variety of items.

The Albacore Tuna Crudo (CAD $17) and Crispy Tofu (CAD $14) arrive first. The tuna sashimi, which shines the spotlight on the quality seafood B.C. is known for, is served on top of pieces of pork belly, which refreshingly aren’t too fatty but crisp and flavoursome. Puff pieces of pork crackling, similar in appearance to the prawn crackers you get with Chinese take-away, only smaller, are neatly placed between the tuna and pork belly. Finally, a subtly flavoured squid ink sauce lines the edges of the plate – pair with a slice of tuna and a piece of pork belly for an interesting juxtaposition of flavours and textures.

In many ways the Crispy Tofu is similar to agedashi tofu, a popular Japanese dish, although this version is topped with a slightly creamy, peppery sauce and it’s teamed with grilled green peppers and pea shoots.

The Ducks & Waffles (CAD $16) are a particularly interesting creation – they are both sweet and savoury, much like the food most of us associate with Canada – pancakes, maple syrup and bacon. This dish is just a little more complex, though.

Freshly made waffles are cut into quarters and neatly arranged around the plate, and each is topped with a creamy foie gras and duck liver mousse. The waffles are paired with a fruit-based sauce, and icing sugar is scattered around the plate – these elements add the sweetness. This dish is a little rich, so be careful not to overindulge – it’s definitely best shared among friends.

Hailing from the ‘large’ section of the menu is the Steelhead Trout (CAD $27), which is free from bones and cooked to perfection. The fillet is served in a Japanese-style dashi broth with shelled mussels, and it is topped with roasted fingerling potatoes and fish roe, which prove to be great accompaniments.

If you’re still hungry, opt for a sweet treat. A Goats Cheese Cheesecake (CAD $9) and Chocolate Cake (CAD $9) were available for choosing on the night. Both were beautifully presented on the plate with accompaniments including meringue shards, mint gel, honeycomb pieces and poached pear. The dessert menu changes regularly, so while these options may not necessarily be available, you’ll no doubt be privy to Rogers’ latest batch of indulgent after-dinner delights.

Decor-wise, Blacktail wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of one of Sydney’s inner-city suburbs – it’s complete with the exposed pipes, worn floor tiles and low-hanging lights we’ve all become accustomed to, as well as kitsch wall features that prove to be a great point of conversation (feel free to ask a member of staff about them and they’ll be happy to elaborate).

The wooden tables and booths, which are arranged so as to accommodate groups of varying sizes, make for a casual and relaxed atmosphere, as does the bar, which is complete with stools for guests to sit at and relax as they sip on a freshly poured beer or tasty cocktail.

If casual drinks rather than a sit-down meal is what you’re after, make Blacktail your go-to destination of a weekend – its lounge, which is situated downstairs from the restaurant, is open from 7pm through to 2am on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Blacktail Restaurant + Lounge

Address: 200-332 Water St, Gastown, Vancouver B.C., Canada
Contact: +1 (604) 699-0249 or info@blacktail.ca
Website: www.blacktail.ca