Ampersand Bar & Bistro is the newest restaurant in Gastown taking over Mosquito dessert, which quietly closed their doors recently. They specialize in cocktails as well as designer dim sum. Clearly, they are going for more of a high end approach.
We were invited to try their drinks and designer dim sum, but with so many great dim sum restaurants in Metro Vancouver, it’s some tough competition. Given the area of Gastown, there aren’t any dim sum options around unless you head closer to Burrard where there is Kirin or Victoria Chinese Restaurant.
The interior of Ampersand has stayed unchanged. The space is still small and somewhat cramped due to the layout. It has a dark and intimate feel.
Ampersand Gin & Tonic
The gorgeous drink is made with butterfly pea flower infused Cascade dry gin, and St Germain Premium Indian Tonic Water. When you pour the 2 liquids together, the colour transforms into a beautiful light purple colour. The taste is of a standard Gin & Tonic, but with a beautiful look.
The Rosso Negroni has Cascade Dry Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari, and Cynar. Love how there is one giant ice cube in the drink to keep it cold as you sip away at this drink.
Designer Dim Sum
The designer dim sum is the star of their menu, but it was a total let down. They boast 11 different kind of dim sum items, but a lot of them fell flat in taste and texture. The presentation is beautiful but all of the items are forgettable. After a short while, the skin of the dumplings, no matter which kind got dry and chewy. The crafted sauces and garnishes are mostly for looks and don’t add too much to the flavours of the dumplings.
This comes 2 per order and it is topped with Ampersand dulche de leche coconut sauce and coconut almond sesame sprinkle. The dulche de leche sauce was addictive and it kept me wanting more. Unfortunately, the coconut buns were very thick and dense to get into the coconut filling.
The designer dim sum was a let down for me as I know there are some stellar dim sum options in Vancouver that just can’t compare. THey do have other menu items that might be better but we didn’t try those. If you’re looking for drinks in Gastown, the space is nice to catch up with friends.
32 Water St, Vancouver, BC