Vancouver Magazine’s 10th Annual Big Night is Vancouver’s most exciting and exclusive culinary event. Every year, Vancouver Magazine unleashes a team of food and wine judges on the city’s culinary scene in order to determine the best bites and bottles consumers can enjoy. In their journey, 6,500 wines were poured and over 2,000 dishes consumed.
YP Dine was the presenting sponsor of the Vancouver Magazine’s Big Night. The app gives you suggestions on where to eat, with handpicked lists by local food experts. YP Dine has full restaurant details with photos, and the ability to reserve a table right in the app. The service is available in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.
Over 500 food and wine enthusiasts gathered to enjoy award-winning chefs from the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards serving dishes specially created to match top wines from their 2016 International Wine Competition. This year it was held at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. For $99 per ticket, it was not bad at all. You get to sample 10 of the best restaurants in town along with wine pairing. And you can go back for seconds…thirds or fourths if you want.
The event was well organized and the line ups were not too long.
Cactus Club | Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
Cactus Club Cafe was rated Best Casual Chain in Downtown. The restaurant originated on the West Coast of BC and has expanded across the country. With Canada’s first Iron Chef America Champion – Chef Rob Feenie spearheading the culinary team, they have a comforting menu that will appeals to a large audience.
They prepared a Branzino Crudo with Domenia Fiore Novello, shaved Himalayan pink salt, and fresh lemon.
It paired with the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve. A nice sparkling wine to kick off the evening.
Blue Water Cafe | SakeOne G Joy Genshu Junmai Jingo
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar won in the Best Seafood Category. Executive Chef Frank Pabst puts together a delectable menu with amazing pieces of carefully selected fish. Along side the cooked foods are their raw seafood with clean and pure flavours as well as detailed preparation led by Raw Bar Chef Masaaki Kudo. All their seafood is sustainable with the Ocean Wise stamp of approval to ensure it is sourced ethically without compromising their natural habitat.
During the event, the prepared salmon caviar with seaweed tempura and devilled organic egg. I liked this bite-sized treat with the crunchy texture of the tempura and the saltiness of the caviar.
The SakeOne G Joy Genshu Junmai Ginjo was paired with it. A pretty good sake.
Au Comptoir | The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013
Au Comptoir won Silver in Best French Casual. They are a classic Parisian cafe in Kitsilano. Once walk inside, you will will notice the décor giving it that Parisian vibe. Very enjoyable and you will notice the difference in their food compared to come other French restaurants in town.
They sampled Albacore tuna confit with espelette pepper aioli, bacon and fennel gremolata and on a spiced cracker. It was paired with The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013. The tuna and the spiced crackers textures complimented each other.
Campagnolo Roma | Garry Oaks Estate Pinot Noir + Zweigelt 2013
Campagnolo Roma won Silver for Best Italian Casual. Their restaurant features the specialties of Rome, Campagnolo Roma serves up classic antipasto, pastas, and pizzas in a casual atmosphere for their guests. Out of all the restaurants on this list, it is definitely more relaxed and casual.
They server their Coppa di Testa with smoked lingua, winter herbs and mostarda on pane bianco. They paired it with Garry Oaks Estate Pinot Noir + Zweigelt 2013.
Vij’s | Chateau de Nages ButiNages Rose 2014
Vij’s won Best Indian and Chef of the Year. The restaurant has been around since 1994 spicing up the Vancouver culinary scene with their outstanding dishes like their wine marinated lamb popsicles. By blending their Indian spices and cooking techniques with fresh local produce, they give customers a unique experience making them coming back for more. Every night, you will see long line ups out the door with waits of up to an hour long.
At the event, he served up Vegetarian Koftas with fenugreek curry. It was paired with the Chateau de Nages ButiNages Rose 2014.
Miku | 50th Parallel Estate Riesling
Miku won Bronze for Best Japanese Upscale. You can’t get anymore West Coast fresh than at Miku. From their patio, you overlook the beautiful North Shore Mountains and the Vancouver waterfront. If there was ever a place to really #treatyoself, it would be Miku. It’s one of my favourite places to take people visiting Vancouver.
They served up their Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi which has pressed BC wild salmon, jalapeno, and Miku sauce, then it’s torched. There was also an albacore tuna and kaiso seaweed tartare with a spicy sesame ponzu vinaigrette, wasabi creme fraiche, and micro greens on top of a sesame wonton.
They paired it with 50th Parallel Estate Riesling 2014. It was my favourite wine of the evening.
It was a no brainer that this was my favourite item of the night. Multiple people kept coming back for more.
CinCin | Fontodi Chianti Classico 2011
CinCin won Bronze for Best Italian Upscale Restaurant. CinCin has been around for over 25 years, reaching a quarter of a century milestone. Opened in 1990, their contemporary Italian menu and wine pairings have captivated locals as well as celebrities visiting Vancouver.
They had a veal and pork polpette, tomato, parsley and olive oil. They paired it with a medium red wine – Fontodi Chianti Classico 2011.
Hawksworth | Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Hawksworth won for best upscale restaurant. Chef David Hawksworth and his team receive an array of awards year after year by serving up contemporary cuisine that pleases the palates of their diners. Walking into the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the restaurant located right on the ground level entices diners with their beautiful dining room bursting with style and sophistication.
They presented a beautiful dish with Confit lamb presse, charred eggplant, puffed black olive, mushroom soil and mint. It was the most beautiful dish of the evening and that lamb was very tender.
It is served with a rich red wine – Wynn Black Label Cabernet Sauvingnon 2012, which wont Best of Show.
Tableau | Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnary 2014
Tableau on best casual french restaurant. They are located close to Coal Harbour under the Loden Hotel and is known for their traditional French bistro fare. Their interior combines old world classic bistro elements with modern touches and a French-inspired menu that blends classic culinary flavours of Paris with the use of fresh west coast ingredients.
They served up slow cooked lamb neck, beetroot and citrus ravioli with a celeriac puree. It was paired with Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2014.
Preston’s | Cockburn Special Reserve
Located in Coal Harbour is Prestons Restaurant + Lounge serving up dishes with local and seasonal produce to keep the menu refreshing and innovative. As it is close to the financial district of Downtown, they have express lunch specials that will fit right into your lunch break.
Prestons was the finishing dish of the night presenting their Stilton cheesecake with walnut crumble, grape and port compote.
It was paired with Cockburn’s special reserve.
Sommelier of the Year | Bryant Mao’s Wine Pick
Bryant Mao is the Sommelier of the Year and his pick was a rich red wine – Emiliana Coyam.
The Emiliana Coyam displays intense dark violet-red color with aromas of ripe red and black fruits integrated with notes of spice, earth and a hint of vanilla. Beautifully balanced and full on the palate. Good structure with soft, round tannins. Elegant expressions of fruit delicately interwoven with oak, mineral, and toffee.
It was a good wine, but I’m more of a while wine drinker.
Overall, it was a great event! The food was flowing, the drinking were flowing, and it was great being able to meet the chefs up close and personal.
A big thanks to all the people behind the scenes making it happen. Being able to feed 500 people isn’t an easy feat.