This one has been a long time coming. My friend is a big fan of sushi and when she saw the Omakase menu from Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, she immediately reached out for us to dine with her. Unfortunately it is only available for lunch during the weekdays, with limited quantities available. This meant we all had to book a day off to enjoy this fresh seafood feast. So we three gathered together on a Thursday between 11-4pm.
In my opinion, this is one of the nicest hotel lobby bars in the city. Past the comfortable lounge with live music and glass fireplace is a bright space. All white with clean tables and stools, in front of a small sushi bar. We were given a spacious table in front of the three sushi chefs, who would be crafting our assembly to come. It was set with a couple of books and a couple of artificial potted plants.
Once again this feast is by reservation only, there isn’t even a listed menu, it is what ever is on hand on the day, and at the whim of our chef. Previously there was a 4 person minimum requirement to your party, but they have since been more flexible on this rule. It is $50 per person, served all together family style, but with the ability to divide servings evenly.
To start with, I decided to indulge in a cocktail flight. A limited edition trio that pays tribute to the four vintage and couture Versace dresses and jumpsuit that they currently have on display in the lobby. At $45 you are paying $15 for 3 smaller drinks, made with premium ingredients. The cost also included the lovely flight sheet with each cocktail’s descriptions and sketches of the fashions they took inspiration from.
The “Bombshell” was a light and fizzy glass on the sweeter side, but with pops of punchy liquor. It was finished off brilliantly with a tart cherry at the bottom. The cocktail was as bold in flavour and full of complexity as the pop art details of the jumpsuit it drew from. This was a fashion silk print of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.
Like the ruffled silhouette, the “High noon” too took its inspiration from the “Great American Cowboy”. Smokey, full bodied, and easy to sip with rich notes of sarsaparilla and all spice. It promises to keep you warm throughout the dark winter nights.
The “Pop art cosmo” takes inspiration from the 60’s, just like its dress pairing. Pop art graphics and bold colours. This twist on a cosmo includes cranberry and a hibiscus vodka. It is accented with mezcal and black raspberry liquor, giving you a deep and more alcohol forward beverage with tart pops.
As for our Omakase feast we started with their sablefish miso soup with pork belly, tofu, seaweed, and green onion. This was certainly the most luxurious miso soup I have ever enjoyed. With plenty of ingredients it ate more like a stew than soup. It was sweet and smokey, along with the regular salty and fishy flavour of miso. Although, I could have used a touch less oily grease per spoonful. Nonetheless I drank the bowl clean.
Next we each had two raw oysters in shell each. Typically they go for $5 per, and I can see why. These were some of the plumpest oysters I have ever had. Tasty and fresh. My guest said, “they were on steroids!” Served with tiny bottles of tabasco and the typical tomato and lemon vinaigrette, plus plenty of fresh horseradish to ladle on.
The following dishes were all presented on a long serving board, propped up on two wooden blocks. Everyone was given a taste of the following, grouped together before us. Four appetizers, four nigiri, and six various specialty sushi pieces. The following is the order in which we enjoyed them, doing so from lightest to heaviest.
The seaweed salad was a hearty mix with two clams in shell, two pieces of juicy shrimp, and a chunk of light sable fish.
The tuna tataki and spinach gomae was served room temperature. The pieces of tuna were tender and lightly seasoned, but I would have liked more sauce or some on the side to dip into. I passed on the mound of spinach, not enjoying the texture of wilted greens. Though my guests were more than happy to gobble up my share, so it must have been good.
The wild salmon was fragrant, a flavour only dampen by the amount of onion you could taste on it. A flavour that came from the gathering of onion sliced at the bottom of the cup, and not from actually eating any.
Next we enjoyed the nigiri that all came pre-seasoned with soy and wasabi. The Sardine nigiri was salty with no soy needed. It was a tangy and overwhelming on flavour.
By comparison the Shrimp nigiri was very light, fragrant with a hint of sweetness.
The Wild salmon was tasty, with more salmon flavour than the appetizer version above.
And the Tuna belly was luscious and certainly my favourite of the four.
Next we enjoyed some specialty rolls. Like their house roll: the “Lobby lounge roll”. An asparagus, avocado, cucumber, and shisho roll topped with salmon and hamachi. This was on overly herbaceous roll thanks to the herb.
I preferred the California roll made with real crab meat. The real shredded crab with creamy mayo made all the difference.
The Sesame albacore roll was made with plenty of sesame oil. It was fragrant and so nice that I wanted another taste.
Whereas the Wayu roll was disappointing. It was like a bite of meat and rice with vegetable. Whereas I would have liked the meat by itself, as an appetizer. It felt wasted to hide the grilled char of the meat behind rice and cucumber.
The Salmon motoyaki was my favourite of the six rolls. The gooey cheese sauce flavoured it well, adding a mouthwatering creaminess to the bite.
And the Lobster roll was good, but it tasted much like the California roll crab, but saltier. I wanted a more buttery flavour from this and from lobster in general.
And we saved the best for last. A serving of creamy uni made into a salad with ikura, shisho, and seaweed. My guest immediately declared, “This is what good uni tastes like”. It didn’t have a strong seafood taste, it was mild and melted in your mouth. Rich, buttery, and good.
And as a nice treat the restaurant surprised our birthday girl with a celebratory dessert platter to share. An assembly of chocolate, chocolate covered fruit, and macarons on a bed of cocoa nibs.
The Chocolate covered Strawberry with edible gold paint was delicious. I definitely recommend ordering yourself a plate for your next occasion.
The Yuzu macaron was citrus fresh, a little orange and a little lemon in a crisp shell with smooth cream.
The Cherry blossom chocolate was a beautiful dark chocolate enrobing a tart cherry centre.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The omakase menu is definitely worth checking out during lunch time. But as a whole Lobby Lounge is one of my favourite places to grab a beautiful cocktail at, with live music in an opulent setting. Don’t deny your cravings.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver BC, V6C OB9