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When they no longer carry something listed on the menu, due to quality issues.
Our night of hotel bar hopping ended here, and there was no better place for satisfying snacks after several empty cocktails glasses later. Located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel by Burrard skytrain station. It’s location made them an easy drinking destination and its title lured you in. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that their drinks menu was extensive. But not just beer, like their name suggests, but they also had plenty of wine and cocktails to choose from too.

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The restaurant entrance is through the hotel doors, at a sharp right. The glow of the spotlights past red tinted glass was alluring. The 360 degree bar anchored the space. And around it, tables circled the perimeter of the room. The high tops that looked out on to the street below have thanks to tall windows. It was quite the spot for people watching and for those on the street to spot you. We helped ourselves to one of the booths against the wall. The faux leather seats made for a comfortable stay. Similarly upholstered was the lounge sectionals between us and the bar. They definitely accommodated larger groups for longer stays. And with the ample space between seating options, you had the comfort of limited privacy from your table to the next. This would be a great after dinner group option, or a nice setting to meeting and mingle at. They certainly offered enough alcoholic beverages to fuel it.

The drink menu had plenty on it that peaked my interest; but as our last stop of the evening, I was six cocktails deep and knew i had to draw the line at only one more. Though there was plenty to keep me seconding guessing my choice. There was a cheery basil margarita and the “ruby Tuesday” came with fresh strawberries. The “Java the nut” combined cold brew coffee with hazelnut and coconut liqueur and walnut bitters. The “Vancouver fog” combined steamed milk with earl grey infused whiskey and earl grey infused vodka. And they claimed that “the perfect gin and tonic” included wallflower gin, fever free tonic, and orange essence.

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Lots to filter through, but true to form I insisted that we went for the most unique. “Ginger pear martini” with odd society vodka, Okanagan spirits pear brandy, sweet and sour, ginger of the indies, and fresh pear. It delivered on its promise of pear and ginger. A light, yet heated cocktail that warmed with sweet pear. The “Curious Georgia” had me curious. It was with odd society vodka, banana liquor, SOS cold brew coffee, and house made peanut butter syrup. Reading the ingredient list you expected a dessert, and you got it with every sip. It was like a grown up peanut butter cup with an air of ripe banana. It was rich and fragrant, a great dessert to end our drinking on. Though as good as it was, this wasn’t one to have with food. It was definitely a stand alone drink. When I cut myself off and stopped drinking, our server was nice enough to come and ask if the cocktail was ok and to my satisfaction, as it was pushed to the side.

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In support of “Movember” they had a special menu where $1 from every specific drink or dish ordered went to support men’s health issues. We wanted the bison balls, but went for the spicy version to support the cause. It was aptly named “Balls on fire”. This was red currant and juniper berry glazed spicy bison meat balls, served along side a drunken cherry and pear mostada. “Mostada” is an Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard‑flavoured syrup. This sweeter sauce balanced out the spiciness from the Indian spices of coriander and cilantro. It was a zesty and hearty one bite mouthful. A great snack to have along side a cooling pint. Although we were the only ones ordering food, I was still amazed at the speed in which the kitchen pushed out our dishes.

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Meat and cheese is also a great snack-able item after heavy drinking, so we went for a “charcuterie and cheese board”. A great choice to causally pick at, without the need to worry about it cooling down. It would just as good 20 minutes after it touches the table top. The price was determined by serving: two, three, or four meats paired with two, three, or four cheeses. Served with toasted baguette, candied walnuts, cornishons, grainy mustard, honey, and fresh berries.

My guest has dietary restrictions so we had a double serving of the “Elk chorizo”. The rest were hams or made from a hybrid of meats; including pork, which she can’t have. Like duck breast with pork shoulder and jowl, or bison with pork. I cannot describe the chorizo better than the menu does, “lean elk cured and seasoned with paprika and mixed spices, rendering the sausage with a sweet, deep smokey flavour”. Cut thin, it was the perfect light slice, that wasn’t gamey or too salty. You could eat it as is and be able to enjoy all the above mentioned seasonings. It perfectly accompanied the salty and creamy cheeses and the sweet and crunchy sides.

With the cheeses, once again the menu did justice in describing it in vivid detail. I have never read such an informative menu. It laid out and gave me exactly what it promised. The “La maison alexis de portneuf” is a “Vegetable ash covered, soft, surface ripen goat cheese. It has a smooth ivory body enveloped by a marble textured rind. Fairly strong, acidic, and slightly sour in flavour”. If you really take your time to taste it, you can make our the sour and smokey notes. The “Natural pastures Buffalo Brie” was an “exotic twist on their world champion comox Brie”, made with “rich water buffalo milk from the island.” In general, you can’t go wrong with a buttery, creamy Brie.

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The plate as a whole fit together perfectly. We just needed more bread to use as a base to eat it all with. But that was easy enough to order more of.

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I was impressed that the Chef brought out our charcuterie platter himself and took the time to explain each of the elements to us. When I pointed out that we didn’t get actually get what we asked for, but weren’t actually fussy about it, the chef insisted and brought out a sample of their Camembert cheese. This would be a new cheese added on to the menu, rotating something that he didn’t quite like out. This was something that wasn’t on the menu yet, that we got to try ahead of time, at no additional cost. I was impressed by the extra step he took to add joy to our time here.

It was a similar case for the “marinaded charred octopus”. I had my eye on this appetizer, but was informed that they currently didn’t carry it. They withdrew it from the menu because the chef wasn’t behind it 100%. I was disappointed to not be able to get want the menu offered, but at the same time appreciated the caring and the attention to the craft of cooking. The chef invited us to return again and often as the menu is always being updated and improved with each change. Based on his knowledge I will assume he is head chef.

 

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.
I definitely want to explore several facets of this restaurant more. I was impressed by everything. From walking through their internal entrance, to sitting at one of the well spaced booths, to exploring the menu, and conversing with the staff. It just seemed to get better with each interaction. There is just so much I want to try, and I would also like to keep my word to visit again. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GRAIN
655 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC, V6C 2R7
604-639-4768
grainvbc.ca
Grain Tasting Bar - Hyatt Regency Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato