The sun is out in full blast and it already feels like summer, which means it is patio season. And you need not go all the way downtown for a hot outdoor spot to post up at. Did you know that Social has Commercial Drive’s only roof top patio? And that it is the perfect place to catch the sun and a handful of drinks?
We were invited to said patio for their launch party, as a way to usher in the season. This was my first time at the lively spot, let alone their roof. And let me tell you right now, this is one you want to make a reservation for. There isn’t a view per se, but the ability to be high above the crowds of people strolling The Drive’s popular streets cannot be beat.
Walking past the neon signs and the lush plant life of their main dining area is already a treat with much to see. So it is no surprise that the patio is just as well designed. Equipped with its own bar and space for a DJ, this was curated to be one of those spots that take you from dinner to the Afterparty.
We were seated against the far wall and it gave me the feeling of being on vacation to some where sunny and tropical with jungle wall paper, wicker chairs, macramé and plant holders, and leather booth seats. Plus rounded mirrors on the wall that made you feel like you were in an RV driving on the coast of California.
During the time of our visit Social had employed a new chef, who was originally from Chambar, so I was expecting elevated flavours. And everyone else on the table, who had visited prior to, declared that the food today was a lot better today. We were given a collection of would be best selling small plates and free reign of the whole summer drink menu. Starting with drinks.
The Social Pups was a fun one, a rotation of boozy slushes served in cups with their own nostalgic logo. Today it was a fun and sweet Peach Bellini, topped with a candied peach ring. This was a great way to keep cool, while keeping it boozy.
Another fun cocktail for the child at heart is their Juice Box. A rotating selection of fruity juice boxes, topped with a mini bottle of vodka. Today it was classic tropical Asian fruit flavours that I grew up with, but made for the liquor loving adult that I have become. Lychee, Guava, and Mango. The first few sips are alcohol-free, as the more you drink the more room in the box clears and the more vodka can seep in. Leaving you with a fairly stiff drink at the end.
Looking for more easy to crush cocktails on the sweeter side, but stronger than our juices above? The Miss Tiki is spiced rum, grapefruit, and lime served in a glass tumbler.
And the Pink Diamond is Gin, Elderflower, lemon, and grapefruit served in a coupe.
And many are already familiar with the classic Aperol Spritz, which is a mix of Aperol and Prosecco.
For those wanting a mid day pick me up, there is the classic Espresso Martini with vodka, Kahlua, and a shot of espresso.
However ever I would recommend the spiked Chai Latte with Vodka, Baileys, Kahlúa, and chai tea. Although there was hardly any of the latter. I got none of the warming ginger from the chai, and it was more mocha, with minimal liquor.
As the drinks kept coming we began grazing. Served for the group, I cannot be certain if this is how they are plated and would come to you, if you order it on your next visit. So keep that in mind as your read and scroll through the photos.
The Seared calamari with scallions, red pepper, Korean BBQ sauce, black sesame, and cilantro was wonderful. The squid was cut into thick chunks so you can feel how tender and chewy each segment was. A great one to eat for texture, and for those like me, who prefer their 8 armed mollusks cooked juicy and not fried dry.
The Ceviche was a medley of red snapper, citrus, red onion, corn, red pepper, jalapeño, cucumber, and fresh herbs. Served with corn tortilla chips. Given the amount of chips made available, I would have liked more ceviche to share. The seafood was softened by the acid of the citrus, sweet from the corn, and zesty from the fragrant raw red onion.
If this is how their tacos are actually served, I like how it was easy to share with even numbers, and a plate comes with two different proteins. Either braised beef or Cajun prawn tacos with pineapple, pico de gallo chilli, Crema, and cilantro. As for how they tasted, they were a little on the milder side, I could have used more seasoning and dressing, with a lot more tangy crema to balance out the salt.
The Beet salad with arugula, goat cheese, candy, walnuts, pesto vinaigrette, and balsamic reduction was a nice refreshing option. Especially if it is a hot day on their strategically covered patio. As for the way it tasted, it was refreshing with the sweet beets, and fresh from the spicy greens.
The Soba noodle bowl would be ideal for someone looking for a larger portion that is a lot more filling. A hearty noodle bowl with cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, snap pea, red pepper, fried shallots, seared ahi tuna, Thai basil, and a soy Dashi vinaigrette. Bland for my taste, the red fish received most of its flavour from the fragrant sesame seed crusting.
And everyone’s favourite dish of the night was the Butternut Squash Ravioli with prawn and pesto, lemon cream, prawns, parmigiano, roasted squash, and a balsamic reduction. A great texture, the ravioli is sweet at its centre with a nice gummy chew. The shrimp could have used some seasoning.
And for dessert we tried their Croissant Apple Tart with some pageantry. A butter croissant topped with five spice caramel, apple, vanilla bean ice cream, and pecans. Served warm, this was nice contrast to the ice cream.
And if you just want Ice cream they have an Ice Cream Sunday for a classic frozen dessert with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, cornflakes, peanuts, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.
In short Social lives up to its name. A fun spot to go and be social at, with new menu items, fun drinks, and a roof top that gives you a quick tan in between visits.
1812 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A5