If you happen to know me, you’ll know that I have serious issues with punctuality. Yes, I’m the one who always shows up anywhere between 10-60 minutes after the designated meeting time, bustling in and blubbering apologies and feigned excuses. You see, if I’m not driving, I like to live life in the right lane. Say you were speeding up Granville Street at double the speed-limit. As you’re tearing up the road illegally, have you ever looked to the side to see the Chinese protesters, looked behind you to see the rich businessmen and Asian aunties in their Porsches, or the walls of trees that are slowly being rezoned into more liveable land space in Vancouver? As such, if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, life’s going to pass you by. Why, on my way to Yew for brunch one fine Saturday morning, I could have missed the opportunity to see all of the eventful sights that one may encounter while using public transport if I didn’t take my time getting there! As such, I was tardy in true #RHOVChristina style, but at least I managed to get there at all. Doesn’t my arrival matter more than the inconsequential amount of extra time that I took in getting there?
In any case, Yew is located in the Four Seasons downtown and is a perfect example of the revolutionized hotel-restaurant. The four of us came here with a Groupon-esque coupon for brunch; I cannot recall the actual site, as there seem to be quite the plethora of them nowadays. The deal offered a set brunch, with options for the appetizer, entree and dessert for a discounted price. The regular price for all of this is now going for $29. As I did not taste the majority of my companions’ other dishes, I cannot commentate fully and thus invite you to ogle over the photographs.
The interior is spacious, bright and heavily utilizes wood in its decor. The restaurant describes itself as being at “tree-top level” and is named after a type of tree, so this is sensible. It serves to give the restaurant a more natural yet still refined feel. I liked the fact that the lighting was quite ideal for photography.
After ordering, some complimentary mini-doughnuts were the first to arrive. These came with a mango mint sauce on the side. I appreciated these round little bad boys, as I was quite hungry after my lengthy foray with public transport.
Dipped into the sauce, the doughnuts were quite soft with a slight amount of crisp from the exterior. Their basal flavour was much less sweet and differed from that of the tangier sauce, which allowed each morsel to avoid the “sweet-on-sweet” phenomenon that these could easily fall into. For a plate that was free, these were a very nice way to start the meal.
For my appetizer, I ordered the crispy baby calamari, which was accompanied by spicy mayo. The pieces were thankfully not over-battered and quite sizeable for being “baby” pieces. The squid itself had a nice chew. In terms of flavour, they were seasoned well and accentuated by the sauce on the side, which added a bit of heat to make the dish a bit more exciting.
The above is the croissant French toast, which included rum raising toast, caramelized apple, and pecans. A variation on your classic French toast, this looks pleasing. Like the calamari, these were served in a clean-cut skillet of sorts. This gave a rustic feel to the presentation of these dishes.
This prawn and Asian pear salad was ordered. As I am allergic to shrimp, I cannot attest as to how this dish tasted. However, the ingredients certainly look very fresh.
Their much buzzed about lobster rolls were also an option. Along with lobster, they included avocado and cucumber and were finished with a passionfruit glaze. It reminded me of a Vietnamese salad roll, but I cannot continue this analogy due to my allergies to lobster, too. I pretty much live kosher, really.
Being the fatass that I am, I opted for The Burger as my main. It was served with a mountain of fries and greens. Included in this behemoth was an Angus beef patty accompanied by Portobello mushroom, caramelized onion, aged white cheddar cheese, bacon, and BC blueberry and balsamic house-made ketchup.
I mean, look at the size of this thing. This is probably three time as large as your conventional Bic Mac; increase that amplification factor if you want to throw quality and flavour into the discussion. The buns were firm and just the right size to hold the contents together without unnecessarily increasing the height of the sandwich further. The cheese had melted directly on to the patty, which tasted smoky and was essentially ideal for teeth-sinking in terms of texture. The components melded well together and provided quite an enjoyable experience. As for the sides, the fries were lightly crispy and went well with more of the house-made ketchup.
A variation of the classic eggs florentine, the West Coast Benedict was also ordered. The eggs and spinach rest upon dungeness crab cakes. How innovative!
Your standard Yew Benedict was also an option for the entree. The large, yolky eggs served on top of serrano ham, manchego and roasted tomatoes and glazed with hollandaise sauce were appreciated.
Finally, the deluxe breakfast item of choice, the Steak & Eggs, also made an appearance. This was a plate of medium-rare braised short rib drizzled with pesto sauce and served with your egg preparation of choice, which was, in this case, scrambled. If you’re lacking protein…
For dessert, we were given the option to order three of the items in a trio. For the sake of curiosity, I ensured that each one of us somehow managed to order each individual dessert. One of these was the creme brûlée. Adorned with a piece of crystallized pineapple, the top was glazed well and cracked easily. The entire thing had quite the rich flavour that ventured towards the overly sweet side of the spectrum.
This was a tart. It was cute.
Fittingly enough, the cake pops are served to you with their sticks submerged into a glass of sugar. Although this imagery is certainly quite innovative, it has a tendency to heighten the sweetness you will already taste from these darling goods.
These were a cut above your Starbucks variety indeed.
The trifle was rich and creamy.
The pineapple ravioli was not what I was expecting when it arrived as a shooter of sorts. Nonetheless, it was light and refreshing, acting as a nice contrast against the sweetness of the other members of the trio.
In the end, Yew is a delight to the senses, what with its beautiful decor, thoughtful plate presentation, and creative dish ideas. Even at the standard price, this brunch offers a great value with the large variety of the high-quality options if you want to indulge. Despite the fact that we were a bunch of Asians taking advantage of an online deal, the service was still cordial and attentive. Of course, even in such a setting, one would have to expect this for that burger. Hm. Regardless, we left full and happy.
Conclusion: Andy ate a lot.
YEW Restaurant + Bar
791 W Georgia St.