Although the term Fraserhood is yet used on any realtor map, it has become the name of a trendy area for foodies. Covering blocks on Fraser street from Kingsway to King Edward, we have discovered new restaurants, cafés and ice cream shops in this area every month. Just opened this past December, The Eastwood is located at 4245 Fraser Street, with a 1300-sqft dining space, seating about 60 at the rustic and elegant wooden tables and bar designed by the owners, Alex Kyriazis and Ari Demosten, as Alex’s own design and fabrication company helped the construction. Alex’s impressive design works also include MeeT on Main.
I was invited to taste a few dishes at The Eastwood and had a chat with Executive Chef Marc Kalvari. Marc told me that he was fortunate to work with such a passionate team in such a friendly neighbourhood, and inspired to strive on their direction, cooking casual comforting pub fare with a modern pan-pacific twist.
I started with a refreshing pint of Royal City Ale by local brewster Steel & Oak, one of the 8 beers on tap at the bar here, where a selection of beers and ciders by the bottle, a wine list and a cocktail menu are also available
The Cowboy Burger looked like a hybrid of a sloppy joe and a burger. The beef patty was cooked to perfection, topped with a vegetarian chilli, and served with German pretzel buns. I honestly couldn’t tell there was no meat in the chilli before Chef Marc told me so, making it even more comforting when there is no guilty pleasure. Using the pretzel buns was a result from the chef’s experiments, and he seemed to have succeeded – the buns hold up well against the chilli and eating a sloppy joe doesn’t have to be so sloppy!
The Mussels in White Wine was another classic with a twist. The chef attempts to bring out the umami in the seafood by using a fish broth. The shellfish meat was cooked perfectly – plump, tender and juicy. However, I thought the broth could be a little less seasoned, as the mussels had released enough saltiness when cooked with white wine.
The Cauliflower Bites was presented in front of me like a plate of fried oysters. After the first bite, I already wanted to declare it as the winner of all the fried cauliflower dishes that I had tasted. The beer batter on the sizable bites was light and crispy, while the cauliflower was warm and succulent. Completing the dish and drizzled on top, the Eastwood sauce was a light BBQ sauce balanced with both sweet and savoury flavours.
I also had a taste of the Sticky Toffee Pudding, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The warm pudding was ] comforting and worked beautifully with the ice cream.
I recommend the Cauliflower Bites and the Cowboy Burger here, which are more than the typical pub fare. While the Eastwood has quickly established as the neighbourhood pub for the trendy crowd, bringing more energy to the area, I’m seeing the passion in the cooking as well. Their comfort dishes are well executed with well-thought details, and they definitely have the potential to rock in lunch or dinner services, or even weekend brunch, although that might require them to have a bigger dessert menu if they want to attract a wider range of audience.
* All food and beverages in this review were complimentary. Opinions are on the reviewer’s own