I found myself in the great company of Areta (@foodgressing) and Diana (@foodologyca) sitting inside of Botanist, one of the most gorgeous restaurants in the city. I was looking forward to this dinner for a while now. The fairly new in-house restaurant at the luxury Fairmont Pacific Rim is entirely inspired by the luscious greenery of the Pacific Northwest, from the interior design, the cocktails to their signature dishes, earning the restaurant numerous awards, including “Best New Design”, “Best New Restaurant (Silver)”, and “Sommelier of the Year” at the Restaurant Awards 2018.
I was truly impressed with the green interiors and the botanic garden inspired surroundings, from the cocktail bar and lab, the outdoor garden, the champagne lounge, to the spacious dining room. My friend Sam was proud of some of his works here when he was working at ByNuture Design and participated in developing the concept.
Botanist is also known for their creativity on hand-crafted cocktails, and their dedicated cocktail lab. I ordered the B&T ($16), the in-house interpretation of classic Gin & Tonic, and was dazzled by the layers of incredible flavours from gin, Fino sherry, tonic, and the in-house Botane tincture made with lemon balm, elderflower, and spruce. The glass was also misted with mezcal for a hint of smokiness.
The complimentary house-made Fougasse Bread arrived first. The hearty bread was topped with herbs and seeds, reminding me the indigenous cuisine I had in Kelowna last summer.
As we decided on the chef’s omakase menu (6 courses for $108), I also was willing to trust their award-winning wine program and got the wine pairing option ($40). This is a great value with trying 6 different wines carefully selected by the wine director of Fairmont Hotels, and the Sommelier of the Year, Jill Spoor, who also happened to be greeting us at our table this evening. I was feeling extremely honoured.
(Note: the wine pairing option is now $50)
The visually stunning amuse bouche is the Sturgeon Chicharron, topped with fermented vegetables.
It is paired with: Zanatta Fantasia Brut. The Canadian sparkling wine was crisp and slightly fruity, perfect for savory and subtly sweet bites of seafood.
The first course is the Texture of Beets, featuring beets prepared in different ways such as raw and roasted, also with pecans, orange, Ashley Goat cheese. This is another super vibrant dish that meets the eyes, but also an elegant way to showcase the beautiful local ingredients that are absolutely refreshing.
It is paired with: Domaine Lucien Crochet – Sancerre Le Chene 2015.
The 2nd course is the Sunchoke Veloute, served with a perfectly cooked lobster tail, and chive chantilly. Always a fan of sunchoke for the sweetness and earthiness, I enjoyed the veloute to the very drop. The lobster is a delicious bonus but does not distract my taste buds from the luscious liquid.
This is paired with Roux Père & Fils Chardonnay Bourgogne.
The 3rd course is the Diver Scallop, served with Brussel sprouts, and guanciale celeriac foam. The sizeable piece of scallop was perfectly seared, juicy and succulent. The celeriac foam is a great binder of all the flavours and textures on the plate.
The dish is paired with Domaine de la Mordorée la Reine Des Bois Lirac 2016.
The 4th course is the Bison, served with Saskatoon berries, mushrooms, and cauliflower. The bison was also cooked to perfection. The very lean piece of game meat was complemented well by the acidity from the berries. The chef has tamed the wild and turn it into a dish that stimulates all your senses.
This course is paired with Ferraton Pere & Fils 2016 Samorens Blanc Côtes du Rhône.
The desert course is the Hakuju Choclate Pate, with passionfruit pulp, and licorice ice cream. Even at dessert, the chef let the natural flavours of the fresh ingredients really shine through, exhibiting some immaculate culinary techniques.
The final wine paring is Fonseca Porto, organic reserve port from Portugal.
The Wine Pairing
Overall the wine pairing was impeccable. I really like how the wine director keeps most of the wines refreshing white or rose for the fresh and light coastal theme. The whole fine dining experience was definitely elevated by the wine choices.
The 6-course tasting menu at Botanist represents one of the best in the city with locally sourced ingredients and classic flavors. It is an incredible deal for $108. If you are a wine lover, the wine pairing option is a must-have, as it was curated carefully by the wine director, Jill Spoor, who has won the Sommelier of the Year in 2018. I was honoured to have Jill herself at our table, and to witness her amazing knowledge of wines, which was a part of the whole elevated fine dining experience. Highly recommended!
Update: the wine pairing option is now $50
Fairmount Pacific Rim
1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B9
(604) 695-5500 or botanistrestaurant.com