I was very fortunate to have a first look at the newly updated dinner menu at award-winning Fayuca in Yaletown. As one of the most unique restaurants in Vancouver, Fayuca represents the Northern Mexican cuisine, a very different genre from the traditional Mexican fare that most people are familiar with. If you think the latin-inspired dishes are progressive at Tacofino, Fayuca is at another whole level.
The new menu follows the same concept, flirting with culinary ideas from the stretch between Baja and SoCal along the Pacific coast. Just look at the talents behind the new menu: Jair Tellez, one of Mexico’s most recognized progressive chefs, Ernesto Gomez, a principal of Nuba for years and the founder of Chancho Tortilleria, and Martin Vargas, the youngest of the three and always full of fresh ideas.
The menu has covered well for whole spectrum – meat eaters, seafood lovers, and vegetarians alike, featuring in-season local produce, farmed products that are organic and chemical free, whenever possible. All seafood is sustainable and wild caught.
The guest of the evening joining the dinner is my friend Alonzo, a visiting friend form Guadalajara, Mexico. I was curious how he would think of the food here.
There is some significant update on the cocktail menu as well. The crafted cocktails here pay tribute to Mexico’s esoteric mysticism, as the eatery is also known for the largest collection of mezcal in the city. My Chihuahuense ($14) has a raw sexiness with the smoky mezcal and the essence of green cactus, while the Chiquila ($13) impressed my guest with pleasant flavours from Quintana. I also had to try the Gibraltar ($17)from the the “Gintoneria”, which is the “G&T” section that most modern restaurants and bars would have nowadays. Spanish G&T is such a thing for me these days, and it’s always fun to see unique creations from different talented bartenders. Fayuca’s artisanal beverage program is well curated. Not to mention that all the wines here are natural and free of sulfites. Fayuca also pours beer from the best local breweries.
For a vegetarian friendly starter, we enjoyed the native corn tostadas ($10)loaded with oyster mushrooms, spicy aioli and finely shaved feta. While the toppings are bold and flavourful, especially the oyster mushrooms, the taste of corn comes through beautifully too, with a nice crunch for the texture.
As a seafood lover, I couldn’t resist how good the yellow eye rockfish ($18) and the octopus & pork belly ($21) sound, both new on the menu. The chef’s primitive-psychedelic design shows, as the components are similarly arranged on the plates. The rockfish came in big succulent chunks, with perfectly cooked potatoes for a nice softer texture contrast, as well as soft flour tortilla as the vessel. The octopus is paired with pork belly and the marriage is a fun and flavourful one. I just couldn’t get over how vibrant and tasty the dishes were, and my Mexican guest was genuinely impressed as well. Seemingly rustic, the dishes have a great level of elegance and refinement.
Alonzo saw the lamb sopes ($16) on the menu and got excited. This is something he’s familiar with back home. And he’s happy with the version here. The pulled lamb meat is a pure satisfaction for meat lovers, hats off for the elevation from the soft and fluffy sopes that makes the bite perfect.
It’s a home run.. It’s a triumph! Everything we tasted tonight was absolutely delicious. A fan of traditional Mexican food or not, you would find connections with some or all of the dishes here, as they have gone beyond borders. The menu is also of great value, and great fun for sharing amazing food with amazing friends.
$$ – $$$
1009 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4
(604) 689-8523 or fayuca.ca
* All food and beverages tasted in this post were complimentary. Opinions are on the reviewer’s own.