At Bauhaus Restaurant expect to enjoy true upscale European cuisine that has travelled a smooth journey from European lands to our shores.
The name Bauhaus is based on the Bauhaus architectural movement circa 1919 when Walter Gropius had a vision of bridging the gap between art and industry by combining crafts and fine arts. That is where the similarities between the architectural movement and the Bauhaus Restaurant Culinary Experience begins and ends. Bridging the gap.
The Bauhaus Restaurant in Vancouver is a delightful culinary experience that is bridging the gap between European fine dining experiences and Canadian restaurants.
Upscale modern-day-German cuisine is created using delectable British Columbian products grown in and around Vancouver. The dishes are beautifully plated, paired with wines, and served at table by impeccably attired front of house professionals.
The most memorable dining out experience for me will always be based on a few key components; the people, the place, the food and wines, the creativity.
Bauhaus Restaurant is housed in a red brick heritage building at number 1 Cordova, right on the edge of the busy and trendy Gastown. The interior of high ceilings and brick walls are features that are unique to the, far and far too few, heritage buildings left in Vancouver.
There is a genius loci in the décor that is reminiscent of Bauhaus architecture. A bold and modernistic painting against an ancient brick wall showcases the past and the present that is the Bauhaus concept. Marble-top tables and futuristic chairs against another wall reminds me of an expensive après ski restaurant where one goes to relax and be pampered.
A state of the art wine room and a tastefully classy bar teases the imagination about the wines and cocktails experience waiting to be brought to table.
Warm lighting bounces off fragile stemware, while glass enclosed candles throw soft-sexy flickers onto the white tablecloths, giving an overall intimacy that is usually a part of the experience in fine dining European restaurants.
The entire room is bathed in pale golden light, while sheer-mesh window shades pull in the filtered outdoor scenery without the distracting views of traffic and curious people. European class abounds right here in the heart of one of Vancouver’s busiest tourists’ attraction neighbourhood.
The front of house staff is dressed in fashionable black. They are extremely knowledgeable about the wine list, and they know the intricacies of each dish. This group of industry professionals is what I would call an A-Team. Teamwork seems to be the main theme in this restaurant, as the front of house and the kitchen seem to have a cohesiveness that is rarely seen in the industry. They have an aura of pleasant energy about them. They smile often, and speak quietly to each other, and they glide, from the line to tables, with confidence. They are a poised and an adept team, so for me the classy décor and the classy people bring a welcome change to dining out in Vancouver.
An open-concept kitchen shows the chef and his team working in a beautiful choreography, like a well-rehearsed waltz they work in a graceful dance around each other. Chef seems to be everywhere, and yet his movements appear imperceptible as he moves from stations to line and back again. Their quiet energy and their deep respect for attention to detail on each plate enhances the entire dining experience.
The food and wines, the creativity of the chef.
We are lucky enough to be presented with an Amuse Bouche that hints at a summery culinary journey to commence. To simply describe this dish would be to name it fried camembert and raspberry preserve. But this dish is far from simple. A plump crisply coated croquette oozing with the sharp-creamy and earthy nuttiness of melted camembert, and the richly fruited cold raspberry preserve, produce an audible wow at the pop of summer’s merriment in my mouth.
For the first course, we choose the Chilled Cucumber Soup, with house cured salmon, horseradish mousse, compressed apple, and lace thin radish slices, in a dill mustard vinaigrette. I can definitely say, this is the best cold cucumber soup I have ever tasted. The light as a summer-ade broth is a perfect temperature, just cool enough to enhance (not mask) the flavours of the dish. The crisp flavour, and new-grass scent of cucumbers, the slight sting of horseradish and jalapeno, and the earthy spice of mustard, are all held together with the tang of the vinaigrette. It is a veritable sip of an early spring garden. I love the satisfying crunch of green apples combined with the buttery bites of cured salmon. The visual presentation and culinary creation of this dish paint a picture of a cool mountain top, on a warm summer’s day.
This dish was paired with the 2016 Fritz Haag “Brauneberger” Riesling Kabinett from Germany, a crisp and clean wine with undertones of orchard fruits, which really compliments the spice and tang of the dish.
For the second course, we opt for the Mackerel Ceviche, with celery and red peppercorn foam, passion fruit gel, and brioche cracker. The mackerel is as delightful as the temperate waters it came from, a firm and silken textured fish that captures all the fresh notes of a clean ocean. The flair of the deeply exotic passionfruit gel, and the scented airiness of the spicy foam is a mouthful to savour with my eyes closed. I love the brioche crackers that are as delicate as parmesan tuiles, and the nibbles of crackling passionfruit seeds placed just-so on the plate. This dish is a perfect combination of tastes, textures and temperatures, which makes for one delicious bite of summer. On the plate, it is an artwork reminiscent of a golden sunny sky peeking out from behind fluffy white clouds. The flavours are decadently rich and yet as light as a butterfly’s flit.
The wine pairing is the 2016 Robert Weil “Tradition” Riesling from Germany, which is a mineral focussed wine with lime and blood orange notes. This pairing is my favourite so far because it really compliments the freshness of the fish, while lifting up the sunniness of the passionfruit. Each bite and sip come together like a sweet melody meant to be together forever.
The third course, is one of the chef’s favourite (I am told) dishes that his grandmother made for him, a dish that is steeped in the countryside of Germany, and the traditions of his childhood days.
The dish? Veal Tongue, in a chive velouté, with potato pavé and rocket salad.
I am always on the hunt for a good veal tongue dish that can impress me, finally I have found it. The chef plays with textures, which is a huge component of a tongue dish. Secondly, he uses the savoury flavours of the drippings to enhance the grandmother’s sauce. Thirdly, he includes the most intricate potato pavé to remind me that I am here for a fine dining experience. The pavé of paper-thin potato slices, each brushed with warm butter, stacked, and then deep fried until the top puffs up like crisp chip, is an impressive side dish for this gorgeous comfort food. The veal tongue is thinly sliced and cooked to a soft bite perfection, the crisp rocket greens with its allusion of peppery-spice, and the sweetness and crunch of the julienned carrots play right into the savoury embrace of the sauce. In this one gorgeous bite, the chef manages to pay reverent homage to his childhood’s comfort food. This brilliant veal tongue creation leaves an indelible impression that will be hard to recreate elsewhere.
This is paired with a classic German Pinot Noir.
The fourth course, Roasted Cauliflower, with cauliflower purée, rice crème, sautéed spinach, pistachios and parmesan crisps, is divine. The rich umami tasting creamy risotto pairs well with the cauliflower done-two-ways. Add the garden fresh wilted spinach, nutty pistachio and parmesan crisps and I am in a culinary garden of Eden. And just when I think it is all just-perfect, there is the crowning glory of the addictive cheese crisps to scoop up each mouthful. I absolutely adore the combinations of mouthwatering sumptuousness, delicate greens, and exotic nuts all on one plate.
This is paired with an Italian Valpolicella, which, personally, I would not have chosen as I found the wine too heavy for such a summery vegetarian dish.
We are now arrived at the fifth course, the final frontier where I may be conquered for the sixth time. A chocolate dessert that is a play on the classic Black Forest cake. This dessert is as multifaceted and mystical as the Black Forest of Germany. It is sweet, dark, mysterious, sexy, and intricate. The dark chocolate base tastes as light as a chocolate sponge, and has the firm texture of a rich brownie. The dark chocolate ganache is bitter-delicious, and the dollops of sweet Chantilly cream lifts it up from its dense richness, while gel-drops of sour cherries and icy cherry sorbet pull it all together to encompass all the flavours and beauty of the world-renowned Michelin-stars-region in Germany.
This is paired with a 1998 Thunevin-Calvet Maury from France, a port-style fortified wine with chocolate and cherry notes. It is a great port-wine on its own, and it makes a good pairing.
My Final Thoughts
Germany entered a food revolution decades ago, they were among the first, and continues to lead the way, in sourcing fresh, local, and clean ingredients that are ethically produced by small farmers across the land. This is also part and parcel of the Bauhaus Restaurant’s concept.
At Bauhaus Restaurant, do not expect to sample North American versions of German classics that are “deconstructed” or “elevated”. Instead, expect to enjoy upscale European cuisine that has travelled a smooth journey from the regions of Germany to our shores.
There is not a dash of hidden agendas nor an iota of egotistical drama on Bauhaus Restaurant’s menu. The dishes are not “elevated”, infused”, “influenced” nor “constructed”. The chef’s creations are original, creative, artistic, seasonal and cleanly composed. I can tell from the dishes I enjoyed that this chef is extremely talented and innovative, with a vast love and respect for the ingredients that are grown close to home.
Bauhaus Restaurant is a culinary experience I will always savour, I was equally impressed by each and every dish I sampled, from the very first bite to the absolute last crumb. The incomparable service, the chef’s passion and expertise, the pairings, the location, the décor…they all invited me in, encompassed me, and took me away on a dining experience I will never forget.
Must try: Every dish mentioned above.
Getting there: Take a stroll to and from Bauhaus Restaurant Vancouver, walk the cobblestone streets through historic Gastown, or take a taxi there and back.