The Fairmont Pacific Rim is one of my favourite hotels in Vancouver. It’s unique exterior is wrapped with poetry from UK artist Liam Gillick.
From the ultra-chic interior lobby and lounges, to the TVs in the bathrooms, no detail is overlooked. This is THE place to stay and even celebrities like Lady Gaga and Rihanna are drawn to the hotel.
So I was delighted to attend a recent media dinner at the hotel’s Oru Restaurant this week.
The restaurant has undergone a menu transformation and now positions itself as a hotspot for food from the Pacific Northwest with flavours from the Pacific Rim.
Executive Chef Darren Brown joined Oru in October 2011 and set to work overhauling the menu.
His 2-page biography is telling of his fascinating culinary background, which includes opening Whistler’s Quattro restaurant, working at Las Vegas Mandalay Bay hotel and being the private chef on Merv Griffin’s 150-foot yacht.
Brown is passionate about working with local providers and preparing as much as possible in-house. He gets produce from Notch Hill Organics in Mission and cheeses from award-winning Natural Pastures farm on Vancouver Island.
Oru’s menu reflects the locally sourced and sustainable West Coast foods and Brown’s own background working with flavours from Japan, Polynesia, France and South America.
Last night began with SkyBar’s signature Bijou cocktails and a selection of appetizers, including a trifecta of goodness: Short Rib Poutine, Chicken and Chorizo Poutine and Spot Prawn Poutine. We also enjoyed the SkyBar take on the mini BLT with house-made bacon.
Having just moved to Vancouver from Whistler, I loved the sweet irony that both chefs got their start in Whistler back in the 1990s. Their history in the kitchen dates back more than 18 years
Now..for the main event: dinner!
Sunchoke Soup – velouté of roasted sunchokes, finished with a truffle foamed milk.
Notch Hills Beet Salad – pickled and poached baby Sorrento beets, beet chutney, chimichurri vinaigrette, cabrales blue cheese.
Qualicum Island Diver Scallops – sesame sweet peas, cauliflower purée, smoked salmon chiar su lardons, preserved lemon condiment.
“Kalua” Pork Belly – Fraser Valley pork belly, oven-dried pineapple, maple-mustard glaze, fried sage, pork cracklings, lotus root purée.
Sake Cured Haida Gwaii Sablefish – Alaskan salt cod brandade, butter poached sunchoke, melted leeks, fennel and chorizo, tomato-mirin broth.
Strawberry Rhubarb Vacherin with buttermilk ice cream.
Chocolate Four Ways.
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to, I would choose two: the pork belly and sabelfish. The pork belly had an almost tropical flavour and I could totally imagine eating something similar in Hawaii or Polynesian islands. Meanwhile, the sablefish was cooked to perfection with a delicious crispy exterior.
Throughout the dinner, Chef’s passion was infectious. I love the new take on Pacific Rim meets Pacific Northwest cuisine and believe that this restaurant has big things in its future.
Connect With Oru
Twitter – @FairmontPacific #oruCuisine
Facebook – facebook.com/fairmontpacificrim
Web – orucuisine.com