Friday, June 20, 2014

Copper Chimney at the Hotel Le Soleil

I have lived in Vancouver my whole life. I eat out a lot. I love Indian food. AND I worked kitty-corner from this restaurant for one entire year. Why haven't I heard of this place?

I recently attended a Yelp event here and think I found the answer after speaking with one of the managers: this is the hotel restaurant for Le Soleil on Hornby Street, and the vast majority of the people who dine here are staying at the hotel. Up until 2013, the restaurant had not made a huge effort to market themselves to the local clientele, despite being in business for thirteen years. I tend to avoid hotel restaurants because I (perhaps paranoiacally) feel that they can lower their standards due to the fact that they have captive patrons. Also, they tend to be stuffy. I am pleased to report that this is not the case with Copper Chimney, which offers thirty-foot ceilings, open seating, a long bar, and spicy fare! Also, the menu has not fallen prey to the traps of typical Vancouver Indian cuisine. Copper Chimney is very proud of its tandoori oven, and they incorporate tandoori-roasted items - such as eggplant, prawns, and salmon - into accessible dishes such as crab cakes and flatbread. There ain't no aloo gobi here!

Not only was I impressed with this restaurant's staff, ambiance, and food, Copper Chimney also threw one of the best Yelp events I have ever been to, and I have been to many over my five years as an Elite reviewer. There were drinks at the door, endless samples of the tandoori prawns and steak flatbread, and generous pours. The prices are on the high side when considering the plethora of great eating options downtown, but I will recommend the Copper Chimney in the future due to the great service and wonderful items I sampled.

Keywords: Alex Dawkins, Best Vancouver Indian, Hotel Le Soleil Vancouver

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Harvest Deli in Vancouver

I live four blocks from Harvest Deli and have now eaten ten sandwiches from this tiny Kitsilano deli. In fact, I am eating a BAM right now, and honestly think it may be the best sandwich I have ever had: grilled and buttered sourdough, generous amounts of crispy bacon, ripe avocado, caramelised onions, arugula, melted aged cheddar, and russian dressing. It is super super awesome. I just turned to my girlfriend to ask her to contribute to this review, but her BAM disappeared after the first sentence. Amazingly good.

Each sandwich is made to order and the ingredients are very very fresh, and thoughtfully composed. The owner also makes two soups fresh every day, and service is prompt and polite. I lived in the UK for several years, and there are sandwich shops in every neighbourhood. Whether it is due to VanCity's fear of carbs, or due to our city's eclectic tastes and wide variety of ethnic options, Vancouver has surprisingly few delis and sandwich shops. When done right, a sandwich is the perfect food, and HD has restored my passion for these simple yet satisfying snacks.

I have a few minor criticisms. Their multigrain bun is fairly dense and detracts from the delicious fillings within. Also, the business has been working on its branding and signage for about a year, and this gives the shop a "temporary" and slightly unprofessional feel. There are over two dozen sandwich options, but the menu is a bit confusing and wordy. Once you know how to navigate through it, everything is fine and scrumptious...but I was intimidated by it the first time I explored it. Nitpicking aside, I am a HUGE fan and a bi-weekly supporter of Harvest Deli. Mmmmmmm.

PS - A good tactic to tackle HD's massive menu: bring a buddy, order two sandwiches, and then split them. Bam!