Being the recipient of the “Best New Restaurant” and “Best Upscale Restaurant” awards in 2012 from Vancouver Magazine, Mike and I were really looking forward to our lunch at Hawksworth (@HawksworthRest). Oh, and the chef, David Hawksworth, was also the recipient of the “Chef of the Year” award by the magazine. To say our expectations were high was an understatement.
The restaurant is located in the landmark Rosewood Hotel Georgia in the heart of downtown, Vancouver.
The first thing I noticed about the restaurant was its upscale décor and elegant atmosphere. Pearl banquettes and a shimmering chandelier featured in the middle of the dining room. I could see why this place is popular with the business lunch crowd. While the décor and lunch crowd gave it a very pretentious atmosphere, the service surprisingly didn’t seem so.
For wine-lovers, Hawksworth has an extensive wine list as well as a nice list of cocktails. I wasn’t in the mood for something alcoholic so I went with the Kalamansi Fizz – pure pomegranate juice, kalamansi, honey, ginger beer ($5). It was the refreshing drink I had been craving. The pomegranate was the dominant flavour in this drink with a mild ginger beer flavour.
To start, we ordered the Cioppino – Dungeness crab, manila clam, crispy bread ($16). The chunks of crab and clam were perfectly cooked and the flavour of the broth was spot on. A great way to start the meal and a delicious cioppino I’d order again in a heartbeat.
Next up was the Duck Confit Salad – soba, hoisin, cucumber, puffed wild rice ($16). It didn’t look like very much sitting in a little pile on the plate but it turned out to be a pretty substantial portion.
Mixed in the noodles were tender pieces of shredded duck confit. The sauce which coated the soba noodles consisted of sesame sauce, giving it a delicious Asian flavour. Another great dish!
Since the starters sounded better than the mains, we decided to only order one main and three starters. The third starter we ordered was the Caramelized Squid – chorizo, romesco, smoked almond, saffron ($15).
Like everything so far, the plate was beautiful (albeit small). It came with two pieces of tender squid which was complimented nicely with red pepper romesco. I also really enjoyed the smoked almonds which were served around the plate. The only part of the dish I wasn’t a fan of was the saffron risotto chips which weren’t very crispy.
For our main, we shared the Lois Lake Steelhead – mustard, spaetzle, fava bean, speck, crème fraiche ($24). I loved the presentation of the dish – like artwork on a plate which was almost too pretty to eat. The steelhead had a lovely crisp skin and was moist in the center.
The accompanying spaetzle was equally delicious! The spaetzle was well cooked and the combination of the leeks, radishes, fava beans, crème fraiche and pickled mustard seeds was brilliant. It was the perfect dish!
Overall, I had a fantastic lunch at Hawksworth. The restaurant is gorgeous, the presentation of the food was outstanding and each dish was nothing short of delicious. Given the high price point, save it for a special occasion!
At a glance:
• Named “Best New Restaurant”, “Best Upscale Restaurant” 2012 by Vancouver Magazine and its chef was named “Chef of the Year”
• Gorgeous, elegant dining room
• Outstanding presentation, delicious food to match
• High prices, save it for a special occasion
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 4.5 stars
• Atmosphere: 4.5 stars