Hawksworth Restaurant Redefines Contemporary West Coast Cuisine
Consistently recognised as one of Canada’s top restaurants, Chef Hawksworth defines Canadian contemporary dining. Growing up in Greater Vancouver, I have strolled past Hawksworth countless times. This was my first visit, and expectations were high given the restaurant’s local and global reputation for excellence.
Hawksworth is situated at the iconic Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Centrally located across the Vancouver Art Gallery, and walking distance to high fashion Alberni Street, Robson Street and the Granville Street entertainment district.
The team at Hawksworth is welcoming and accommodating. Whether you are hoping to sample a dish that’s no longer on the menu or concerned about dietary restrictions, this team is pleased to support your needs.
To elevate your experience, have a discussion with the sommelier who can recommend wine pairings for any meal or mood. The Wine Room houses a beautiful collection of wine from British Columbia’s boutique wineries to vineyards from around the world in a centrally located glass house. Your questions are welcome, and met with delightful options. This evening, Sommelier Roger Maniwa provided recommendations based on our preferences and selections.
The seafood platter for two was served with oyster and caviar, sliced geoduck, side stripe shrimp cocktail, and Dungeness crab. I have seen fresh geoduck, but have never tasted it. Contrary to its argably unattractive appearance, geoduck is delightful. The texture provided a delicate and pleasing bite – a subtle, tender snap, and the perfect introduction to Hawksworth’s menu.
The oysters served with crème fraiche and caviar were exquisite. Flown into Vancouver daily from Deep Bay on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, each buttery bite was an experience unto its own.
We had the opportunity to sample King Hamachi Ceviche, which was a standout dish. Fresh and bright, each creamy morsel spoke to the skill and care of the Hawksworth team. Knowing this was a special dish introduced for a limited time, I sincerely hope the ceviche will be available again on my next visit.
Hawksworth's Wagyu Beef Carpaccio was sliced characteristically thin and served with nashi pear, sesame, and shiso. Sweetness was a surprising flavour that didn't overwhelm the rich, savoury flavour of the beef. For dinner, we sampled the Halibut, Veal Tenderloin, Brussels Sprouts and Sautéed Mushrooms. Each mouthful of halibut was sweet and tender. Our waiter Eric suggested adding fresh lobster, which enhanced the natural sweetness of the fish along with silky velouté sauce. On its own, the lobster was incredible – a sweet, clean flavour with seductive texture. Manila clams brought comparable depth to this dish with their delightful texture and saline flavour.
The Veal Tenderloin was served with crispy sweetbread, onion, fondant potato, and veal jus. Our waiter suggested adding foie gras to the veal, which enhanced its rich flavour exquisitely. I would highly recommend this addition. Since the portion is 5.5 ounces, adding the foie gras didn’t feel excessive, it felt complete. Brussels Sprouts were served with pumpkin seed praline and spicy maple. These side dishes provided familiar flavours which we craved.
For dessert, we enjoyed the Brown Butter and Almond Financier, as well as the Dark Chocolate Cremeux. Nectarines and mascarpone invited elegant sweetness to each bite of the financier. The Dark Chocolate Cremeux was served with tonka bean ice cream and caramelised pecans, delivering soothing textures to finish our lovely dinner.
We sampled two cocktails: Orange Julios (Don Julio Reposado, Aperol, Cointreau, Fernet Branca, orange, lemon) and Nothing To See Here (Corzo Silver Tequila, Cointreau, Chili Pepper Lime Cordial). Both cocktails were creative, well-balanced and complex. Orange Julios was particularly refreshing, with a clean finish. Nothing To See Here was served with a bright red chilli in the middle of a large square ice cube. Warmth lingers on your palate, along with a smooth finish.
The wine selection was a whimsical ride where our sommelier offered to provide two wine options for each course, allowing us to experience a variety of flavour combinations throughout the meal. Two-ounce pours, similar to a personalised wine flight allowed us to enjoy each wine pairing comfortably. I have never taken this approach with dining outside of a wine dinner or tour, but would highly recommend it!
Our appetisers included the Seafood Platter (oyster and caviar, sliced geoduck, side stripe shrimp cocktail, and Dungeness crab), King Hamachi Ceviche, and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. To complement these unique flavours, our sommelier suggested the Rosé from Winemaker`s CUT in the Okanagan and Disznoko Dry Furmint 2017 from Hungary. I don’t seek out rosé, so I wouldn’t have selected the pairing, but this light, elegant style of rosé provided a fresh crisp flavour with a smooth grapefruit finish, complementing the seafood beautifully. This was my first experience with Tokaj from Hungary, described as the dry version of furmint grapes. This was a delicious wine and a wonderful seafood pairing given its herby flavours and elements of apple and ginger.
Halibut was paired with a Jean Philippe Fichet Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc 2017, and veal tenderloin was paired with Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon 2016. France’s Burgundy region is known primarily for complex red wine, but the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc presented lemon and almond aromas with apple and pear, elevating the natural sweetness of the halibut, clams and velouté. Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon delivered the flavours you'd expect of its native Sonoma County including stone fruits, blackberry and milk chocolate, enhancing each bite of buttery veal with foie gras.
For dessert, we enjoyed the Brown Butter and Almond Financier, and Dark Chocolate Cremeux with Famille Laplace Château d'Aydie Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and the Dow’s 10 year old Tawny Port. Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh is late harvest petit manseng from South West France, an exquisite dessert wine to complement financiers with nectarines and mascarpone. The Tawny Port selection provided the perfect creamy finish with caramel fragrance to our Dark Chocolate Cremeux.
Great food goes hand-in-hand with great service at Hawksworth Restaurant. Ask any questions regarding any dishes, describe a favourite flavour or make a request and you’ll see what I mean. The King Hamachi Ceviche, Seafood Platter, Veal Tenderloin with Foie Gras were some of the best dishes I’ve eaten this year.
Hawksworth Restaurant, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7 Canada, +1 604 673-7000