The newly minted Beach Bay Café at the foot of Davie & Denman was already renowned for the view in its previous life as The Rain City Grill, and now has one of Canada’s most promising young chefs at the helm in Felix Zhou.
Even with the gorgeous view and beautifully appointed airy room, the best things seen are when one looks down onto the plate. With his michelin-training evident in the simple execution and gorgeous presentation, Chef Felix is also incredibly deft in making sure dishes eat well. Sounds silly, but how many times have you chased leaves around a plate or not known exactly what to do with the food presented to you? The only issue with Felix’s food is when sharing it; you won’t want to.
We arrived just as the sun lazily highlighted the calm ocean view and began it’s lovely slow descent, its warmth felt on our cheeks while the shadows cast through the room added charm to the twilight start of our tasting menu.
Radishes ($12) with de-hydrated olive soil, tarragon oil and almonds are one of my most favourite and unique combinations that perfectly combine sweet, savoury textures with fresh crunch and impressive range of flavour. The prawn ceviché ($13) danced delicately, not overpowered by the perfect acidity of the pickled jalapeños.
The ruby-red certified angus beef carpaccio ($14) disappeared as quickly as it appeared, crispy capers and all. Nary a wrong note was struck throughout the evening and the ’12 Pinot Noir from Sokol Blosser (Amazing vintage ’12 was in Oregon btw) paired perfectly. After a couple bottles of Blue Mountain Brut of course. ‘There has to be bubbles’ is kind of a rule.
The tasting menu effortlessly caters to any dietary restrictions with aplomb and the staff are attentive all-stars in their own right. Whether it was the simple yet satisfying shaved salad ($9) picked fresh from local legends at Hannahbrook Bio-Dynamic farm, all the way through to the salacious black onyx wagyu rib-eye ($36) for the stalwarts or daily delicate vegan risotto ($19), it truly was a special event.
And of course the fish and chip window is still open! Perfect for the bike ride snag and beach front picnic. But, seriously consider tucking into the octopus with chorizo and cows-cous ($23) at the bar with a Mystery Machine cocktail ($11). The smoky mezcal cocktail pairs perfectly with the heat from the chorizo and the different textures of octopus are a marvel. I might be there right now having this combo while you’re reading this. It’s that good.
We dined as a group of six last night and I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll also happily disclose that Felix is a good friend and former employee of mine. Seeing his coming of age and at the helm of a full kitchen swells me full of pride and gratitude for our time together. His stride has been hit, even though his thirties haven’t.