“It was like night and day” I told our server as we paid for the bill. After our last meal at Hawksworth a few years ago, it was easy not to return. It was quite simply another quintessential Vancouver restaurant experience trying to be something it could never be. But after such a dismal experience at Farmer’s Apprentice a few weeks earlier, we decided we could give this place another try.

Wagyu beef carpaccio, bérnaise aioli, puffed cheddar, shishito, ramps

A few minutes into this visit many of our previous issues were already addressed. We were promptly acknowledged by the host and hostess upon arrival and seated immediately. During dinner, service was surprisingly efficient and attentive in spite of the packed restaurant that seemed to be its demise during our last visit (although all of this should be standard for a restaurant in the fine dining realm). As for the menu, it no longer fell into the Asian “fusion” category nor was it plagued by a lack of originality which seems to be an underlying theme we have encountered too many times in Vancouver (including the last time we visited Hawksworth). This time around however it was much more of its own cuisine including a small introduction to some of the flavours of Latin America through infusions of ingredients such as huitlacoche and certain spices. Its execution too was on point, perhaps due to the fact that the chef was in the kitchen.

Tamari glazed duck breast, fried carolina gold rice, tempura enoki, macadamia nut, duck XO

A few minor gripes could not be avoided however and that is probably why our main server was not entirely sure if the comment mentioned above was a positive or negative. The shattered foie gras torchon appetizer for example was not as expected. Written on the menu as the main item of the dish (and upon first glance it did look like it was), the flavours did not live up to expectations. Instead, the foie gras was reduced to a creamy accompaniment as it was frozen then shaved on top of tapioca balls, granola and fruits that completely overpowered it in flavour and texture. Nevertheless, the dish’s composition was enjoyable and it was a vibrant appetizer on a scorching summer day. During the mains though, a request for rare duck breast was ignored and served their standard medium rare instead. Their choice of rustic dishware too was odd for such a setting. Perhaps it was a blatant juxtaposition with the ambience of the restaurant? And at the end of the meal, my request for tea was forgotten.

Vanilla bavarois, poached rhubarb, almond

Although not perfect, the experience was a step in the right direction. At least now, we shall consider Hawksworth a dining option when choosing our next meal.

To view pictures of our meal in its entirety, please click here.

Thanks for reading and happy eating,
Carla and Sonny