A couple months ago, I started a four part editorial series on the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. After two amazing meals at MOSAIC followed by a phenomenal Chef’s Table dinner, I am proud to wrap up this spectacular dining series with a private menu tasting at the Hyatt’s newest dining venue: Grain Tasting Bar.
In late April, the Hyatt hosted an open media event to showcase just what Grain had to offer. Boasting an impressive selection of cocktails, beer and wine along with an appetizing food menu, Grain definitely established itself as a new tasting bar worthy of attention. For a recap of what was served at the event, my good friend Sherman posted a great article on his blog here.
Looking through Mr. Chan’s article, you get a very good sense of the type of food that Grain Tasting Bar offers. Due to the very small kitchen facility, the menu is kept intentionally modest as the support from the main kitchen upstairs is kept to a minimum. Other than the pizza selections and one or two other items, the entire food menu at Grain is prepared in a ship galley sized kitchen which is actually quite impressive.
As Grain is first and foremost a bar, I was served six very strong cocktails to kick off my tasting. Going clockwise from the image above, we have a Tangerine Dream in the cocktail glass followed by a Karma Sutra, Cherry & Basil Margerita, Ruby Tuesday, Kiwi’s Big Adventure and Vanilla Sky. Now, as I attend tastings alone and it was 1pm on a Tuesday, I decided to be smart and simply sip a bit of each cocktail. Overall, they were all very good but my favourites were definitely the Ruby Tuesday and the Tangerine Dream. I will put the prices and ingredients of all six drinks below for anyone curious.
Tangerine Dream $9: finlandia tangerine, juniper & lemongrass syrup, peach juice and fresh cilantro
Karma Sutra $10: beefeater gin, st. germain elderflower liqueur, rosemary sprig, fig preserve and rose water
Cherry & Basil Margerita $9: sauza silver tequila, okanagan spirits cherry liqueur, sweet & sour, fresh lime and basil chiffonade
Ruby Tuesday $11: Absolut raspberry vodka, okanagan springs ‘taboo’ absinthe, cranberry juice and fresh strawberries
Kiwi’s Big Adventure $10: hendricks gin, triple sec, lime juice, fresh jalapeño, kiwi puree and simple syrup
Vanilla Sky $9: canadian club whisky, fresh lemon juice, egg whites and vanilla extract
For the food portion of my tasting, I decided to go with two lunch salads, two lunch sandwiches and three of Grain’s smoked wood fire pizzas. Starting off with the Crab Louie ($14), this salad is made up of dungeness crab, romaine lettuce, hard-boiled cage free egg, hot-house tomato, asparagus and louie dressing. For those looking for a fresh salad with a bit of seafood substance, this Crab Louie can be shared with another or simply eaten as a main. As I learned with my Mosaic lunch tasting, the salads at the Hyatt are quite generously portioned. For those with modest appetites, this salad can easily stand alone as a healthy lunch during the work week.
While some may consider the first salad to be relatively light, the second salad was arguably the most substantial salad I have ever tried. Priced at $14 as well, the Grain Steak Salad is dominated by a massive cut of slow roasted Spring Creek braised rib, roasted tomato, crispy onions, 64 degree egg and horseradish dressing. I am not quite sure at what point a salad ceases to be a salad but I doubt you will hear anyone complaining. The thick slab of braised rib was cooked perfectly and served medium done which was great. The 64 degree egg was prepared to a gorgeous custard-esque consistency that spread like thick butter over my juicy cuts of meat. At the same price point as the Crab Louie, I definitely recommend the Grain Steak Salad as it presents with far better value for the dollar.
Moving on to the two Lunch Sandwiches, I started with the super healthy Vegetable & Hummus Pita. Priced at $14, you get two pitas filled with tomato, cucumber, red bell peppers, sweet corn, red onion and cow’s milk feta. Although this is not an item I would normally order for lunch, the pita bread was fresh and housed a myriad of exceedingly fresh components. For those looking for a light and healthy lunch order, it truly does not get better than this. In terms of serving size, I am almost inclined to recommend this as an appetizer of sorts to be shared between two people. For those with average to large appetites, this will probably not be enough by itself.
My second Lunch Sandwich was a trio of Tuna Sliders for $14. You may have noticed it already but all the Lunch Salads and Sandwiches are priced identically at the $14 price point. For this particular order, you get three sliders made up of seared B.C. albacore tuna, fennel & apple slaw and lime aioli in a brioche bun. For those with average to large appetites, these three sliders will disappear fairly quickly. As refreshing as the side salad was, diners may want to order this item to be shared as an appetizer as well. All lunch sandwich items can be ordered with soup, house salad or chips between 11am and 4:30pm.
Finishing off my tasting with three different types of smoked wood fire pizza, my first was the Spicy Salami. As I mentioned earlier, the pizza items are prepared up in the main MOSAIC kitchen facility and then shuttled down for service at Grain. Priced at $15, the pizzas are thin but great for sharing amongst a couple friends.
My second pizza was a very unique Artichoke & Spinach pizza made with boursin, truffle oil and parmesan. I do not believe I have ever had artichokes on a pizza before but the end result was quite satisfying. For those looking to try something a little different, this artichoke & spinach pizza will definitely hit the spot.
The third pizza and final item of my tasting was a Classic Margherita pizza. At this point in the tasting, I was really full so only managed to finish one slice but it genuinely was quite good. I definitely was not expecting to get pizza this good at a tasting bar but from what I tasted, I was very impressed.
By pairing Sherman’s article with this one, I hope this finally gives readers a comprehensive look into what kind of food the Grain Tasting Bar is capable of offering. While I acknowledge that the majority of patrons will come to Grain for the spirits, I hope this article gives some insight into what you can also order in terms of food. A big thank you to Michael Halloran, Chef Thomas Heinrich and the Hyatt Regency Vancouver for all their support through this four part series.
Address: 655 Burrard St., Vancouver, BC, Canada
Phone Number: (604) 683-1234
Website: Grain Tasting Bar