Yaletown has been a hot spot for Vancouver’s young and trendy social crowd for as long as I can remember. Casually referred to as Vancouver’s “Soho District”, the area is characterized by a strong industrial aesthetic and a bevy of restaurants and cafes. Late last month, the chic neighbourhood saw the opening of the Parlour Restaurant, an upscale pizzeria at 1011 Hamilton Street. Caught up in year-end festivities, I was not able to visit until this week when they hosted a media/friends & family event.
Stepping into the restaurant for the first time, you definitely get that dark lounge vibe. The entire dining area was dimly lit but from what I could see, the room was nicely appointed. As a food purist, my eye was immediately drawn to the open concept kitchen and the roaring Woodstone oven. Although a few couples and smaller groups opted for more intimate booths to nurse their drinks, I made a bee-line for the dining bar. Sitting myself right in front of the pizza oven, I had the best seat in the house for what turned out to be a very impressive menu tasting.
While sampling some very good beer, I had a chance to look around the entire floor and sincerely liked what I saw. The entire kitchen and chef’s prep line is open so you can see your pizza made from scratch. It was a real joy watching the talented chefs transform lumps of fresh dough into delicious pizzas before my very eyes.
The Parlour’s kitchen chose to start the evening off with three very different appetizers. The salmon tartare was very fresh and was a great way to kick things off. Although the assembled media were served the salmon on spoons, my friend and I were served an entire plate for photography purposes.
The broccoli appetizer was not bad but definitely not for everyone. There was a Szechuan-esque twist to the dish that was a bit puzzling to my palate due to the conflicting layers of sweetness and heat. That said, with a bowl of white rice, I am pretty sure I could have polished off the entire bowl by myself.
The last appetizer to be served was definitely the best in the form of sliders. Now, sliders are a common staple at almost every Western bar and lounge in the city but these ones were very good. The slider patties were super tender and flavourful and supported nicely by the sauce. I will definitely order a few of these on a return visit as I wait for my pizza to be made.
As good as the appetizers were, the star of the evening was definitely the pizza. Chatting up the hard working chefs all night, I was lucky enough to try almost every pizza the Parlour offers on their menu. To be honest, I loved everything I tried and there wasn’t a single ‘bad’ pizza in the lot. That said, I definitely had two favourites: the Dirty and the Five O. Even before the kitchen started making pizza, one of the friendly chefs told my friend and I that his favourite was the Dirty. Eagerly anticipating our first slice, we were more than happy to agree with him. Generously assembled with copious amounts of fresh pepperoni, meatballs, banana peppers and mozza, the Dirty was an amazing pizza. The mozza was perfectly melted and the absurd amount of meat was much appreciated.
Another pizza I loved was the Five-O. Named after the famous television series Hawaii 5-0, this was definitely not your average Hawaiian pizza. The high quality black forest ham was deliciously singed from the Woodstone oven while the fresh roasted pineapple and banana peppers contributed a subtle sweetness. Again, the fresh mozza tied everything together from the tip of each slice to the crispy, garlic oil brushed crust.
Overall, I had an amazing time at this event and am very excited to have the Parlour join the venerable Yaletown ranks. I have no doubt that this new restaurant will become an instant favourite as each dining experience leaves you desperately wanting to come back. With so many amazing pizzas to try, this is the perfect venue to unwind at after a long day at the office. Grab a comfortable booth with a few friends, order a couple pitchers of cold beer and start divvying up those pizzas!
The Parlour | 1011 Hamilton St, Vancouver BC | 604. 568.3322 | www.theparlourrestaurants.com |