Water Street Cafe was established in 1988 as a Gastown corner store along the north side of Downtown Vancouver. Fast forward 30 years and still the restaurant holds true in the heart of the city overlooking the cobbled stone streets and world famous steam clock. The neighborhood holds historic charm, impeccable rustic decor and is home to some of the best culinary scenes in Vancouver.
Upon our arrival at Water Street Cafe James and I were greeted by the infectious smile from Joe who accompanied us to our romantic corner table overlooking the beautiful tea lights scattered streets of the Gastown district. The attentive hospitality was immediately apparent setting the tone for an exquisite night that lay before us.
I kicked the night off with a favourite of mine, Aperol Spritz. It wasn't a difficult decision as I was in much need of a tropical fix due to the departure of Vancouver's warmer weather. A perfectly, light, crisp and refreshing start to the evening, the cocktail was soon met with our first course, the Charcuterie Board, featuring prosciutto, salami, duck rillettes, maple bourbon bacon jam, gherkins and crostinis. We adored the maple bourbon bacon jam and if that doesn't scream Canadian, I'm not sure what does. Enjoying this entree defined ‘board style’ eating, I sipped my spritz, gazing upon the bustling streets outside and it was a match made in heaven. What a delightful start to our evening.
We conversed softly to the background noise of Water Street Cafe, soaking in the light chatter flowing throughout the establishment along with some classic tunes by Van Morrison and before too long we were greeting the main course. Our waiter Joe was ever so helpful with recommendations from the menu, James opted for the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, while I was craving red meat so of course Joe convinced me the Braised Beef Short Rib was one of the house favourites, and he wasn't wrong! After hearing that the dish was Sous-vide for 72 hours, how could I resist?
As we waiting for our second course I opted for a red wine pairing. I was very pleased with my choice of a local red by the name of Hillside, Naramata Bench, B.C. It's smooth glide of subtle flavours made it hard for me to savour until our main course arrived. That being said, I'll have you all know I was able to leave a few sips to help welcome in our main course. Psst! I'll let you in on a little secret, Water St. have 40% off all wine on Mondays! If that's not incentive to visit I'm not sure what is!?
Now, back to the main course..first was James' Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, which smelt a dream! The outside boasted a crispy, textured skin locking in all the flavours of the breast. Accompanied with creamy butter homemade gnocchi, mushrooms, pickled mustard seed and pan jus it was a jam packed flavour rich main course, exhausting any room for critique. Now for the much anticipated, highly acclaimed Short Rib. A first glance, I was relieved to see the meat had been removed from the bone because I was dreading the act of making a total mess of myself. But as I gently twisted my fork into the dish, it fell apart instantly. HEAVEN! Having been cooked in rosemary, red wine and beef jus, candied garlic reduction and pan roasted potatoes it was one of the most tender and juicy beef dishes I'd had in a long time. It also boasted a combination of familiar and much loved pairings and the rich sauce teamed with the tender ribs made for an explosion of bold flavour. After feeling wholeheartedly satisfied from our delicious main course, Joe greeted us with a smile and the cheeky offer of dessert. How could we decline? After much deliberation we opted for the traditional Baked Apple Crumble with vanilla gelato and the Flourless Double Chocolate Espresso Cake. A crisp and buttery texture the Crumble was paired with sweet strawberries on top, just delicious! And lo and behold the decadent, rich, dense velvety creamy chocolate number. Let me start by saying, anything with the words "Double Chocolate" in it, instantly receives my full attention. It was the perfect way to round out the multiple flavours and textures we experienced throughout the night.
All in all the night was purely divine! We were transported to a romantic candlelit setting, paired with personalised, attentive service thanks to Joe and the Water Street Team. From the well throughout menu to the prime location and personal touches, it’s clear all dishes were individually designed to bring something unique to Water St. Cafe.