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The Sant’Angelo at OPUS Bar

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It may be winter, but that doesn’t mean chilled treats should be ignored. Inspired by a Roman sweet sold by street vendors, OPUS Bar’s Sant’Angelo is bartender Martin Corriveau’s newest cocktail on the December menu.

A fragrant balance of Amaro Averna, Marsala, Tamarind Syrup, and Grappa trickle through hand-crushed ice to produce a festive and richly coloured beverage. The flavourful drink writes love notes of orange, rose, chocolate, and raisin on the palette as it journeys through the mouth.

That night, I dreamed of the cobbled streets of Rome.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Winter cocktail at OPUS Bar

There is temptation in the crisp air this time of year – the anticipation of holiday parties and soirees bubbles slowly to the surface. It’s a period of time when we succumb to luxurious consumption. We welcome hot chocolate, hearty soup, rich fondue, and bold Barolo to warm the coldest corners of our bodies.

Bartender Martin Corriveau has concocted another indulgence to appeal to decadent tastes and desires. The Hot Butter Rum has been molded and manipulated from a traditional cocktail into one with a rich twist unique to OPUS Bar.

The drink is a mixture of Oakheart Bacardi, Goslings Black Seal Rum, a splash of lemon, and a velvety syrup of butter and Tonka Bean ice cream devised by Pastry Chef Matt Wilson. The glass is topped with fresh cream that delightfully threatens to linger on noses, asking to be licked off by your neighbour.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

OPUS Profile : John deC. Evans

We’re taking you further inside our hotel to introduce you to a few of the people who have made it a reality. I sat down with John deC. Evans, visionary, developer, co-owner and president of OPUS Hotels Corporation, to talk about his vision, favourite rooms, and his perfect day in Vancouver.

Tell us about the OPUS revamp.

In the life of a hotel, there is always the requirement for a makeover. The vision needed to evolve like people, fashion, and music. They all change with time. The energy and spirit of the original vision had been well received globally. We always wanted a residential look and feel, which was expressed in light fixtures, fabric selections and colour choices. We worked collaboratively with Robert Bailey, the interior designer, to continue that approach in the revamp. The goal was to stay true to character – neither more conservative nor more outlandish.

What’s your favourite room and muse?

From a colour perspective, I’ve always liked the muse Mike. I liked the vibrancy of the original, bold red. With the revamp, the colour has softened and brightened but is still a favourite. We retired the golden colour and, hence, the muse couple called Bob and Carol. Frankly, they were dated. They left with their harvest gold colour, which was kind of done. And in came an Hermés orange with our Pierre muse. Love it. If I had to pick, I’d say I like those, Mike and Pierre.

The vision in the rooms and suites was that they would have all of the essential pieces – even in the smallest rooms. There would be the same excitement for guests staying in the standard room as in any other. I’ve stayed in that room. I like that room - the feeling, quality, coziness - as much as the signature penthouse suite.

With each visit, you might be in a different state of mind. If you’re in an introspective mood, you would perhaps choose to stay in Susan’s blue room because it makes you feel restful. Or if you want to have a party weekend – try some things you’ve never tried before – you may stay in Billy’s green room.

Once a guest has stayed with us, they’ll know our muses and colours, and will know upon returning which room to select for their mood. The nice thing about that is a guest will never have the same experience twice.

As a traveler, how would you spend a day in Vancouver?

Get to bed early, get up early. Wake up refreshed when the sun rises (or to sheets of rain). You have the choice to exercise first or go to breakfast. The day is very much about being outside and being active, absorbing the beauty of the city rain or shine. Spend the afternoon at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

There’s amazing dining in the city, including lots of chef owned and operated restaurants, such as Lucais Syme’s La Pentola and Pino Posteraro’s Cioppino’s - both brilliant dining experiences. And there’s a little sushi restaurant on Pacific Boulevard called Ki-Isu – it’s great and always packed.

What are your favourite dishes on the menu at La Pentola?

The soufflé di parmigiano with zucchini crudo and the lemon cream dessert. They have similar textures and they both melt in your mouth. If I never ate another thing, I would be happy.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

La Pentola’s Whole Roasted Branzino

Winter leaves us hollow and empty, and craving something warm and rich to fill the void. In contrast, after a hot summer’s day, our bodies bursting and beaming with sunlight, all we can imagine eating is the lightest possible fare.

On such a blazing day, a month before summer’s official debut, I sat in La Pentola at OPUS Hotel waiting with mouth watering for chef and co-owner Lucais Syme to present me with a succulent Northern Italian dish, the Whole Roasted Branzino, only available at the restaurant between Wednesday and Sunday.

Swimming in a pool of herbs, tomatoes, and lemon, the presentation of the flavourful white fish will cause conversation to pause as mouths slowly drop open and taste buds secrete. The tender meat slips off bones and deliciously moistens the mouth with its juices. Intersperse heavenly mouthfuls with a refreshing sip of white wine - we suggest the Suavia Soave Classico or Vietti Roero Arneis.

Eat slowly and lingeringly to appreciate the sensations, and bustling Yaletown will quickly be replaced by the breezy Mediterranean with each bite consumed.

~ Sandra O’Connell