Restaurant review: Bauhaus, Gastown, Vancouver

Adam Lowe

Bauhaus draws on German cuisine to give the Vancouver an international standard of dining that isn’t found elsewhere.

The brainchild of German film director and local Vancouver celebrity Uwe Boll, Bauhaus is an exquisite concept: take an 1890s heritage building, add a Bauhaus-inspired ‘functional’ design ethos, and serve up the very best German cuisine.

The venue

Bauhaus is a fine composite of concrete, offset by smart dark wood, tasteful black upholstery and gorgeous amber lighting.

Renovated by the local Studio CM, with a light installation by Matthew McCormick, there’s plenty of warmth despite the concrete structure. The chairs, styled after Marcel Breuer, and the Oren Darel bar seats continue the splashes of black throughout the space, giving it a sense of gravitas.

At night, the venue really oozes atmosphere, while in the daytime it’s brighter and its high ceilings give it a spacious, contemporary feel.

The drink

We started off with some cocktails. The Maple Old Fashioned is a Canadian twist on the classic cocktail, with the rich flavours of the maple pairing nicely with the smoky class of the bourbon, bitters and orange. The Buttermilch Margarita, likewise, updates a staple with the addition of buttermilk and orange foam.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also order the Zeitgeist 1.0 or Zeitgeist 2.0: surprise, bespoke cocktails concocted by the evening’s mixologists, and made with standard (1.0) or premium (2.0) spirits.

If you want something alcohol-free, try the Ilse Fehling, which includes chai, yuzu, vadouvan (a French spice blend drawing from the popular Indian masala) and vanilla. The alcohol-free cocktail menu also includes the Alma Buscher, named for the German designer, which is a uniquely refreshing mocktail of lemon, vanilla, cranberry and tonic.

Then there’s the beer and ale on tap – including Krombacher Pils and Erdinger for an authentic Deutsche experience; plus local Brassneck and a radler (shandy) of pilsner and lemonade. Bottled beers and Left Field Cider are also available, including a non-alcoholic Erdinger.

Wine is paired by location or proximity to a dish’s ingredients by wine director Kevin Curley. For example, an octopus dish is paired with a Sardinian 2018 Lunae Bosoni Vermentino, so that the island flavours match the natural habitat of the octopus. This leads to some inspired selections and makes the pairings really special, with some history and context (if you want it) to accompany the tasting notes.

The food

Executive Chef Christian Kuehnel’s winter menu is a treat.  You can opt to have from three to six courses with or without a wine pairing.

Starters include a startlingly refreshing dish of pickled mussels with salmon mousse, radish and apple (paired with a 2017 Dr. Thanisch Riesling Kabbinett, from Germany). The beetroot soup was also a surprise favourite – with eel, yellow beet and pancetta (paired with a 2017 Medici Ermete Lambrusco ‘Concerto’ from Italy), it packed a subtle range of flavours together into something really quite enjoyable.

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As an intermediate course, we tried the octopus with purple potato, garlic aioli and parsley powder (the Vermentino di Sardegna Colli di Luni, mentioned above). This was cooked to perfection – the octopus tender yet firm, the purple potato a velvety contrast against the octopus’ flesh.

We also tried the wild boar rack with port tuille and maple glaze (served with a 2015 Italian Fontodi Chianti Classico). This was meaty and gorgeous, and again the maple was a nice hint of flavour that brought the dish home.

For mains, we tried the duck with pumpkin, pomegranate, walnut and fig. The walnut and fig were great flavours beside the rich taste of the duck, while the pomegranate and pumpkin were much milder, and helped bring the dish together This was paired with a 2017 Nk’Mip Cellars ‘Qwam Qwmt’ Pinot Noir from British Columbia.

We also tried the delicate turbot with potato, parsnip and crispy kale. It paired well with the 2016 Nicolas Joly ‘Les Clos Sacrés’ Savennières from France.

If there’s just two of you dining, you probably can’t go wrong with the chateaubriand, served with root vegetables and parsnip puree, and paired with a 2015 Emmolo Merlot, Napa Valey, California.

For dessert, we tried a gorgeous chocolate and mandarin orange cake, paired with a Penfolds ‘Grandfather’ Rare Tawny from Australian.

Perhaps the more unique dish, though, was the honey cake with lemon, lavender and mead. The flavour was rich and the texture both creamy and crunchy (with scatterings of honeycomb). The lavender cut through the sweetness with a wonderful fragrant note that brought balance. This was paired with the 2011 Ruffino ‘Servelle’ Vin Santo del Chianti from Italy.

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The verdict

Bauhaus is a sleek, elegant venue with an open kitchen. Staff were well informed, highly trained and exacting in their precision. The food was top-notch, made for sumptuously fresh ingredients, and served with style and originality.

Overall, this was a very high quality experience, which we recommend to visitors and locals alike.

For more information, visit bauhaus-restaurant.com.

1 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C8 Canada