Homer Street Café

January 2014

Most Vancouverites are aware of the cream-and-brick-coloured building with whimsical black accents this restaurant is located in. It’s an early-20th-century retail and residential structure with prominent bay windows forming turrets at the corners. The café space and restaurant behind it were created during a complete restoration as, I think, a heritage structure, in the last couple of years.

My architect cousin Chuck joined me and we were seated at a small row table, after an inexperienced and slightly awkward welcome. Two servers, a male waiter and female presenter, were courteous, colloquial, and pleasant. Especially the girl.

The space is interesting, obviously renovated with preservation of the original interior in mind. There is a big elevated and open bar, and another elevated mezzanine space with tables for larger groups. Intriguing and intimate.

The menu range is restricted. We have a roast of the day which in this case was vegetarian, roast chicken, a couple of fish dishes, steak, and (our choice) a pork osso bucco. This came with “savoy cabbage” which was a white crunchy vegetable shredded without, I thought, distinct cabbage flavour but a pleasant texture contrast to the meat. The osso bucco was nicely braised, tender, and accompanied with another chunk of perfectly-cooked pork on the side, along with boiled carrots and a nice rich reduction sauce. Competent satisfying bistro food.

We split a bread pudding dessert with a true lightly flavoured chantilly cream on top, which wasn’t ruined by too much sweet spice but could have benefited from being warmed. A “super tuscan” bordeaux-grape product from the wonderful 2007 year seemed a bargain at $75, fragrant and substantial. I think we paid around $70 each including the wine pre-tip.

Nothing over the fence here, but a welcome addition to the growing list of perfectly respectable little eateries downtown and elsewhere. It’s near an office where I work and think I’ll return for lunch. Ambience 6.8 service 7.4 food 8.0 value 7.9.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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