Bacchus at the Wedgwood, Vancouver. June 2014.

Bacchus at the Wedgwood, Vancouver.

June 2014.

We were in town unaccustomedly on a Monday and also on a semi-holiday, so looking for a nice quiet classy lunch or brunch scene, and sadly Pastis was closed. So we opted for this mid-downtown spot where I’ve had lunch several times, and which also hosted a recent Confrerie dinner pretty satisfactorily.

It’s the front-end of the boutique Wedgwood Hotel, creature of the wife of a local real estate magnate. The tone is archaic mild opulence, with a costumed doorman, leather seats with large brass accents, and a relatively affluent-looking clientele, average age of the males maybe around fifty. The servers are fortyish and serious.

Certainly hip seeing-and-being-seen and cutting-edge creative food you won’t find here. But we were early enough to get seats by the high windows looking on Hornby Street, and settled in with a bottle of Chablis (Fevre; $75) to check out the menu. The list of dishes isn’t challengingly complex. I chose grilled prawn and scallop on a bed of risotto and Robin had beef short rib pappardelle.

Both of these were perfectly respectable, if not frankly exciting. The shellfish seared quick and tender, risotto tasty if possibly a bit restricted in scope of flavours, pappardelle al dente, short rib and sauce pretty beefy with a no-surprise hint of red wine and garlic. Robin atypically went for dessert: crème brûlée, again unremarkable but perfectly prepared.

Our server reminded me of the food. Nothing about his manner and performance either really good or really bad, but attentive. None of the self-absorbed narcissism of young inexperienced people elsewhere. $60 for the eats, plus the wine.

Overall, what a relief to enjoy a respectable and satisfying meal in a quiet comfortable unassuming surrounding, having lately experienced an awful lot of over-the-top nonsense for an over-the-top price. 7.7 food, 8.5 ambience (if you like the old fart scene), 7.8 service, 7.9 value. Hard to avoid returning, but for that unusual casual grown-up dining experience Bacchus is definitely second to Pastis.

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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