Oru, Vancouver, September 2015.

This swish informal restaurant sits on a mezzanine in Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, the hotel built I believe for the 2010 Olympics and not yet showing its age. It is showing its class, however, a pretty good cut below the opulent comfort of some of the city’s best hotels. An orange BMW draws attention to a contest beside the main front door, and we manage to get into the lobby past a crowd of fiftyish guys in ball caps.

Up the wide stairs a couple of pleasant girls provide a cheerful neutral welcome to the bright beige-on-white complex room with an impressively creative ceiling light fixture resembling about 30 x 8 feet of crumpled card stock. The effect is light if bland, the clientele middle-class middle-age.

Server is a fiftyish German lady, very cheerful and attentive, working just a bit of an upsell. She very promptly presents me with a second large linen napkin when a few semi-liquid fragments of my sandwich escape into my lap.

Robin liked her warm steelhead salad but I found the fish pieces flavorful but just overdone, the greens pretty neutral with a one-note lemon dressing. My “BLT+E” (plus egg) sandwich was very good: moist with the bacon just short of crispy and a beautiful over-easy chicken egg and plenty of mayo enriching the veg. The bread was olive-chunk, unnecessary with all the other ingredients but there’s no escape from creative breads here in the Canadian capital of hiking, biking, and roughage to keep everybody buff, inside and out.

Prices are a bit high for what you get, although we avoided the “entrées”.

The wine list is a positive surprise: a dozen or more pages of West-coast and worldwide items all the way up to a 1990 Lynch-Bages and a few other hot tickets. The Laughingstock northern Rhône white we ordered wasn’t available, and the Le Vieux Pin we got certainly lacked interest and required conviction to detect its varietal character at, if I recall, $73.

One of many nice places to have lunch around here. It’s just a bit international-banal in character, reminding me strangely of Hawkesworth, all gesturing Far East, appropriate enough I guess in a hotel called Pacific Rim. We will be moving on next time we have lunch in town. Food 7.8, service 7.8, ambience 8.0, value 6.9 (…and wine selection 8.5).

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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