Timber: a Cheeky Salute to Canadian Cuisine

Timber is the latest undertaking by the crew behind Forage restaurant, in the spacious Listel Hotel quarters that used to be O’Doul’s. The saga behind long running O’Doul’s demise, Forage’s ascent, and now the arrival of  Timber has a few twists but here’s the short version.

When O’Doul’s was shuttered, the (accountants’) idea was that the hotel’s high traffic Robson Street frontage would be better put to use under retail. Well, things didn’t quite pan out and, after a while, the expansive (and quite beautiful) art gallery closed.

When I heard the space was to revert to a restaurant, I couldn’t help but quietly chuckle…
Forage has been one of the most successful new restaurants in recent years, although nobody would argue that it s on the small side.
The challenge: what to do as a counterpoint.

Timber yields acres of wood, much of it reclaimed

Timber yields acres of wood, much of it reclaimed

Timber is a clever move on so many levels. The completely refurbished, high ceilinged  room echoes all the airiness and light that was O’Doul’s appeal over the years. But the mood now is stripped down and uncluttered, with an open kitchen and acres of natural wood. It’s all a perfect fit with the modern, casual style of dining.

Timber's wide choice of seating includes banquettes and stools overlooking Robson St

Timber’s wide choice of seating includes banquettes and stools overlooking Robson St

Timber makes even more use of the Robson frontage than its predecessor, with ample seating along the windows, as well as a standing bar on the Jervis side, which will also sport a patio come spring.

Timber taps: A good cross section of local craft brews

Timber taps: A good cross section of local craft brews

Timber’s decor sports plenty of lumberjack paraphernalia and logging equipment—though not too much. Almost everything is reclaimed, including the seat covers, which are old mail bags from Canada Post.

Oh, and there’s even a beaver, waiting to greet you, as there should be …

Timber's 'doorman': Bucky the Beaver keeps watch over Robson

Timber’s ‘doorman’: Bucky the Beaver keeps watch over Robson

Timber: on the menu

Timber executive chef Chris Whittaker with spicy maple glazed chicken wings

Timber executive chef Chris Whittaker with spicy maple glazed chicken wings

Timber executive Chef Chris Whittaker says: “The idea is to focus on Canadian comfort food—and having fun with the classics—but doing things a bit differently. For instance, in the mushroom poutine, we’re saluting the staple mother sauce of all households, which used to be a tin of cream of mushroom soup.”

Timber serves serious Canadian comfort food, such as mushroom "poutine" shoestring fries, mushroom chips, curds and mushroom gravy

Timber serves serious Canadian comfort food, such as mushroom “poutine” shoestring fries, mushroom chips, curds and mushroom gravy

The “poutine” variation comes with a house made gravy that’s about as far from Campbell’s as you can imagine, slathered over shoestring fries, curds and mushroom chips. It might easily become addictive. And it’s a no brainer to go with a decent pint from a pretty good range of smaller craft taps. ($12)
Other good tastes: a formidable bison burger, with caramelised onion, bacon, pickle and cheddar, that just plain delicious—served with fries or salad ($16); and, yet one more looming addiction, assertively spiced, sticky and wonderful chicken wings with chili maple glaze. ($11) Perfect with Powell Street Divebomb Porter.

Yes there is a goose, but not on the menu ...

Yes there is a goose, but not on the menu …

There’s more Canadiana, such as the “Shore lunch” with Ocean Wise fish as available, elk tourtière, a Caesar salad with herring dressing, jowl bacon, fried garlic and bannock, and perogies (of course).

For dessert: deep fried Nanaimo bars (with ‘double-double custard’)—and, yes, there are Timber Bits, with house made ‘nutella.’

Timber, 1300 Robson St., Vancouver, BC. Phone nbr and website to come

 

See you there!

My hunch is, as a much needed addition to the West End, it will be hopping.

Plus, for some reason, it has me humming that tune…

By | 2018-01-21T15:05:08+00:00 November 16th, 2015|Dining|0 Comments

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.

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