Eat Like A Locavore at Forage

Forage, in Vancouver’s West End, serves the best of BC while prioritizing sustainability and sourcing locally. As the name connotes, Forage champions farm to table, and forest to table, dining. They uphold an “uncompromising commitment to local ingredients” by cultivating relationships with local fishers, foragers, and farmers.

Eat Like A Locavore at Forage

Forage’s Philosophy

Executive Chef Craig Sung took the reins of the kitchen in August after starting as Executive Sous Chef. Since taking on the role of Executive Chef, Sung has continued to bolster the reputation Forage had already built for showcasing the best of BC’s fisheries, farms, and fields. Robson Street is a neighbourhood dominated by excellent Japanese and Korean food. In contrast, Forage serves locavore-focused menus. For example, they are currently featuring a limited time spot prawn menu celebrating one of BC’s most coveted ingredients.

The dinner menu at Forage starts with a selection of small plates including fresh BC oysters and Venison Carpaccio, and is then broken into different environments: sea, land, and air. The food is designed to be shared and enjoyed family style. The bounty of British Columbia is an easy inspiration for the culinary team at Forage, helmed by Executive Chef Sung. There are many restaurants in Vancouver who likewise cite their surroundings as inspiration but I have not seen many that have included Bison or Venison so regularly on their menus.

Eat Like A Locavore at Forage

Forage’s Bison Board is built to be shared amongst one to three people. It is a feast of meat so I love the suggestion that a single person could eat it to themselves, but if you’re hungry, I welcome you to try. The board contains a selection of different preparations of Canadian bison, including bone marrow, steak, and sausage, as well as local vegetables. This experience is only available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays because it is quite a labour-intensive spectacle of meat. For groups of six to fifteen people, Forage offers a Family Feast. Three courses are served family style with everything you could want including starters, a main course plated on a massive sharing board, as well as dessert.

Best of BC for Brunch at Forage

The breakfast and brunch menus at Forage similarly celebrate local ingredients and produce. A smoked salmon Benedict is a classic West Coast weekend treat. The Turkey or Bison Hash are more hearty dishes inspired by local proteins. The Forage Shakshuka is a vegetarian brunch item. It comes loaded with melted cheese curds as well as two gently baked eggs and lentil de puy.

The interior of Forage has clean lines, with windows on either side allowing in plenty of light. Central to the room is the bar. Window-side booths overlook Robson Street and there are more tables behind in the dining room. The space is modern and sophisticated without feeling overly stuffy or pretentious. It is key for a hotel restaurant to be welcoming and inclusive, and Forage is casual while upholding high standards with service, food, and cocktails.

Eat Like A Locavore at Forage

Home Away From Home

Forage is located in the Listel Hotel on Robson at Jervis Street. A smaller boutique hotel, the Listel Hotel still boasts two on-site dining options for guests. As well as Forage, there is the Jervis Joint which is a more casual spot to watch sports or play board games.

Forage also connects thematically and philosophically with the Listel’s environmental and sustainability goals. The hotel utilizes twenty solar panels and also follows heat capture, water reduction, and air quality programs. A shared initiative between Forage and the Listel Hotel is composting organic waste produced onsite.

Eat Like A Locavore at Forage

Being a hotel restaurant brings certain challenges: the atmosphere cannot be too exclusive or fancy, the menu must include breakfast and brunch offerings, and service is relentless. Besides offering a tempting dinner menu that celebrates and elevates local ingredients, Forage also serves weekday breakfast (7 am – 10:30 am) as well as weekend brunch (7 am – 2 pm). This adds impact to the celebration of locals that is the menu at Forage because they are so often feeding guests visiting the city. Forage provides some exciting and unique options beyond what would be adequate for a hotel restaurant, showcasing local ingredients for travellers to try.

 

About Bronwyn Lewis 63 Articles
Bronwyn Lewis is a food writer for the Vancouver Guardian. She’s also a screenwriter and producer. Born and raised in Vancouver, Bronwyn lives in Mount Pleasant and you can follow all her food adventures on Instagram.