Located in Vancouver’s Dowtown Eastside, Pidgin has been the source of much controversy. Locals protested last year, claiming that the restaurant was a symbol of the area’s gentrification and that it was far too expensive for local residents to enjoy it.
However, Pidgin’s intentions were far from creating outcry and fraction. They wanted to bring two cultures together, creating ‘a marriage between East and West using premium ingredients from our backyard and beyond’ and through keeping their heads above the water, they have done just that.
Executive chef, Makoto Ono’s experience is reflected in the menu – brining various cultures together that he has encountered throughout his career. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, he was the child of the city’s first sushi bar owners. With culinary experience in the kitchens of fine-dining restaurant s in London, Beijing and Hong Kong, chef Ono returned to Canada to open PiDGiN, bringing influences from the East and West together and ‘rendering common cuts sublime’..
What was the concept behind Pidgin’s menu?
Common cuts rendered sublime. Deceptively simple staples skewed and polished with Asian elegance. We create family-style creations with attention to detail and flavours more typically found in fine-dining dishes. A marriage between East and West using premium ingredients from our backyard and beyond. These are the cornerstones of Chef Makoto Ono’s food. Rarely predictable, never overwrought and fussy, always thoughtful, cared for, and prepared with integrity.
What was the concept behind Pidgin’s design?
Craig Stanghetta of Ste. Marie based PiDGiN’s design around the food and approach of chef Makoto Ono. Curated ephemera, inverted subway tile and contemporary lighting stand against clean Japanese joinery, simple panel moulding and an intentionally sparse and functional layout. The mandate was to be disparate and somehow achieve balance, much like each dish that leaves the kitchen.
Your menu seems to include some wonderful cocktails and drinks – how do they complement your food menu?
Pidgin’s bar pays its respects to classic cocktails with fresh interpretations, making good use of our region’s fine local bounty. Marrying flavours from East and West, the bar and kitchen use unique and seasonal ingredients in thoughtful and innovative ways ensuring flavours are balanced and in symmetry. Harmony between the bar and kitchen is vital, a collaboration that ensures equal attention to detail and creativity with the ladies and gentlemen behind the wood and stoves.
Pidgin has seemingly caused a bit of controversy in Vancouver – how are things looking for 2014?
Since opening exactly one year ago, Pidgin has been dedicated to plating the highest quality food in a beautiful and refined space, bridging cultures of east and west through flavour, technique, design and district. Even in the face of intense public debate, the restaurant maintained a clear focus and vision, never sacrificing quality or commitment to purpose. It is this integrity and the dedication of those involved that helped Pidgin secure a placing in enRoute magazine’s coveted Best New Restaurants issue in late 2013. This distinction puts Pidgin in the company of Canada’s top chefs and confirms our belief that what we put on a plate is worthy of recognition into 2014 and beyond.
350 Carrall St