Known as both Hollywood North and a foodie haven, Bauhaus is arguably the quintessential Vancouver fine dining destination. Owned and founded by German film director Uwe Boll, this modern German-European cuisine restaurant is award-winning, internationally acclaimed, and housed in one of Vancouver’s oldest historic buildings from 1890. It’s well worth experiencing.
In 2017 it was listed as a restaurant to watch by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ Diner’s Discovery Series, and one of the best German bars and restaurants around the world by CNN, and deemed part of the new global face of German cuisine by Wine Enthusiast.
Inside, it’s less historic and German than one would expect, but clean and modern with a steely dark interior and expanse of tables. It’s large size holds testimony to its popularity whilst the generous formality of the staff’s service seems a symptom of the carefully curated experience it brings. Seated at our table, a glance at the menu delivered snapshot of German traditional cuisine fused with modern European influences (think wiener schnitzel, pork roast, and wagyu beef or burrata to start).
But, priced at four courses for $79 CAD, or six courses for $99 CAD – with a $54/70 wine pairing option – it’s almost mandatory to go for the tasting menu, which is created by Executive Chef team David Mueller and Tim Schulte. Choosing the six course option, our dining experience began with an amuse bouche of tuna with an asian twist. Some other nights, we heard there were more traditional European flavours like rabbit terrine, or braised carrots. Our tuna was delicious however, and boded well for the start of our meal. To drink, we had the Franz Haas Manna 2015, a delicious Alto Adige with Riesling and Kerner grapes by a German producer, with almost mediterranean notes of elderflower, pistachios and rose petals over a honeyed, nutty base. Really lovely.
For our first course, we had asparagus with ham, strawberry and tarragon served as a beautiful scoop of strawberry mousse-ice-cream, on a layer of thinly cut Serrano ham on a bed of tarragon sauce, topped with fresh strawberries and tarragon. Deliciously refreshing and light, this was a surprisingly beautifully presented dish that tasted as good as it looked.
We ordered the sourdough bread on the side too (of course), which came with whipped sea salt butter, and made a delicious, fresh, crusty and slightly salty accompaniment.
A cut of salmon with fennel, rhubarb and beetroot came second. Presented again, beautifully, as a delicate fillet of salmon topped with berries on a white bowl like platter, served next to shavings of fennel and rhubarb, juicy and tender, this was again, light and refreshing as a dish. Far from your typical heavy German flavours, this was refreshing fare for a hot Spring day – contemporary and minimalist, accentuating the fine ingredients’ flavours. To pair, we had the Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese 2015, from Mosel in Germany. Slightly sweet, this fresh and dewy wine worked wonderfully with the soft salmon, adding a steely minerality with fresh honeyed pear quince, apple and lemon flavours. An excellent match.
The third course evidenced a move towards the heavier meats, bringing a lamb shank with pappardelle served with preserved lemon and peas. Yet this too, was surprisingly light – the thick shavings of pappardelle pasta served perfectly al-dente with the most delicate crunch and the meat tender and juicy, cooked meticulously medium rare. The creamy sauce on top was equally light, ensuring the dish was both moreish yet satisfying. To drink, we had the Molino di Sant’Antimo Asso 2015, a cherry-rich IGT from Italy with grapes from Brunello, a powerful body, and decent elegance, adding a welcome acidity to the dish.
It was the following dish that was the star of the dinner. Quail, served with ramp, morrel and rice – a seemingly humble dish – made us vow to return to Bauhaus. Served on a black dish in the restaurant’s typically artistic way, the quail was roasted well whilst the morrel (not a dish I would eat frequently) was spectacular, served akin to a schnitzel on a bed of creamy yet zesty sauce. The rice was crispy and added a welcome crunch to the meaty flavours, and the toppings of fresh greens added eye-pleasing colour. This really was the best dish of the menu – though the lamb shank made a close second. For the wine pairing, we had a Rioja Muga – a classic pairing for this sort of white yet rich meat – intense, raspberry and cherry notes for vibrancy, yet full bodied with notes of cedar for depth and balance.
Our fifth course was a more classical German dish of wonderfully made medium-rare flat iron steak served with a creamed potato side and topped with crushed almonds and broccolini. Traditional flavours done to a very high standard, this was a lovely way to end our main courses, fully satiating us and wrapping up the evening with a return to the classic European cuisine that inspired Bauhaus. Ironically, we ended with a BC wine rather than a German, in a tasteful nod to the land on which the restaurant lies, with a LaStella Maestoso. This flagship wine from the prestigious La Stella winery in the South Okanagan, a merlot, was powerful and potent, yet fruity with rich notes of plum, dried cherry, chocolate and espresso. Perfectly rich with the flat iron steak, this pairing was a welcome finish to our meal, its chocolate notes inviting the dessert to come.
Dessert itself was remarkably sophisticated and not too sweet, a perfectly presented plate of basil ‘smash’, an ice-cream-like sweet deliciousness, served with circles of gin jelly, creamy lemon, and cucumber. Zesty and refreshing, this was more a palate cleanser than a sickly sweet dessert. Very, very moreish. Meanwhile, a classic Dr Loosen Reisling complimented this course, and much like the dessert itself, this wine was more acidic and fresh than overtly sweet and heavy, with a dryness enhanced by its crisp tangerine and green apple flavours, lashings of lime and mineraliness. Just lovely.
For the standard of Bauhaus food – innovative yet firmly rooted in traditional combinations, immaculately presented, and using only the highest quality ingredients – it is well worth visiting this Vancouverite venue. With an expansion to Toronto imminent, it’s no surprise the restaurant is doing so well. Everything was worth every cent, and I, for one, will most certainly be back.
1 W Cordova Street
BC V6B 1C8