Argan Bistro: Exploring global flavours with local ingredients

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Snapper Ceviche (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz)

Argan Bistro is just steps from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver’s Robson Street. With the summer sun beating down on the sidewalk of Jervis, sloping towards Coal Harbour, the restaurant’s charming six-seat patio deck juts out, beckoning diners to slide in for a meal.

Previously home to Morocco West, Argan Bistro has the same owner, Kevin Lin, but a new chef and a new culinary sensibility. In the kitchen is Chef Jeff Miller, who shares Lin’s passion for fresh, local, organic ingredients prepared and presented with global flair.

Currently offering the same menu at lunch and dinner, Argan Bistro’s dishes embrace the best of the season and eclectic and often exotic flavours in a way that is ultimately the epitome of Canadian “west coast” cuisine.

Smoked Oyster Po'Boy (a href="https://www.facebook.com/ArganBistro/photos/pb.1474232886125533.-2207520000.1436219730./1646046155610871/?type=3&theater">Argan Bistro/Facebook)

Smoked Oyster Po’Boy (Image: Argan Bistro / Facebook)

Take a dish like the Smoked Oyster Po’Boy Sliders, for example, whose official menu description reads: Alder wood-smoked beach oysters, centre cut Canadian bacon, oven-dried romas, organic greens, quail eggs, pickled shallots, fingerling potatoes, and chili aioli. Few things say Canada like thick, sweet bacon, and smoking is a cornerstone of Aboriginal cuisine. Things get really playful with this multi-dimensional with the addition of the quail eggs, which teeter between soft and hard boiled, served perched on top of the slider-style mini-sandwiches.

Argan’s wide-range of dishes showcase a variety of techniques and are all presented with an artistic flourish on the plates, like the visually stunning tequila and grapefruit marinated snapper ceviche, delicately piled on sweet and juicy watermelon “planks” and featuring exciting elements like a fiery mole oil, plantain hickory sticks, and habañero-passion fruit “caviar.” Dancing the line between salty, citrus, and sweet, this refreshing starter is a great way to kick off a meal.

Maple Soy Pork Belly & Kimchi Cabbage Rolls (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz)

Maple Soy Pork Belly & Kimchi Cabbage Rolls (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz)

There are some vestiges of Morocco West that remain at Argan Bistro, starting with the name (the argan tree is endemic to Morocco), along with the colourful tagines (cooking vessels) on display near the kitchen, or a menu item like the Chermoula Roasted Free-range Chicken. However, the rest of the menu is more like a passport to global taste adventures; hit up Korea with the Maple Soy Pork Belly & Kimchi Cabbage Rolls, or Japan with the Blackened Snapper Tempura, all by way of Canada and the bountiful foods of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

Lin is excited to have Argan Bistro as his homage to B.C.’s beautiful produce and proteins, and to have Miller at the stoves realizing their shared ideal of west coast cooking. With several years in professional kitchens, Lin is pleased to be a proprietor, and looks forward to welcoming locals and Vancouver’s visitors to Argan Bistro, especially since its recent reboot and relaunch. Plans are in the works to kick-off a brunch service, giving diners another chance to explore global flavours using local ingredients.

Argan Bistro

Address: 795 Jervis Street
Phone: 604-563-8466
Website: arganbistro.com

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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