Dinner at @HelmVancouver (The Helm, Downtown Vancouver)
Last night I went for dinner with JT to The Helm in downtown Vancouver, at the previous location of UnWine’d. The Helm’s executive team has done a marvelous job of creating the ambiance of a dinner club much like Montreal, New York, etc. The music is excellent and the food, outstanding. I did not take photos of the food this time, though, but I did take a few photos of their launch, to which I was invited a couple of weeks ago.
There are a number of great things about The Helm’s menu, not the least of them the fact that they source organic, local, farm-to-table, Ocean Wise and that their menu is pretty imaginative. We were greeted with complimentary champagne beverages and vinegar-salted chips for hors d’oeuvres. When we were looking at the menu, both JT and I were relatively full so we didn’t want to over-eat. I ordered Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Wild Mushroom Sauce ($11) and Savoury Bread Pudding with Turkey Confit Gravy and Huckleberries ($12). The cabagge rolls were absolutely delicious (I’m a big fan of cabbage rolls and Chef Tobey Nemeth’s are well done, stuffed until there is no space to put more stuffing inside).
My bread pudding with turkey confit gravy was excellent too, a very tasty and welcome variation on a classic bread pudding (which most of the time I’ve consumed sweet). I was pretty impressed with how varied the menu was. The portions are sizable (although you probably want to do at least 2 main courses if you’re pretty hungry). We did go for dessert: Gingerbread Trifle with Pumpkin Custard and Candied Pumpkinseeds (so light it’s not even feeling like dessert) and Coconut Panna Cotta with Lime Foam and Meringue (also very light and extremely well done). The merengue was incredibly tasty and tasted so sweet it was melting.
I ordered a drink (which sadly I can’t recall what the name was, but had espresso vodka AND Kalhua – enough said). I’ve had their drinks before and they’ve been nothing short of awesome. Overall, as I said on Twitter, The Helm is comforting, great ambiance and music, affordable (our bill came down to about $60 after tax and tip, admittedly thanks to a couple of complimentary desserts – thanks for that!). But still, it’s not expensive and that’s the one thing I like about The Helm: that while the decor and music look and feel swanky, the food is very comforting and it’s not pretentious at all.
We had the pleasure of having Chef Tobey come to our table and talk to us about the menu she’s about to launch, so perhaps this would be a nice time for you to come and check The Helm out. I already did and can give it the stamp of approval.
Disclosure: While our desserts were complimentary and we were greeted with complimentary champagne drinks and hors d’oeuvres, I paid for our dinner on my own. The fact that The Helm has been kind enough to sponsor two of my recent contests, including a dinner for 2 and a show, and a 4 tickets’ pack for their New Years’ Boardwalk Empire party pack, does not affect in any way, shape or form my perception of their restaurant (which is very good). As always, I retain editorial control at all times, a fact that is well-known to anyone who sponsors my contests or whose restaurants/artistic performances/events I visit for review or reporting. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.