Hawksworth goes Thai for Dine Out Vancouver

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      While Hawksworth Restaurant is known for its well-executed, inventive cuisine, last night (January 30) the restaurant did something completely different. As part of a series of themed evenings for Dine Out Vancouver, chef David Hawksworth and chef de cuisine Kristian Eligh created a special Thai menu.

      I attended the event, which took place in a Rosewood Hotel Georgia ballroom, as a media guest at one of the long, communal tables. I had a good view of bartender Jonathan Smolensky shaking up cocktails.

      Bartender Cooper Tardivel created four cocktails to pair with the evening's four courses.

      Carolyn Ali

      The cocktails combined Thai ingredients like lemongrass and kaffir limes with spirits including rum and bourbon. The final cocktail was a shot of rough Mekong whiskey topped with Red Bull ice cream--a creative and nostaligic drink that's not meant to be particularly refined. My favourite was the first, unnamed drink (above) with a touch of bird's eye chili. This had a wicked kick that slowed the sweet, easy sip.

      The food played with classic Thai dishes. The presentation impressed me most: everything was beautifully plated with liberal use of tropical touches like banana leaves, which make any dish more fun.

      Here's a look at the four courses.

      Carolyn Ali

      Green papaya salad with salted tamarind beef, crispy shirmp, and cilantro.

      Carolyn Ali

      This little banana-leaf package opened up to reveal snapper steamed with galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime, and chili.

      Carolyn Ali

      The duck with red curry was served alongside a platter of aromatic Thai jasmine rice presented on a banana leaf.

      Carolyn Ali

      Dessert was the best course: a hollowed-out half coconut filled with coconut milk ice cream, mango, and lemongrass jelly. Set on a bed of ice, it was a gorgeous presentation, and a treat to scoop out frozen young coconut meat.

      Hawksworth's final Dine Out Vancouver dinner, which spotlights Tokyo, is sold out for this Saturday (February 2). But the restaurant recently added another event, featuring Barcelona, tomorrow night (February 1). A few tickets remain.

      Dine Out Vancouver continues until Sunday (February 3), with over 200 restaurants offering three-course set menus.