Mott 32, the highly anticipated Hong Kong–based restaurant, has finally soft-launched in Vancouver.
Located inside the controversial Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver, the 148-seat culinary destination takes you far from American politics. In fact, guests are immediately transported to an olden Chinese era upon entering the 6,318-square-foot space.
Designed by award-winning interior designer Joyce Wang, the moody room features a contemporary meets old Hong Kong architecture theme that includes a large abacus hanging from the ceiling, bird cage lamp fixtures, and a private dining room modelled after opium dens.
Malcolm Wood, one of the partners at Maximal Concepts (the company behind Mott 32 and many other restaurant ventures), told the Straight in an interview last July that Mott 32 Vancouver will be a place for people to get away from reality and simply enjoy themselves.
“With all of our restaurants, sharing food and drinking and having fun is all integral to our concept,” said Wood.
In addition to the establishment's intricate décor, the menu—although pricey—is what the restaurant wants food-lovers to admire. “It’s all about the food,” Xuan Cheng Mu, another partner at Maximal Concepts, told the Straight in an interview at the restaurant just a few days before it opened to the public.
Mott 32 specializes in serving luxury Chinese fare—think Iberico pork imported from Spain and Australian wagyu sirloin—and focuses on traditional Cantonese cuisine as well as Szechuan and Beijing-style dishes.
“What we try to do is try to find the best ingredients that we can, and tweak the dishes so that it tastes a lot better than normal,” explained Mu.
For instance, Mott 32’s char siu (barbecue pork) uses Iberico pork from Spain to create a juicy and tender taste. Its signature applewood-roasted Beijing duck is sourced from a specific region in Metro Vancouver.
“It’s been a long process to try and get a duck to a level that we are happy with and that’s one example of us using local ingredients,” said Mu. “We try to use local ingredients as often as possible.”
One of the main draws of Mott 32 in Hong Kong is its dim sum menu, which is offered during both afternoons and evenings. The Vancouver location will soon serve a full daytime dim sum menu, but only nighttime dim sum is available for now.
But don’t expect to indulge in your average baskets of har gow and siu ma—Mott 32 takes it to the next level. Menu items include Maine lobster har gow with Yunnan ham, hot and sour Iberico pork Shanghainese soup dumplings, and the restaurant's popular black truffle siu mai with Iberico pork and soft quail egg. (It's slow-cooked, so expect the morsel to burst in your mouth once you take a bite.)
“It’s all about the technique, the flavour, and the ingredients,” said Mu. “We’ve managed to achieve that in Hong Kong, and that’s why we’re very busy for dim sum in Hong Kong—even the bar is packed with people eating.”
Speaking of the bar, there is a sophisticated and specially curated cocktail selection and wine list at the new restaurant—something that Chinese restaurants in Vancouver don’t usually offer.
Some of the venue's signature cocktails are the Hanami (Buffalo Trace whisky, Tanqueray gin, umeshu, yuzu, shiso, ginger beer, and chrysanthemum); Hong Kong Ice Tea (Blanco Avion tequila, Lillet blanc, blackcurrant, and jasmine tea); and Mott St. Cooler (Zubrowka vodka, Madagascar vanilla syrup, Szechuan chilli, ginger, and apple).
Those with a sweet tooth should take note of the unique dessert menu here, which is only available during dinner time. Mott's creations range from matcha cheesecake with golden leaf to green-tea-coated chocolate mousse to soy-sauce ice-cream with fresh strawberries. (Yes, soy sauce.)
“We’re hoping to be adding another nice concept to the Vancouver Chinese dining scene,” added Mu.
Mott 32’s grand opening is slated for the end of February.
Scroll through the photos below for a first look inside the high-end Chinese restaurant.