Vancouver: An Olympic-sized menu at Cactus Club Cafe

Two of the biggest buzz topics in the lead-up to the Games have been (a) the dreaded traffic jams, and (b) how hard it’s going to be to find a decent place to eat around the Olympic venues. While some restaurants have opted for buy-outs, others have decided to stay open for walk-ins only. Cactus Club Cafe ( has opted for the latter, meaning one of western Canada’s favourite chains will likely soon be one of the world’s, too. I recently sat down in Bentall 5 (a room that also hosts a trio of original Basquiats, thanks to Cactus founder Richard Jaffray’s fine—ahem—taste for art) for a tasting menu of chef Rob Feenie’s newest creations.

The eight-course menu seemed a bit excessive for lunch, but luckily, the miniature portions meant I managed to try everything. Standouts from the new items include the butternut squash ravioli and prawn trio (Feenie is renowned for his ravioli), the sake-soy marinated sablefish served with sliced fingerling potatoes and shiitake mushrooms in a dashi broth, and Rob’s hunter chicken, with a generous spoonful of crimini mushroom demi-glace.

Speaking of competitions, Feenie was Vancouver’s winner at the 2009 Gold Medal Plates Awards, a culinary Olympics of sorts. His winning dish: the duck and chicken presse and foie gras Polderside chicken boudin, paired with a 2008 Road 13 Viognier Roussanne Marsanne (which itself won gold at the 2009 Canadian Wine Awards). Sounds like a winning combo of poultry? It was. Here’s to Olympic-calibre feasts!

More Celebrity