I’m in Gastown a lot. It’s my favourite place in the city. Strangely, despite my love of walking down the cobblestones of Water Street, I rarely ended up walking a block up to Cordova to check out Boneta in its old location. Either this restaurant never received a lot of hype, or I wasn’t as into food as I am now and didn’t pay attention to it, but it has always seemed to be quite low key in comparison to the many restaurants of the month in the Lower Mainland. Boneta eventually moved onto Water, and I eventually got around to going. It’s now located in the nook that is the Gaoler’s Mews, in a fishbowl-like glass space that lets plenty of natural light in.
Like any restaurant in Gastown, Boneta ain’t a slump when it comes to cocktails. This is the Cascadian, their take on a shandy (basically, beer mixed with a soft drink or juice). Boneta uses an IPA as a base and accentuates the citrus characteristics of the style with grapefruit juice and hopped grapefruit bitters. The herbal, astringent qualities of gin and a tea syrup play well with the drink and shore up the IPA’s bitterness, which would have been toned down a bit too much by the juice if it weren’t for their addition.
This beef carpaccio came with came with quail eggs and an arugula walnut salad on top. I think the quail eggs sold me, but the arugula salad was very good, which surprised me because I don’t even like arugula. The nuts also added a nice accent and extra crunch to the salad — I’m a huge sucker for crunchy things. I should add nuts to my salads at home.
I ordered the roasted lamb. I’m a fan of lamb — never got people’s issue with the flavour. It’s a bit stronger than beef, that’s for sure, but it’s nice to step outside of your comfort zone once in a while. It sure beats the bland chicken dish that every restaurant has on their menu as a backup (lately, salmon has been filling that role, it seems). This lamb came as two parts: the cylinder in the centre had a pulled pork-like texture and richer flavour than the slices of lamb meat near the top of the plate.
To all those who haven’t been, I suggest you check out Boneta. It occupies the niche between more comfort food type restaurants in Gastown such as Pourhouse and the higher end establishments like L’Abattoir, so there’s something for everyone here.