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TUC Craft Kitchen

With summer comes an abundance of colourful, fresh produce and flavours. Tuc Craft Kitchen’s Executive Chef Roy Flemming is excited to present a new summer menu to celebrate all those wonderful products that are harder to source in winter. Hearty fare and creative cocktails are behind this Gastown eatery, one that aims to bring simple, inventive and delicious dishes to its diners.

By now the term locally-sourced has nearly run its course, but suffice it to say that Chef Flemming is all about working with local producers, whether that means Gelderman Farms pork, Salt Spring mussels or Lois Lake Steelhead.

TUC Craft Kitchen/Turmeric Margarita
[Turmeric Margarita]

Our media tasting began with four of the the restaurant’s cocktails: Southern Charm (Wild Turkey 101 bourbon meets Sons of Vancouver amaretto), Noriega Daquiri (with pineapple-infused rum, yellow chartreuse, lime, star anise plus pineapple anise bitters), Tumeric Margarita (my choice of the four and well worth ordering), and Hibiscus Sour (using Odd Society Wallflower gin and creme de cassis).

TUC Craft Kitchen/Hibiscus Sour
[Hibiscus Sour]

Tuc’s cocktails range from refreshing to bold with house-made ingredients, including bitters, syrups and shrubs. As for wine, the list is a combination of Okanagan and global vintages. The owners keep markup on the affordable end of things so diners can order a great wine without breaking the bank.

Adding to the drink choices are local craft beers, ciders and non-alcoholic concoctions.

TUC Craft Kitchen

The interior is an inviting space with sturdy wooden tables, a wood bar up front and lots of heritage decor, including this vintage KET sign suspended from the ceiling with its original hardware (the remaining three letters from Seattle Public Market).

Tuc Craft Kitchen, Vancouver

I was drawn into the eclectic vibe of the eatery and felt right at home, even though I live on the opposite end of town.

UK-born Chef Flemming has lived and worked in Montreal, New York City and Vancouver, where he was hired as Chef de Partie at the Radisson in Richmond, Executive Chef at Milestones (also in Richmond), then at Milestones Robson (later overseeing 20 restaurants as Regional Executive Chef for Milestones Western Canada). In 2013, he opened Tuc with friends Colin Ross and James MacFarlane.

And now for the tasting.

TUC Craft Kitchen/Boudin Noir
[Boudin Noir]

Bites of Boudin Noir (Tuc’s playful take on British black pudding) contain sausage wrapped in crisp pastry (a comfort food for Chef Roy as his mother often prepared it for the family).

TUC Craft Kitchen/Vegan Rarebit
[Vegan Rarebit]

Vegan Rarebit is also a twist on traditional Welsh Rarebit, this version including roasted veggies, caramelized onions with a rye bread base and onion sauce topping.

TUC Craft Kitchen/Crispy Egg & Bacon
[Crispy Egg & Bacon]

Crispy Egg & Bacon is simple and delicious: a bacon-wrapped egg dipped in tempura batter. It goes down really well with the Tumeric Margarita.

TUC Craft Kitchen/Ceviche & Chicharron
[Ceviche & Chicharrón]

TUC Craft Kitchen/Lamb Dukkah
[Lamb Dukkah]

TUC Craft Kitchen/Pork Curado
[Pork Curado]

TUC Craft Kitchen/Seafood Tamarind Bisque
[Seafood Tamarind Bisque]

Once our group is seated, the mains appear: Ceviche & Chicharrón (using Lois Lake Steelhead and Gelderman Farms pork), Lamb Dukkah (a nut-free patty prepared with chickpeas and sesame seeds), Pork Curado (Gelderman Farms pork that’s brined, braised and roasted in-house), Surf & Turf (with miso-marinated Tri-Tip steak, soft shell crab siting atop sweet potatoes and miso foam) and Seafood Tamarind Bisque, loaded with flavourful shrimp paste, Thai basil and tamarind combined with the day’s local catch.

TUC Craft Kitchen Summer Tasting-12

All are paired with BC wines on the occasion of our sit-down. Anarchist’s 2015 Wildfire Pinot Noir is my favourite pour of the meal, its smooth, medium-bodied velvety feel marrying so well with that soft shell crab (and likely the tri-tip as well, though I’m not a steak eater).

TUC Craft Kitchen/Chocolate fondue shake

The fun factor of the meal is dessert: a chocolate fondue that’s repurposed into a shake with colourful sprinkles, honeycomb, toasted marshmallow and Fernet-infused chocolate anglaise with a consistency that’s perfect for sipping through a straw. It’s enough to share, so make sure you get two straws and a spoon to gobble it up.

Tuc Craft Kitchen, Vancouver

Find TUC Craft Kitchen in Gastown at 60 West Cordova Street. Non-watermarked images courtesy of Tuc Craft Kitchen.

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