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Take fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, a unique approach to cocktails, and beautiful, eye-catching interior design, and you’ll arrive at Royal Dinette, a new restaurant with Chef/Owner David Gunawan at the helm.

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Gunawan’s worked internationally, from Seattle to Chicago, before opening Kitsilano’s Farmer’s Apprentice a couple of years back, and more recently, sister restaurant Grapes & Soda (read our Grapes & Soda feature here).

Taiwan-born Head Chef Jack Chen left Farmer’s Apprentice a month ago to start Royal Dinette, having moved to Vancouver with his family at an early age and getting his first inspiration into cooking via his mother, a talented home cook. Chen’s worked locally at Bishop’s, L’Abattoir, and Pear Tree.

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Bar Manager Wendy McGuinness has over 12 years of mixology experience working at esteemed Vancouver eateries Chambar and Blue Water Cafe. She’s worked with the best in the field and has competed internationally. As Royal Dinette’s all about pairing food with wine, craft cocktails, and local brews, the drink list also includes classics and house-made creations alike.

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Reds, white, and bubbly wines are both local and international in origin, about a dozen sold by the glass, the rest by bottle. For a special occasion, a magnum of Billiot Grand Cru Brut champagne will set you back $250.

Fennel, vadouvan, chickpeas, mint, yogurt
[Fennel, vadouvan, chickpeas, mint, yogurt]

Royal Dinette offers a two or three-course lunch ($25, $30 respectively), five-course dinner ($65 per person), and after-dinner drinks, cheeses, and desserts. The menu is small but well-curated to please most appetites and dietary preferences.

Radish, country blue, pecan streusel, sprouted grains
[Radish, country blue, pecan streusel, sprouted grains]

Ricotta Agnolotti, summer squash, speck, morels
[Ricotta Agnolotti, summer squash, speck, morels]

Last night’s preview dinner showcased the restaurant’s creative farm-to-table menu that changes seasonally. We enjoyed sharing plates of salads, luscious naturally-leavened breads from local bakery Beyond Bread with crispy pork butter and herbed olive oil, organic chicken with grilled zucchini and their fabulous made-in-house agnolotti.

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As you enter the restaurant (a partnership between Gunawan and the Donnelly Group), my eyes were immediately drawn to a pale yellow pole with a ring of deer head coat hooks, an insect-like series of lamps that grace the clean, white walls and mirrored side room, and a rack of pasty drying on the wall in back below shelving containing preserved vegetables (reminiscent of Grapes & Soda).

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In the main room, a row of ball lighting with brass fixtures and an extensive wall showcasing their wines anchors one side of the restaurant while a long counter and open kitchen showcase the chef action in the opposite part of the 70-seat eatery.

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[Front-and-center action as plates are prepped at the counter]

On a side note, Beyond Beige Interior Design, Milltown Contracting and Glasfurd & Walker’s design collaboration also spread into the washrooms.

Organic chicken, zucchini, Chrysanthemum jus
[Organic chicken, zucchini, Chrysanthemum jus]

Combining butcher block, stainless steel and emperador dark marble, Royal Dinette’s a thoughtfully-presented approach to casual dining with all eyes on a talented culinary and bar team.

Royal Dinette, Vancouver
[Interior photo courtesy of Royal Dinette]

Royal Dinette is located at 905 Dunsmuir Street below Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar and is now open for weekday lunch, happy hour, dinner, late-night drinks and nibbles.

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