Catch 122 Bistro-7

Catch 122 Cafe Bistro has only been in Gastown for a year plus change, however the popular French bistro draws crowds for its nightly shared plates and entrées as well as its breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. We visited last week for our first time, sitting right at the window offering the perfect Woodwards “W” tower sign view (aka “Vancouver’s Eiffel Tower”).

Catch 122 Bistro-2 Catch 122 Bistro-4 Catch 122 Bistro-3

The interior is brick with dark wood tables and chairs, giving Catch 122 a rustic feel. Antique clocks (with and without time pieces) adorn the large walls above the tables, and old photos are highlighted to show the building in its heyday. The long space includes a bar and open kitchen towards the back of the room. Funk and soul music played on the speakers the night of our visit.

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We settled in with local brews and wine – a 650 ml bottle of Fat Tug IPA ($10.95) and a glass of Tinhorn Creek’s Merlot (5 oz. pour, $8.50). Next to a fresh sheet that changes monthly are cheese and charcuterie offerings, salads, poutines, and house made desserts. The restaurant employs a pastry chef to keep things inventive.

Catch 122 Bistro-1

Chef Ian Errington is from Australia; chef Jennie Evans hails from the UK; both have made the move to our city. Jennie’s been with the restaurant for three years (Indishpensable was the former restaurant on Kitsilano’s Arbutus Street). As owner Brent Kyle explained, most of the action in Kitsilano is either on West 4th Avenue or on West Broadway.

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Arbutus Street sees a lot of local walk-ups, but for the most part, people just drive by on their way to another part of the ‘hood. Gastown made better sense, and with Wildebeest next door, West Hastings has become a dining destination pocket off of Water Street.

Catch 122 pulled pork poutine
[Pulled pork poutine]

We each ordered a couple of starters and shared an entrée before moving on to dessert.

Catch 122 Vancouver Island mussels with fries
[Vancouver Island mussels with frites]

The Moules Frites ($14) uses beautiful, good-size Vancouver Island mussels in a white wine cream sauce, with fries that aren’t soggy nor too crisp. Equally enjoyable was the Pulled Pork Poutine ($10) with hearty slow-roasted pulled pork and Applewood smoked cheddar curds.

Catch 122 Rare black pepper beef, endive gorgonzola hazelnut salad, red onion tarte tatin
[Rare black pepper beef, endive gorgonzola hazelnut salad, red onion tarte tatin]

The Beef Tenderloin ($12) contains rare black pepper beef with a pretty red onion tart tatin arriving on the plate, alongside a small endive salad topped with gorgonzola cheese and hazelnuts. The beef is succulent with a pepper crust, blending in nicely with both the horseradish cream and salad.

Catch 122 Seared scallop and bacon salad with house maple bacon, dill oil, leek ash emulsion, smoked bacon salt
[Seared scallop and bacon salad, house maple bacon, dill oil, leek ash emulsion, smoked bacon salt]

The Scallop and Bacon Salad ($12) is a wonderfully prepared starter with house-smoked maple bacon, potatoes, sliced beets, asparagus, dill oil, leek ash emulsion and sprinkling of smoked bacon salt. This was my favourite starter as the light and tender scallops play against the crisp asparagus.

Catch 122 BC Lingcod, artichoke, almond, Spanish-style white anchovy, green beans
[BC Ling cod, artichoke, almond, Spanish-style white anchovy, green beans]

BC Ling Cod ($19) is served with Spanish-style fried anchovies, green beans, peas, sautéed artichoke (easily my favorite accompaniment on the dish), roasted pepper and almonds. This is a simply prepared and tasty summer dish. We found the anchovies a bit too greasy.

Catch 122 Pear tart tatin, rum cream, whisky hazelnut Ernest ice cream, caramel, pear slices
[Pear tart tatin, rum cream, whisky hazelnut Ernest ice cream, caramel, pear slices]

We ended up sharing this dish in order to save room for dessert. We ordered two: Pear Tart Tatin ($8), with rum cream and Whisky hazelnut Earnest ice cream, and the featured seasonal Almond Grape Tart ($8) with whisky-compressed fresh red grapes, cream cheese mousse and toasted almonds.

Catch 122 Almond grape tart, whisky-compressed fresh grapes, cream cheese mousse, toasted almonds
[Almond grape tart, whisky-compressed fresh grapes, cream cheese mousse, toasted almonds]

The pear tart tatin is deconstructed on the plate, with several biscuits similar to shortbread next to the pears and caramel sauce. This was a delightful end to the meal, with the ice cream’s whisky melding well with the caramel notes and the rum cream. The almond grape tart had that delectable almond flavour that combined well with the smooth cream cheese mousse. The crust was perfectly cooked and we noticed that both desserts weren’t overly sticky sweet.

We’ll be back to enjoy the brunch menu. I’ve already eyed The Catch 122, with poached eggs on croissant, house-cured wild salmon, gorgonzola, arugula and Yukon nugget potato hash.

Catch 122 Bistro-6

Catch 122 Cafe Bistro, a comfortable space to enjoy delightful locally-inspired comfort food, is located at 122 West Hastings Street in Vancouver. Visit the restaurant online for menus and opening hours.

Disclosure: Our meals were compliments of Catch 122 Cafe Bistro, for the purpose of writing this article.

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