Globe at YVR Airport-6

One of the first things on people’s minds when checking into an airport is getting through airport security in order to board their plane on time. And while most airports feature the usual selection of chain restaurants (and if you’re lucky, a genuine local favourite), most meals are quickly consumed or taken to-go for the flight.

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What if you arrived at the airport ahead of time and indulged in a gorgeous meal, or sandwich for your flight? And what if that restaurant seemed miles away from the bustling gates and their frenzied passengers, yet still in the airport?

Globe at YVR Airport-5

Enter Globe@YVR, Fairmont Vancouver’s answer to proper airport dining. Located just off the US Departures level, the Fairmont Vancouver Airport has recently been ranked North America’s #1 airport hotel. Just inside the hotel’s entrance, Globe@YVR seats 130 hungry passengers (and diners) with a prime view of the plane-spotting action.

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[Globe@YVR’s Executive Chef Karan Suri]

Earlier this week, I had the chance to meet new Executive Chef Karan Suri and sit down for a seven-course lunch (small plates, I assure you!) while learning about Suri’s background and impressive resume. Chef Suri has worked in kitchens all over the world. He began his career in 2005 in his native country, at New Delhi’s Oberoi Group, and has worked in Singapore, Dubai, Africa, and now—Vancouver.

Some of the Michelen-starred chefs he’s had the pleasure of working with include Alain Passard, Phil Howard, and Nicolas LeBec. In Dubai, he oversaw the culinary team at both Fire and Ice, Cellar & Grill, as well as at Azur, during a two-year stint.

Before leaving Asia, he oversaw the launch of prestigious Leela Palace (as sous chef), working at the resort’s signature restaurants Le Cirque and Megu.

Globe at YVR Airport-9

Now in Vancouver, his motto is “locally-sourced, globally-inspired” cuisine. Globe@YVR works with Fraser Valley farmers and only uses Oceanwise-sanctioned seafood in dishes included on a widely-varied menu. After all, according to Suri, “You’re catering to a huge clientele of people in different time zones”. Flexibility is key to keeping travellers happy, whether they’re about to fly or have just landed and are in need of anything from nourishing to comfort-style foods.

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We started by preparing our own fish tacos in the kitchen, using Chef Suri’s potato-flecked fish bites and an array of condiments. I decided to sample a trio of craft beers from the restaurant’s draught selection, including smooth, mildly-sweet Fairmont Honey Lager, prepared with the hotel’s own bee hives. Joining the trio is Whistler Black Tusk Ale and Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA. All provided excellent flavour profiles to both the fish tacos and our starter of lamb croquette, scallops with duck confit, and a Fraser Valley lamb burger.

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[Fairmont’s own Honey Lager, Whistler Black Tusk Ale, Driftwood Brewery’s Fat Tug IPA]

The lamb croquette is seasoned with sumac and lamb jus, while the scallops have a rhubarb glaze. The Fraser Valley lamb burger is enhanced with baba ganoush, feta cheese, and an in-house made sourdough ciabatta. By this time, two BC wines were poured for our meal: Blasted Church’s 2010 Cabernet/Merlot, and Church & State’s Chardonnay. Unexpected but providing an excellent compliment to both lamb burger and lamb croquette was the chardonnay, with its crisp bite and vanilla oak finish. Let’s just say that both the Cab/Merlot and the Chardonnay went down smoothly with all three bites.

Globe at YVR Airport-12

Another unexpected surprise: the kitchen team brought out braised short rib with creamy mashed potatoes topped with a baby balsamic onion—in a sealed tin! When we each opened our tin, the rich, delightful aroma of the short rib came came up to greet my nose. This dish paired nicely with both the Fat Tug IPA and the Black Tusk Ale.

Globe at YVR Airport-7

Nothing says BC like Skeena salmon. Chef Suri heightens a simple dish of salmon and leeks by cooking them in vegetable ash; this imparts a lovely smoky flavour to the dish. Adding to the plate is a tiny scoop of dehydrated Roma tomatoes, roasted baby spinach, and a drizzle of herbed oil. The leeks (together with celery) are burnt-on-grill on high heat until charred. Ash cooking is a hot trend in London at the moment.

This is truly a dish for fish lovers!

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A goat cheese and beet root salad followed as a nice palate-cleanser. Toasted walnuts accompany colourful beets prepared four ways: pickled, fresh, chip, and roasted, along with puréed beet root for added flavour and colour on the plate. Mature Valencay goat cheese from Agassiz’s Farm House Cheeses is also ash-laden, to keep in theme with the Skeena salmon. It’s delightful, and we’re lucky to have so many beautifully-coloured beets available in this neck of the woods, AND intelligent chefs who know how to make them sing.

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One of Globe@YVR’s best-sellers arrives at our table next: Fresh sablefish in a dehydrated garlic/butter sauce with bacon-roasted fingerling potatoes, avocado, and fennel soil. This is also one of the few dishes in the restaurant that’s specially served on rustic basalt plates. This was a flavourful, moist, and delicate piece of fish, enhanced by some amazingly simple, yet tasty accompaniments. I enjoyed this dish tremendously, especially with sips of Church & State chard.

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Chef Suri decided to spoil us with several sweet finishes to our meal: on-the-spot-prepared honey ice cream, and homemade apple pie and tiramisu.

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I enjoyed the fresh tiramisu presentation in-glass; the chef believes this imparts more flavour to the mascarpone cheese.

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In addition to hands-down one of the most inventive menus I’ve sampled all year, Globe@YVR’s interior is light, simple, and elegant. Those large floor-to-ceiling windows take in the tarmac action with sweeping views of the local mountains.

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Light fixtures enhance the walls and curved, white ceiling. I noticed unique, eye-catching light fixtures in other areas of the hotel (as well as the entrance).

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If you’re not heading in or out of town, consider this: Globe@YVR is an easy half-hour trip on the Canada Line from downtown Vancouver, you won’t have to worry about parking, or enjoying a few of the many craft beers, cocktails, and wines on offer here.

Globe@YVR at night
[Globe@YVR at night; photo courtesy of Fairmont Vancouver]

A Food for Flight menu is a great way to get a clubhouse sandwich, salad, breakfast burrito or muffins to take away on your flight. In-house pastry chef Lorna sees to a daily selection of fresh pastries and breads. With only one month at the kitchen helm, I’m anxious to see how Chef Suri’s menu will develop over time. He’s truly a blessing to have in our food-forward city.

Globe@YVR is located inside the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel at Vancouver International Airport.

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