The French influence on Vietnamese cuisine goes back centuries, and while we often encounter the melding of the two nation's ingredients in an item like the banh mi, with its meat, pickled veggies, and fresh herbs on a crunchy baguette, we don't necessarily experience dishes from the two cuisines in tandem.
Here in Vancouver, locals have been enjoying Linh Cafe, a modest Kitsilano spot known for its "country-style" French and Vietnamese dishes for the past few years. Now chef and owner Tai Nguyen is adding a second location of his restaurant in the city, and it's moving into a high-profile downtown development.
Linh Cafe will open its doors this summer at 1428 Granville Street at Vancouver House, the posh condo tower and retail base that led to the neighbourhood getting a new nickname - the Beach District.
Nguyen, who moved to Vancouver 20 years ago, trained under several respected French chefs and pastry chefs locally at spots like La Régalade and Thierry. But Linh Cafe, named for his wife, brings together "the two loves of his life," which are "French foods and his family."
Linh Cafe is known for its menu that allows diners to have bowls of spicy bun bo hue - a rich beef and rice noodle soup - alongside things like burgers on buttery house-made brioche buns, steak frites, escargot, and rack of lamb. Additionally, Linh Cafe does several daytime dishes, like their beloved breakfast poutine, or a "Hanoi Breakfast," which is a bowl of beef noodle soup to which you can add an array of extras, like a poached egg or bone marrow. And, of course, given Nguyen's work in pastry and love of French food, you know there are plenty of delicious treats on the menu, too.
The build-out of the new space at Vancouver House has been underway for the past few weeks, and the restaurant is aiming to be open early this summer.
Vancouver House is the Westbank development with the eye-catching Bjarke Ingels-designed neo-futuristic condo tower and the 80,000-square-foot shopping mall tucked beneath it. Already up and running are London Drugs and Fresh Street Market as well as the newest outpost of Vancouver's Autostrada restaurant. One other high-profile restaurant moving in is celeb chef David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar (delayed due to the pandemic). It's also where you'll find one of the city's most controversial public art installations: a massive chandelier hung beneath the Granville Street Bridge.
Follow @linhcafe_yvr on Instagram for more updates about the forthcoming second location.