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A 'culinary hideaway': Exciting new Vancouver restaurant now open in downtown

Those awaiting the debut of this modern Pacific Northwest-inspired restaurant will be happy to know their table is almost ready.

Those awaiting the debut of Archer, a modern Pacific Northwest-inspired restaurant in downtown Vancouver, will be happy to know their table is almost ready.

The new restaurant officially opened on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 1152 Alberni St (in the former Pink Elephant Thai space).

Archer is the concept from Karen Ho and Iain Bell (6 Degrees Eatery) who were thrilled when the 2,400-square-foot restaurant space became available, as they'd been looking for a while for a suitable home for a fresh venture.

During the months-long build-out to create Archer, Ho and Bell wound up closing up shop this July at 6 Degrees, their popular brunch-focused Coal Harbour eatery.

While the initial hope was to have Archer up and running by the summer, delays ensued. Now the crew will first welcome guests for an initial few days of "soft launch" service to introduce Vancouver to its "modern Canadian fare and inventive drinks inside a room inspired by British Columbia’s natural landscape," per the opening announcement.

What's on the menu at Archer?

The culinary team features Chef Clement Chan, Chef de Cuisine Sandy Chen and Executive Pastry Chef Kiko Nakata. Chan, may be best known for being the original Le Tigre food truck co-founder; the boundary-pushing mobile concept led him to co-found the award-winning Torafuku. Chan has since moved on to work largely in a consultant capacity, but will now take the lead for Archer.

Chan and Chen are credited with collaborating on Archer's menu, which "aims to celebrate the coasts and waters of the Pacific Northwest, highlighting the bounty of the region’s talented farmers, fisherfolk, and producers, as well as the diverse cultures and flavours of Canada," according to the restaurant PR. What that translates to in terms of food: Binchotan Octopus with fingerling potatoes; Salmon Crudo with local steelhead and a Castelvetrano olive crouton; Crab Gnocchi with uni bisque; five-spice duck breast; and smoked local oysters.

Archer's dishes are designed to be eaten family style; the menu encourages mix-and-matching dishes to be enjoyed by the whole table. 

When it comes to dessert, it sounds like diners are in store for a few show-stoppers that Nakata has crafted, including something called the "Flaming Cheesecake," which comes to the table with a chocolate dome and a flaming shot of Grand Marnier. 

Archer's interior was designed by Western Canada’s Little Giant Studio. The 70-seater boasts an "immersive" dining room with soft colours and pops of green inspired by moss on the forest floor. The room is framed with driftwood and sculptural elements meant to echo the ribs of a canoe. A six-seat stone bar serves as a focal point. 

Alberni Street is, of course, a hallmark Vancouver destination for luxury shopping, which Ho and Bell acknowledge. "As independent operators, our goal is to offer quality, elevated brunch and dinner fare to the neighbourhood, all while bringing a sense of place when you step through the doors with the ambience and design."

“It’s been exciting to see Archer come to life and all the hard work being put into it, from the quiet elegance of the beautiful room, the bespoke details, to the wholly creative and delicious dishes by our kitchen team,” say Ho and Bell in Archer's opening announcement to the media.

"We are truly here to bring something different to Vancouver’s downtown, and can’t wait for diners to be transported away from the busy streets into our culinary hideaway on Alberni Street.”

Archer will be open Wednesday to Sunday, from 5:30 p.m. to late. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling 778-737-6218. Walk-ins are welcome.

We checked out Archer during its soft-opening. Watch to see the new restaurant and food:

@vancouverisawesome That dessert is 🔥#forkingawesome #vancouverbc #vancouverfood ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim