Once again, it is our yearly conference in Downtown Vancouver. A time to learn new things, to get away from our job and to network. Yah right. For me, it a chance to kidnap a bunch of colleges to go eat with me for lunch! Originally, they were set on going to some salad bar place. Oh the agony! Leafy greens for lunch? In addtion to being boring, the pictures would monotonous. How I dreaded the thought of it. But somehow, I was able to "convince" everyone to join me at Beyond Restaurant & Lounge, which was across the street from the Wall Centre (where our conference was held). Originally, they had no clue where Beyond was located and really what it was. For me, I remember it to be the location of the long gone Roy's Seafood House located in the Century Plaza Hotel. Completely renovated and tres chic, this place is not out-of-line with the other Burrard Street hot spots such as Cactus Club and Joey.
We were seated right in front of the "open" kitchen. In reality, we were separated by a huge glass window; but we got to see all of our food being made. We all thought this was very neat and somewhat of a "cool" gimmick. After a difficult time choosing what to eat, due to the variety on the menu, I settled on starting with the Yam Fries. I know this is generally a generic starter usually supplied by Sysco. However, with a clear view of the kitchen, I spotted the tub of what appeared to be freshly cut fries. It's still possible they could be prepared; but at least to me, it seemed fresh. When it arrived, it was extremely large with an equally large side of cajun aioli. The fries were crispy and non-greasy. Unlike many ailoli dips out there, this one was very flavourful. For my main, I went for the Prawn Spaghetti. It turned out to be a linguine rather than spaghetti. No matter, I prefer linguine anyways. I found the pasta to be slightly past al dente; yet not terribly so. The tomato sauce was nice and thick being very mild. Normally, that would be a problem; but with the addition of whole olives and plenty of fresh Parmesan, there was no absence of saltiness. The real star of the dish was the ample amount of large prawns. They were perfectly cooked and naturally sweet.
I guess I wasn't really paying attention since someone else had ordered yam fries with their Chicken Burger. Normally I'm on top of this so I don't do duplicates; but I guess I dropped the ball on this one. Anyways, the chicken burger was extremely large with BBQ sauce on top. It was moist and good for what it's worth. The Salmon Burger was just as large. In fact, surprisingly large considering that the salmon fillet was actually bigger than the bun itself. Nicely grilled and still moist, it was a solid burger. As for their pizzas, we had both the Vegetarian and Asian Chicken Pizza. Universally, we all thought the pizzas looked the part with a decent amount of charring and colour. The consensus among those having the pizzas was that there was no absence of flavour or toppings. The crust was thin and crisp.
The last item was the daily special which happened to be the Chorizo Quiche. In theory, this should've been a slam dunk. Think of it, quiche is usually mild-tasting. Add spicy chorizo, the flavours should explode. Well, the flavour was actually decent; but the most important part of the dish was not. The quiche itself was extremely dry and crumbly. Despite the disappointing quiche, the rest of the food was actually quite good. The prices in general were not anymore expensive than Cactus Club or Joey. In fact, it was probably a bit less. Keeping in mind that the place is nicely decorated with attentive service, we were more than pleased with our lunch. Of course dinner service could be another story. Yet, if this is any indication, then Beyond is more than acceptable for what it is.
- Reasonably-priced lunch given its location
- Good portions
- Attentive service
- Nothing ground-breaking here
- It's in a hotel, what did you expect?