Restaurateur Salli Pateman, formerly of Yaletown’s Section (3), is putting the final touches on a new dining destination, Sai Woo, set to open in March 2015. Located at 160 Pender Street in Chinatown, the restaurant boasts two levels: the 113-seat upper floor is home to a dining area, bar and Chef’s Table; the 75-seat lower floor features its own bar and smaller menu, inviting guests to linger long into the evening. Building on the raw potential of the area, Sai Woo is cloaked in history; its 1930’s predecessor, Sai Woo Chop Suey, occupied the same footprint, and the contemporary version is poised to become a hub of the reinvigorated neighbourhood.
Salli and a solid team of experienced industry collaborators lead Sai Woo. Award-winning bartender Justin Anello oversees the drinks lists; Shilo Francis manages front-of-house operations; and Chef Douglas Chang leads the kitchen.
Previously of West and Bambudda, Chef Chang is passionate about food rooted in regional cuisine, but isn’t afraid to take his culinary repertoire beyond BC’s backyard. He draws from dining experiences low and high, exotic and familiar; fresh seasonal foods are combined with inspiring finds from Chinatown’s inexhaustible pantry to create cuisine that speaks firmly of Vancouver’s history and people.
Complementing Sai Woo’s dishes are beverages by bartender Justin Anello. Classics and house signatures are navigated with precision using top-shelf liquors and house-made syrups. Asian influences abound in spiked Vietnamese coffee and drinks infused with exotic fruits from neighbourhood stalls. And teetotalers take note: clever takes on nonalcoholic cocktails are given due care and attention alongside their spirited brethren.
Vancouver’s Falken Reynolds along with Anna Walentowicz of Domain Creative is overseeing all aspects of the reconstruction and design process of Sai Woo’s 6000-square-foot interior, creating a chic, modern look, while highlighting its original character. Featuring Bendtsen furniture, and lighting by award-winning designer Lukas Peet, the interior exposes original character-filled brick walls and salvaged fir flooring. The exterior maintains a low profile, inviting visitors to embrace Sai Woo’s air of mystery, and encouraging the inquisitive to seek adventure behind unlikely doors.