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A delicious four-course meal that can be enjoyed in an hour.
Who has time for a four-course, fine dining experience over their lunch break? Diva at the Met has come up with a brilliant way for guests to enjoy a gourmet lunch on a tight schedule: the Power Lunch.
645 Howe Street, Vancouver
No, you don’t need to dig out your 80s power suit to attend this lunch—its power comes from the clever way it’s served, with all four courses delivered to your table on a single platter so you can be in and out in less than an hour.
Executive Chef Hamid Salimian, who recently returned to Diva, is known for his creative approach to Pacific Northwest cuisine, modern cooking methods and commitment to using local ingredients.
Chef Salimian spent five years at Diva earlier in his career, and then further developed his craft at a number of establishments around BC before returning to take the top spot at Diva this past August.
I wasn’t able to capture the as-presented state of the amuse bouche (which changes daily) brought to my table when I first arrived because it was a deliciously fleeting fizz of citrus, tarragon and mint that experienced a little shrinkage before I could snap a picture.
Next came one of my all-time favourite buns, no joke. It was wonderfully crispy on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside, with the perfect mix of flaky sea salt and crunchy poppy seeds on the crust. For a bread-lover like me, it was divine.
A complimentary amuse bouche and bread selection are served while you wait for your lunch at Diva at the Met. (Image: Catherine Roscoe Barr)
Then came the main attraction, a platter with my four-course lunch. First I was struck by the cleverness of the all-at-once delivery and then by the creativity of the dishes before me. Each power lunch comes with a soup, and that day I was presented with the roasted corn soup with jalapeno cream.
The gentle heat of the jalapenos was wonderful aside the sweetness of the corn, and the portion size was just right. Chef Salimian’s recipe for this soup was recently featured in the Vancouver Sun.
The starter was a Waldorf salad with compressed apple, blue cheese and candied walnuts. This isn’t the kind of Waldorf you’d throw together at home—unless you dabble in compressing foods.
Chef Salimian came out to tell me about the lengthy process of preparing the apples, and it was clear that he takes inspiration from using whatever local ingredients are currently available. His use of contemporary techniques gives his dishes a unique and creative flair.
“Because the menu is changed at least a couple of times throughout the week, it allows us to make sure we’re offering creative dishes that reflect what’s in season and currently inspiring us in the kitchen,” says chef Salimian.
After the delightful salad, I moved on to the fall-apart tender steak with celeriac remoulade, mushrooms, onions and béarnaise vinaigrette. Again, it was the perfect portion but was so tasty that I didn’t leave a single morsel on my plate.
The dessert, a chevre cheesecake with whole wheat thyme crumble and caramel pears, was such a nice surprise; it was a fun take on cheesecake, almost deconstructed. The components were a revelation and I plan on trying the gorgeous combination of ingredients as a substitute for the apple mixture in my apple crumble recipe.
If you dine at Diva you’ll have your own unique Power Lunch experience because the menu changes almost daily—but you’re sure to be wowed by Chef Salimian’s delicious and innovative creations.
The Power Lunch is available on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.