With Vancouver weather feeding the stereotype that it’s known for, I was pleased to see the sun and finally feel the warmth after a whole day of hail and slush on the roads. This prompted me to grab my sunglasses and get the family into our car to go for a drive to Vancouver for a much deserved patio-lunch. I chose to eat at the newly-established, Hyde on Main Street, formerly known as Zigs Urban Bistro only a couple of months ago.
Being a huge fan of restaurants with eccentric and unconventional decor (like Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe on West 4th and The Eatery on West Broadway), Hyde, was definitely a pleasant surprise paying homage to the illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books. Although there was a sense of “Goth” – with some of the walls being painted dark purple and displaying some eerie artwork, the vibe of the restaurant was the least bit sinister. In fact, the room was filled with the sound of strangers laughing like old friends and was beautifully lit by a mixture of sunshine through the huge windows at the front and the plentiful lighting inside the restaurant. I was also glad the music wasn’t ear-splitting (like it is in most restaurants/pubs) as that provided a comfortable environment for the little one.
The menu wasn’t pages long (it was actually condensed into a one-sided sheet, cleverly attached to a clipboard to stay intact) but it still contained enough dishes to choose from - typically ranging from appetizers, like a Caesar salad or yam fries to more filling dishes, such as their chicken, beef or lamb burgers. The price range is also very affordable for the customer who usually frequents more mainstream restaurants that serve similar food, like Earl's, with Hyde’s most inexpensive dish being $4.95 to $14.95 for the priciest dish on the menu.
Playing on the Alice in Wonderland theme, the restaurant also features a “Potions” menu to list the many alcoholic beverages they have, being categorized either under Modern or Vintage.
Having one server manning the entire restaurant (which includes about 6 tables indoors, a bar that seats about 8 people and the patio hosting another couple of tables), I was amazed at how frequently present, informative and friendly she remained with us. Most servers would’ve been frazzled and short with this many customers to tend to but somehow our glasses were magically filled to the rim most of the time and our questions about the ingredients and production of each dish were answered with detail and confidence.
Only a short while after ordering, our appetizer was brought out. Before I even took a bite of this delightfully layered poutine, I already noticed that the fries were indeed fresh, seeing the potato skin making a humble yet obvious existence. This was certainly not made with the same rush of a fast-food poutine but rather a dish carefully tiered to avoid having any of its key components from being too clumped together. No matter which way I dug into this dish, I was sure to have a fork-full of just the right blend of fries, gravy and cheese.
Lunch was served shortly and I was thrilled to take my first bite into one of their (less quirky) items on the menu (sorry, I wasn’t feeling too adventurous this time around). I personally judge a good BLT by the thickness and my ability to gnaw into the sandwich. Hyde’s BLT, without a doubt passed my (not so formal) test with flying colors. I also appreciated the freshness of the tomatoes and lettuce, along with the chicken breast which isn’t traditionally included in a BLT but was worth the addition. I’m not sure what type of bread they used but it felt like the portion was never ending. This may be a good or bad thing depending on how hungry one is or if one is willing to carry a doggy-bag at the end of their meal. I had a choice of soup, salad or fries with this entre and being a cream of mushroom soup-fanatic, I naturally chose the soup. Although it was a tad on the salty side, I ate through most of it as I enjoyed finding huge pieces of sliced mushroom throughout the soup.
I have to admit, I did end up feeling full after wolfing down ¾’s of my BLT and soup, so I had the rest to go and saved just enough room to steal some of my husband’s order, the pork sliders with coleslaw. I’m not really sure if these can even be called “sliders” (mini hamburgers) as they didn’t taste like your traditional burger nor were they mini. Instead of your conventional beef patty, the jalapeno infused cornbread sandwiched heaps of savory grilled pulled pork that together created a taste of being at a backyard family barbecue. The coleslaw was also a great partner to these “sliders” and continued the trend of alternative ingredients for everyday dishes.
As the end of our winter season would have it, the weather didn’t stay warm and the sun quickly went down so we didn’t end up eating at the patio as I had planned, but this wasn’t to say our drive to Vancouver wasn’t worth the gas. I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at this restaurant and consider Hyde as Main Street’s version of the Cheers pub, where everybody seemed to know everybody’s name – only with tastier food and an ambiance that keeps one feeling “curiouser and curiouser.”