There has been a buzz about this place for a while (it had not opened due to licensing issues with City Hall) and when I learned it was open from Andrew Morrison's Urban Diner site, I thought I'd check it out. It has only been open for three days and is in a bit of a soft-opening mode.
The space is amazing - exposed brick, huge, lofty, and well designed. It has a balcony that looks down upon the bar and lower level. It has some cool metal artwork on the walls. The lower floor is carpeted which contributes to the more subdued acoustics....not shrill like at many other new spots with acoustically hard walls, floors, and ceilings.
The staff and owners are very friendly and attentive. The owner-partners seem to be nice guys with a lot industry experience who are striking out on their own. Opening up a "dream" restaurant is a huge risk they are willing to take in a really competitive industry here in town. Kudos.
I'll describe the food as "global tapas". It is a survey of sharable appetizers from around the world. Wisely, the chef has not made the food into the forced fusion you get from many other restaurants (you know...Thai-inspired Noodle Salads, etc.). I'm normally quite cynical of this type of food, but here, each dish stands on its own, and is well seasoned, cooked and presented. There is clearly some real skill in the kitchen.
Each appetizer averages around $10 a plate...very well priced and the portions were fair is size. Examples of dishes included - Steak Medallions in a Red Wine Reduction, Pork and Chicken Terrine, Satay (this one is named a bit oddly - I would consider it more of a Vietnamese sugar cane Chao Tom rather than a satay), Chicken Breast, Beef Carpaccio...
The owners tell me that full-sized mains are coming on line soon...but after my meal of nothing but the apps, I was thinking they really don't need them.
They had a good wine list and beerlist on tap (tonight I was drinking a very nice Joie white).
Overall a thumbs up. This would be a great place to have a "drinks-forward" evening - they have 2:00am license. A great addition to an already excellent Gastown food scene....and yet another small-plate centric restaurant on the already burgeoning list.
Revel Room Restaurant & Lounge
238 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B2K8, CA