Granville Island is one of my happy places. The colours, sights, sounds and….mmmm smells, never fail to delight me. I can wander around the market for hours, fascinated with all of the exotic ingredients, clever art and inspiring floral arrangements. There’s no shortage of fantastic eateries either. One late afternoon while meandering around Granville waiting for a friend, the heavens opened and suddenly it was a torrential downpour. Brutally unprepared, I popped into the closest doorway, hoping for the best.
Fortunately, I chose the right door. A comfortable restaurant, with friendly staff and a blazing fireplace warmed me up in no time! I ordered a big, fat glass of Merlot and asked my server what he suggested for a snack. He enthusiastically described their Moules Frites and I was sold immediately!
Whet’s ‘once-in-a-while’ delicacy, didn’t disappoint. The crisp, salty fries, paired with the fresh, sweet mussels, bathing together in the delicate white wine and truffle flavours. Of course…I needed to get the recipe! I was managed to chat with Marvin, one of the owners of Whet Kitchen, Bar & Patio. Although his family believed he was destined to be a doctor, his self proclaimed “food-love” took him in other directions. After developing the popular lower mainland Sammy J. Peppers to 8 locations over 14 years, Marv decided that he’d like to do something a bit smaller in scale, focused on seasonal comfort food, designed with local BC ingredients and Oceanwise seafood. Although the challenge of developing a chain was interesting. He liked the idea of focusing on developing one great kitchen, one that had the flexibility to change the menu according to seasonally fresh food and availability.
In April 2011, Whet opened it’s doors. With a panoramic view of the Granville Island Harbour and a casually elegant interior they welcome tourists and locals alike. Their menu is created seasonally with their team; Chef Chris Thibbealt, Chef Julius Legaspina and Chef Jeremy Braun. Each with different backgrounds and strengths to pull into the successful mix. They work alongside wine consultant Katelynn Katora to ensure their beverage parings compliment their tasty menu, featuring several local wines as well as twelve beers on tap, all local, from scratch and artisan inspired. It’s not hard for the chef’s to get inspired by fresh ingredients when they are neighbours to some of the sweetest food sources available; Granville Island Market, the Lobster Man, Oyama Sausage Company and Benton Bros. Fine Cheese all provide excellent ingredients daily.
Fortunately after speaking with Chef Julius, he kindly shared the moule frites recipe that is a favourite with the regulars..and myself!
With patio season upon us, now is a great time to pop in and enjoy the beautiful view, friendly service and delightful plates at Whet!
- 1/2 lb. mussels
- 2 oz. heavy cream
- 1 oz. white wine
- 2 oz. vegetable stock or water
- 7 oz. fries
- pinch of minced garlic and white onion
- a pinch of grated grana padano cheese
- 1/4 tsp. truffle oil
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. rendered bacon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Step 1 Heat the sauce pan, pour the olive oil, add your minced onion and garlic, saute’ it a little bit.
- Step 2 Add your mussels and toss them gently.
- Step 3 Next add the white wine to deglaze
- Step 4 Stir in bacon, cream and vegetable stock, season it to taste with salt and pepper.
- Step 5 Cover it with a pan, let simmer until the mussels open. Discard any that don’t open
- Step 6 While letting mussels cook, drop your fries in oil so they are ready at the same time. (at home I cooked fries once ahead of time and then dropped them a second time quickly prior to serving)
- Step 7 Season the fries with coarse salt.
- Step 8 In a pasta bowl, plate your mussels first, top with the fries, grate some grana padano cheese over top, then add a touch truffle oil and garnish it with the chopped parsley.
- Step 9 Enjoy!
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” ~ Luciano Pavarotti