You read that right - conference centre “cuisine”. Those three words together in the same sentence may seem paradoxical, as we usually expect cold breakfast wraps, egg muffin sandwiches or frozen pizzas. LOT185, Vancouver Convention Centre’s new cafe and wine bar, opened last year in the prime corner of the building facing out onto the Jack Poole Plaza, and aims to redefine our conference food standards.
Inspired by the laid-back atmosphere of European cafes, and tapas and wine bars, the menu at LOT185 focuses on sourcing local ingredients. An in-house bakery, overseen by Executive Pastry Chef Maurizio Persichino, provides fresh baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, and other grab and go items during the day. Tapas and Neapolitan–style pizzas are featured in the afternoon and evenings with a menu crafted by Executive Chef Mark Massicotte that reflects Vancouver’s multi-cultural flavours. A BC forward wine and craft beer list, complemented by a selection of international wines, is offered alongside a full coffee bar with ethically sourced beans from North Vancouver coffee roasters, Moja Coffee.
Freshly-baked pastries prepared by the culinary team behind the convention banquets line the glass case in the cafe, and you’ll be hard-pressed to choose between the regular and almond croissant (we went for the latter). Pastries are prepared daily, and the colourful array of sweets showcasing dainty designs will satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
Left: Almond Croissant
Right: Lemon Blueberry Scone
Plush, blue velvet booths in the cafe and wine bar area provide an intimate dining space for groups, where you can enjoy the daily food specials and curated wine selection. What we like most about the spot is how quiet it is, in comparison to other eateries that boast a “lively” atmosphere with coffee machines, the kitchen, next table’s chatter and background music droning out your conversation. Here, you can enjoy a coffee and pastry without any white noise - it’s just you and the natural light streaming in from the floor to ceiling windows.
LOT185 also offers appetizers like soup and shared charcuterie platters. The chowder we had was creamy and delicious, a go-to option if you are craving comfort food. The charcuterie platter would be a perfect complement to a friends gathering over a few glasses of wine.
If you are feeling hungry, LOT185 offers tasty meals such as ahi tuna bowls and thin-crust pizza prepared within 3 minutes using their special oven. The team had outfitted the kitchen with state of the art equipment to ensure they can deliver these culinary delights in the limited kitchen space without compromising quality.
We encourage you to settle in and enjoy a full meal, complete with one of Pastry Chef Maurizio Persichino’s sweet and satisfying creations. You will find intriguing flavours such as The Amarena CLXXXV, made with Sicilian pistachio olive oil cake and morello cherry mousse. The mousse is light as a cloud, with its appetizing tangy flavour, and paired with the light olive oil cake, this dessert is a guilt-free option to cap off your meal. For those who prefer a classic, the Opera is masterfully layered here for an ultimate multi-layer indulgent experience. How do you test for the integrity of an Opera cake? Cut it with a fork and it doesn’t fall apart, yet each bite is moist and intensely chocolate-y. The desserts here can rival some of the city’s best-known patisseries.
The Vancouver Convention Centre culinary and pastry team has successfully channeled their creative flair through LOT185’s expansive menu. We expect there to be more tasty options appearing on the menu as the team continues to innovate its offerings. There are plenty of reasons to visit the new LOT185 cafe and wine bar, like its peaceful views of the water and its thoughtfully designed menu that will surprise and delight conference-goers and locals alike.
78-1055 Canada Place (next to Jack Poole Plaza), Vancouver
Photos by Florence Leung