Located above bustling Robson Street, Vancouver’s fashionable and vibrant shopping district, CinCin’s Italian-inspired cuisine, award-winning wines and hospitality will encourage you to settle in for a meal that lasts for hours.
The winding staircase beckons up to a dining room reminiscent of a gentrified Tuscan farmhouse with wood timbers, polished terra cotta floors and an outdoor terrazza. From the wood-fired kitchen, Chef de Cuisine Andrea Alridge’s ingredient-driven menu – representing local farms, ranches and the ocean – sets the table with distinctive dishes that capture the sensuality of the Mediterranean. CinCin’s highly-awarded wine collection is comprehensive and global, featuring rare vintages and boutique finds, as well as an extensive by-the-glass and half-bottle selection.
The dining room is flooded with natural sunlight filtering in from the terrazza and each table is lined with crisp, white linen. Rustic wooden chairs with leather seats reminds us of cozy eateries we frequented in Italy. The warm tones utilized in the decor create a relaxing environment to enjoy Chef de Cuisine Andrea Alridge’s culinary creations.
You will find Chef Andrea diligently preparing dishes in the open kitchen showcasing the wood-fired grill. When asked about the roots of her culinary expertise and interest, Andrea shares, “while in Jamaica, I learned to source good local ingredients and butchery at a very young age. All thanks to my Father and Grandma Vie. She taught me how to truly appreciate the whole animal. On my mother’s side, my Lola, taught me the technical side of cooking from braising, steaming, and grilling. She made it a point to ensure that all our meals were made from scratch and that we always helped her in the process.”
With a focus on using local ingredients, this translates to a menu that changes with the seasons and what is available from local producers. Chef Andrea shares that while she gets inspiration from reading cookbooks and culinary magazines, her strong ethnic background (Jamaican and Filipino) also plays an important role, as spices, herbs and aromatics were a fundamental part of her childhood.
When creating a new seasonal dish, Chef Andrea goes through several iterations and invites feedback from the team and Executive Chef Andrew Richardson. The dish approved by the kitchen team is then tested on CinCin’s fresh sheets to see guests’ reactions before it becomes a regular menu item. This is why you will find both Italian classics and innovative creations on CinCin’s menu, thanks to a culinary team constantly on the lookout for unique ways to improve the overall culinary experience for their guests.
We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to savour a few of CinCin’s signature dishes - the Glorious Organics Greens, Tagliatelle Bolognese, and Wood Grilled Alberta Lamb Rack.
Chef Andrea describes the Glorious Organics Greens as one of her favourite dishes on the summer menu. Its captivating, vibrant presentation speaks to the spirit of the summer season, with flavours bursts of energy and life. Chef Andrea intentionally selected the components of this dish to create a true taste of Vancouver. The salad blend is a mix handpicked by the team at Glorious Organics in Aldergrove, including gorgeous edible blossoms that are almost too beautiful to eat. The elderflower has a short shelf life, so Chef Andrea processes it to extend its brief season by transforming the flowers into a syrup and vinegar to last the entire summer season.
The Tagliatelle Bolognese is touted as a CinCin classic. It’s a pasta dish that has been on the menu since Chef Andrea started working with the kitchen brigade and she believes the dish will be on the menu forever. “It’s Executive Chef Andrew Richardson’s dish, and honestly it will remain a signature menu offering of the restaurant’s forever. It’s not your typical bolognese as we make it with white wine and a combination of ground pork and veal. Trust me when I say it is truly well loved!”
A classic dish such as this pairs well with the Arceno Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany, Italy), recommended by CinCin’s Sommelier, Shane Taylor.
The Wood Grilled Alberta Lamb Rack highlights Chef Andrea’s use of herbs and aromatics, because even as the dish is approaching you will begin salivating as you breathe in the delicious aromas. Chef Andrea credits the wood-fired grill for the standout flavours of the dish, which she refers to as the ‘heart and soul of CinCin’.
Chef Andrea describes how the making of lamb using the ‘CinCin way’ has converted those who did not consider themselves as lamb lovers.
“We sous vide our lamb and finish it on the grill, but it’s the char and crispness we create with the coals that really rounds out the flavour of the meat. I’ve battled many of my friends and family who claim that lamb isn’t a go-to for them. Nine times out of ten, I have managed to successfully convert them into lamb lovers once they’ve tried it the CinCin way. With summer in high gear, we are using local Hakurei turnips from Sole Food Street Farms. They have amazing flavour and pair so well with the lamb. It just makes sense when the turnips are grown within walking distance from the restaurant.”
We highly recommend enjoying this decadent, flavourful dish with a bottle of Carpineto Farnito 2012 (Tuscany, Italy).
Chef Andrea’s dishes showcase the delightful flavours of Italian cuisine while also incorporating a taste of British Columbia with her locally-sourced ingredients along with her expert use of herbs and spices. CinCin offers a unique window into the magic that can happen when one pairs classic Italian fare with characteristic west coast flair. Make sure it is on your bucket list of restaurants to visit in Vancouver!