By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours
This Valentine’s Day, the only dessert-focused fine dining spot in Gastown is having their one-year anniversary. The stylish dining room of Mosquito is chic, dark, and a delightfully dramatic way to share some bubbly and sweets (or cheese and charcuterie).
It was a beautiful day in Gastown when I met with Mosquito owners, Alice Wu and Johan Friedrich. As I hustled down the lively cobbled streets, I noted the many signs and sandwich boards straining to catch the attention of those passing by. There was nothing to be seen for Mosquito, but I bustled along, knowing their non-descript door would appear somewhere soon and welcome me to a quiet oasis.
As Johan described the inspiration for Mosquito as an “out-of-world experience that heightened all senses,” I could not help but smile, as the idea has completely come to life. The high-ceilings, dark furnishings, sparkling accents, and richly indulgent menu have made a wonderfully abstract combination.
Alice and Johan are business partners who met in Montreal. While travelling in separate cities, they had each experienced an “intimate and unforgettable feeling of getaway” that defines Mosquito.
“I love to travel, but Vancouver is home for me,” Alice remarked, “Johan had always wanted to visit the city, and as we met the right people, Mosquito just happened.”
Neither Alice nor Johan are long-time Vancouverites. With roots in Taiwan, Alice came to Vancouver five years ago to earn her culinary background from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) on Granville Island. At PICA, Alice honed her sharp-eye for desserts and built a relationship with Dominic Fortin, Executive Pastry Chef of Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, B.C. “It was always a dream of mine to work with Dominic, and when I told him about our idea, he was very excited,” Alice said. Dominic Fortin is the creator behind Mosquito’s impressive line of plated desserts.
I looked to Johan, wondering if a similar culinary flare hides behind his French accent. He laughed, “I just love dessert. I am the biggest sweet tooth and I literally eat dessert every day.” Johan is from a small town in France, close to Bordeaux.
“We wanted to bring dessert to centre stage, as dessert is often an after-thought in the kitchen and in many Vancouver restaurants,” says Johan, “also, drinking champagne is much more commonplace in Europe. It’s not just for special occasions.”
Indeed, the joy of eating dessert while sipping champagne is hard to dispute. Alice and Johan host an array of singles, groups and regulars throughout the week. Desserts are the mainstay, but you won’t go wrong with a savoury pick (cheese plates, truffle popcorn, and charcuterie) from their curated list. Describing Gastown as a “foodie neighbourhood,” Johan and Alice are grateful to be a part of the community.
For Valentine’s Day and every day, reservations can be made through firstname.lastname@example.org
32 Water Street