Vancouver is Awesome
Qube had an admittedly rocky start, as the restaurant’s initial concept was meant to be a Nordic-inspired steak and seafood spot. And, in fact, Vancouver wasn’t even Berro’s original Canadian destination. The chef-entrepreneur, whose company also supplies Qube’s furniture and beautiful serving ware, was initially headed to Ottawa to open a restaurant. A visit to Vancouver, and in particular Kitsilano, changed the course of his fate. When some behind-the-scenes shifting went down as Qube was in development, Berro refocused the concept on his personal roots in Lebanon.
The result is a heartfelt dedication to showcasing the myriad flavours and textures of Lebanese fare while showcasing stunning B.C. products, offering Vancouver diners authentic dishes that represent the food of Berro’s native village.
Rooted in a desire to present Lebanese cuisine without a heavy Westernized lens, Berro’s menu at Qube includes many dishes – or iterations of familiar dishes – that you may not find elsewhere in Vancouver when seeking Middle Eastern fare.
The starters represent an array of classic mezze, and could handily constitute the entire focus of your meal at Qube, with dishes like muhammara (a dip of chopped nuts and red pepper), stuffed grape leaves (a vegan option with fresh grape leaves rather than tinned, rolled in-house), or house-made sausages available in two versions, including the smoky, subtly spicy sujuk.
You would do well with all the dishes that work best when eaten with pita triangles as utensils, like the moutabel (eggplant dip) or the Beiruty Hummus. The latter is made by boiling fresh chickpeas and removing the thin outer skins before it is turned into a silky, creamy dip topped with Lebanon’s answer to France’s lardons – crispy-fatty little nubbins of lamb.
Rivalling the Beiruty Hummus is something called makdous: plump baby eggplants that have been boiled and oil-cured, stuffed with nuts and peppers, and served atop labneh, the strained yogurt that’s a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. The eggplants resemble oversized olives, and their tangy, briny taste does little to counter the notion you might very well be eating tender supersized olives.
The mains are where you will see Qube work in a lot of top-of-the-line British Columbia protein, like halibut and salmon. Berro says some of the mains are where he’s little more flexible with preparations, leaning a bit to the western side with French influence, but in the mix are some definite highlights that represent what many Lebanese families will serve up in their own homes.