New Vancouver restaurant AnnaLena is a charming homage to youth, as focused on the atmosphere as it is on food. Executive chef Michael Robbins named the space after his two grandmothers, Anna and Lena, and used their distinctive personalities, along with the pleasantries of childhood, as inspiration. With big windows, a large garage door that opens to Kitsilano’s West 1st Avenue, and a kitchen that is exposed to the dining room, the space is airy and light. White walls are adorned with lamps made of LEGO, textured plaster Game Boys hang on cement pillars, and colourful Bearbrick replicas pop up throughout, all crafted by Robbins. And while the decor may be whimsical, there is sophistication in AnnaLena’s details—the space is a reminder of the artistry in design, food, and drink, and the fare is suitable for a mature palate; menu items include Bison Tartar, Garlic Confit Lobster, and Lamb Roulade, to name a few. Bar manager Kevin Brownlee serves up his award-winning Los Bravos cocktail at the wood, where Tetris-inspired shelves house an array of spirits, including his own strawberry and black pepper liquer, a product of good imagination.
May 13, 2015