The Helm – Grand Opening with Food Network’s David Adjey from The Opener

The Helm – Grand Opening with Food Network’s David Adjey from The Opener

I  was invited to the grand opening of The Helm in downtown Vancouver on Friday night for the filming of The Food Network’s The Opener with host David Adjey. Of course Chef Adjey was in the house as well as Executive Chef Toby Nemeth and her equally important cocktails and canapés.

I decided to take a break from my gorgeous wine (Joie Noble Blend 2009, Naramata BC) and pose for a picture with Mr. Adjey, I’d like to think this was the day he met me (totally kidding). After fighting over who got to stand on the right (the star of the show), I decided to give him the spot since he was paying for my food and drinks for the evening ;). He suggested either the Sister Sister pose… or I mean the ‘original’ Iron Chef pose, or the never been done before Iron Chef pose, so I just went with whatever he felt most comfortable with since I happened to be out of ideas.

Anyways, back to The Helm. The menu consists of small and big plates and there’s an emphasis on 100% natural, local and sustainable sources for ingredients and Ocean Wise seafood. It’s mainly Pacific Northwest tapas and West Coast cuisine, which we Vancouverites are now very familiar with. The menu is seasonal and it does change very frequently, and I should add that all staff are ages 26 and under. The Helm is being marketed as the “newest social dining lounge” and I’m curious to see where the hel-m it goes.

I very rarely post on restaurant grand openings because I don’t find them a proper representation of how the food is on a regular night. I had requests for photos of what went down so I’m just showing my photos without my usual detailed comments (it’s seriously really hard for me to refrain from commenting though). I will however ** ones that did stand out above others. And yes, if you read my tweet, I did try all 26 items available, and here they are. Go big, or go home right?

On the table:

Artisan Baguette with Compound Butter $3

Tiki Nuts with Bacon and Peanuts $5

Warm Olives $4 (I don’t know how “local” olives are… ?)

Two Rivers Smoked Paprika Sausage $5

Crostinis with Almond Pate $4

Local Potatoes with Pimenton Aioli $5

Winter Vegetable Soup $6

**Golden Beets with Agassiz Hazelnuts & Moonstruck Farmhouse Feta $12

Housemade Falafels with Chopped Salad & Toasted Sesame $11

Inside the Housemade Falafels

**Open Faced Rarebit Sandwich with Housemade Bacon $10

Smoked Steelhead Trout with Celeriac Remoulade $13

Smoked Albacore Tuna with Fennel and Shiso $13

Charred Octopus with Salsa Verde and Warm Purple Potato Salad $12

Duck Liver Mousse with Pickled Vegetables $11

Cam’s Uncle’s Kielbasa with Piccalilli $11

BC Wild Mushroom “Risotto” with Orzo & Breadcrumbs $12

Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries & Pickled Cucumbers $12

**Smoked Sloping Hills Pork Shoulder with Housemade Peanut-Chili Sauce $12

Grilled Pemberton Meadows Flank Steak with Onion Jus $12

**Moroccan Lamb Stew with Minty Yogurt and Couscous $14

BC Artisan Cheeses with Pecan Crisps $16

Wildflower Honey Pot de Creme with Sour Cherries & Walnuts $7

Apple Tart with Star Anise Cream and Rum Caramel Sauce $7

Nostrala Cheesecake with Blackberry Puree $7

I missed the photos of the Turkey Confit Gravy with Huckleberries and Savoury Bread Pudding ($12) and The Salty and Sweet Popcorn ($3), but I DID try them!


The Helm on Urbanspoon

The Urbanspoon main page says 66% though? See here.


  • Victoria says:

    Looks like you had a fun time and that there was no shortage of food and drink! Too bad I couldn’t make it and catch up with you!

    The duck liver mousse looks so good (although I notice you didn’t star it).

  • Remo says:

    I think they’re growing olives on the Gulf Islands, but I’d definitely question the locality of the olives at The Helm.

  • Mijune says:

    @Victoria – booo I wish you were there too! I could have used a hand… it was pretty fun/funny/entertaining night!

  • Angela says:

    Great write-up on the Helm! I just want to comment that the Helm is actually small plates, not tapas, and is a Supperclub: a concept popular in Montreal and New York.

  • KimHo says:

    Hmmmmm…. I was wondering also about the “local” part, as mentioned above, are olives grown here? Likewise, are peanuts grown here? How about the chickpea (chances are from Saskatchewan?)

    Angela, probably I might be missing the point here but… The traditional definition of tapas is that of a small plate. Of course, given the twist given on these parts of the world, I am not surprised it no longer “means” the same…

  • Tessa says:

    ummm, excuse me, Angela. I believe you’re forgetting Toronto in that list of supper club hot spots?? We were doing it before Montreal I might add. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with you West Coasters not liking us over here, would it?

  • Mijune says:

    @Remo – oh really? I learn something new everyday… I really wonder if those olive came from there… there were two types.

    @Angela – thank you for your comments. Well “the newest social dining lounge” was actually what my press kit said, but I agree, it is a supper club too. They also classify themselves under “tapas” so I just reiterated… I mean they’re not Spanish, but they’re still small plate “tapas” don’t you think?

    @KimHo – lol I have no idea where peanuts grow… so I’m not quite sure… especially since I just learned that we may grow olives in the Gulf Islands.

    I thought/think small plates does mean tapas…. just different language… ?

    @Tessa – Thanks for the facts!

  • Bow says:

    I like it, a place that isn’t overpriced ! Variety is the spice of life and here the variety is interesting, affordable and I hope delicious. This place seems well thought out. Hope you had a great time.

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – I thought the same! The prices are actually quite reasonable for a “be seen” kind of place in downtown, Vancouver. I did have a great time! Thanks! If you do check it out, let me know your thoughts!

  • Mark says:

    Helm is a great venue to meet up with friends, eat great food, and have a drink… I had the pleasure of checking it out on Saturday night and was hugely impressed by what they had.

    To clear it up: Tapas – is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid)… Helm has entree type items i.e. Flank Steak, risotto, that come out on small share plates rather than as full meals with every part (i.e. meat, veg, starch).
    Also… not all the staff are under 26. Our server may look like he is 24 but he is really in his 30’s.
    As for the whole local debate – I believe the concept is to do all they can to bring in local product… peanuts? not so sure… olives yes!

  • johnny casheston says:

    @ mijune
    this place is garbage i live a block away and walk by it every day …empty every night… and havent the last 2-3 places in this location gone bankrupt?? from the looks it wont be long for them either … i went in and had dessert and coffee……coffee grains in my coffee… the server poured sour cream in it and had to get me a new one… when my dessert arrived it was romanced as being made with fresh unpasturised milk..??? isnt that against the law? either way had a bite and left the rest cuz it made me sick ..i will definitely not be returning here


    your absolutely rite.. olives are not grown here… nor are peanuts ….and neither pimenton,

  • Mijune says:

    @Mark – Welcome! Thanks for the details and clarification. I put it under “tapas” because that’s what it was under on urbanspoon. I also put in my write up it was small plates and big plates.

    Regarding the staff, I actually heard they were under 26 from the PR of The Helm. So I’m assuming you work for the restaurant as well? If so, I’ll take your word for it, but you may want to clarify that with your PR as well.

    Thank you for clarifying and commenting!

    @johnny casheston – oh I’m sorry to hear you had a poor experience. I don’t work for or do PR/marketing for the restaurant, but perhaps a coffee and dessert isn’t enough to say it’s completely garbage? Well not my job to convince you, as everyone is entitled to their opinion. Thanks for sharing though!

  • kevvur says:

    Wow…Adjey sure has aged quite a bit

  • Mijune says:

    @kevvur – lol if he sees that comment… he’ll cry.

  • Angela says:

    I also want to clarify that although the Helm does offer local fare, we also embrace the global marketplace when it come to certain food items that we can’t get locally. Refer to the link to see what the Helm is about in chef Tobey’s own words:

  • Mijune says:

    @Angela – thanks for the extra information and link. I’m sure the commenters and readers will appreciate it. I think it was a bit confusing because everyone kept emphasizing “local” and putting the label on everything we were served. So thanks again for that.

  • T Howell says:

    I know that Saturna Island in the Gulf Islands have olive groves. I bought 2 trees from them.

  • Mijune says:

    @T Howell – interesting… I’m really not sure if these ones were from there though…

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