DinnerStella’s Tap & Tapas Bar

!Since the original posting of this article, Stella's has been renamed Biercraft. The restaurant itself has remained largely the same.

Having enjoyed the Cambie variation of Stella’s, and fueled by a desire to avoid the claustrophobic congestion induced by Olympic fever, we decided to pay a visit to the original Tap & Tapas Bar on The Drive. They have a larger tapas menu, all prepared specifically to pair well with their extensive beer selection.

(Clockwise: 1. A flight of 40z. Belgian beer tasters: Delirium, Affligem, De Koninck and Fruli. 2. Filo wrapped baked double cream brie. 3. Orange marinated beet salad.)

The humble exterior belies the cavernous bar and dining area within the restaurant itself. It really is a lot bigger than we had expected. Foregoing their library of beers this time around, Case and I decided to make it easy on ourselves and order the “Flight to Belgium,” — 4oz. each of Delirium, Affligem, De Koninck and Fruli.

The Delirium is a light (coloured) beer with hints of orange, mango and nutmeg. Despite its 8.5% alcoholic content, it finishes clean with a nice bit of peppery spiciness. The Affligem is an ale with floral aromas and finishes off smooth, while De Koninck has the more familiar malted suds of an Amber.

Fruit and beer are two ingredients I think should never mix. How wrong I was — the Fruli is more reminiscent of a refreshing fruit soda with the body of an ale — surprisingly tasty and would likely pair well with dessert, or a nice, hot, sunny day.

(Top to bottom: 1. Melting chocolate cake. 2. Coffee)

Case and I started the meal with the Orange Marinated Beet Salad with baby spinach, crumbled goat cheese and gooseberries. The dressing was sweet with a nice citrus twist. Next — crispy beer and chili-braised-till-tender beef brisket taquitos accompanied with guacamole and chimichurri. Finally, we had the wickedly crispy filo lovingly wrapped around a baked, double cream brie brushed with organic honey and drizzled with sweet sambal sauce.

We finished with two coffees and a slice of the decadent, melting chocolate cake — warm, fluffy chocolate sponges with a a Leffe & sour cherry topping.

At times, the service felt chaotic as the oversized tapas plate clearly could not all fit on the table top of a modest two-seater, and they didn’t seem to time the delivery of dishes at all. But our servers were friendly, if not a bit absent minded. Our meal came to $66 including taxes and tips, which puts it on the slightly pricier side for a tapas joint. Overall, we enjoyed the small plates which we felt were right at home with the flight of Belgian beer tasters.

Perfect for: a nice way to experience beer and food.

The Details

1191 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Stella's Tap & Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

— ♠ —