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Gluten Free Caribbean Cuisine in Vancouver

Gluten Free Caribbean Cuisine in Vancouver

Posted by Shanelle Weir on December 03, 2014

A calabash is a vessel for Food, Music, Art. A calabash is versatile. Calabash Bistro is

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These three guys are the baddest, boldest, sweetest mo-fos and they are an inspiration to anyone wanting to break through the borders of the restaurant industry here in Vancouver. Cullin, Sam, and Roger picked the “worst Hood” to open Calabash Bistro, they see beyond what we are told to see, “buildings are not a neighbourhood, nor the wild successes or misfortunes of the people, a neighbourhood is about human connections, mutual respect, and compassion for each other.”  Calabash sits a 1/4 block away from Pigeon park (Downtown Eastside) in Vancouver’s Gastown.

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Chef Cullin, who is  Guyanese Irish mix, says “Caribbean food is referred to as fare, food, or dishes though it should be called a cuisine because it has earned that title and  although Guyana is situated in South America it is considered a Caribbean culture with an extra bit of exotica.”

The Guyanese cuisine reflects multiculturalism due to the history of the land – First Nations, Europeans, Africans, East Indians, and Chinese.All of the best foods intermingle in this gorgeous country. Cullin was lucky enough to be introduced to this culture from a young age, he had no choice but to embrace and love food, he joined the restaurant industry and flourished  under one of the best Chefs in Vancouver at the reputable Provence restaurant.

Then there is Sam, British born and Vancouver foodie bred, Sam is calm, observant, and easygoing with a streak of wicked sense of humour. He seems to be the guy that keeps the creative personalities flowing…and in check.

Roger brings music, art, and fun times to the place. Roger is very meticulous in his speech, attentive to conversations around him, and always has a gentle smile on his face.

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Here’s a fun fact about these three – they’ve all been in the restaurant industry since they were young teens and they’ve all worked at The Reef at some point in their careers but had never met until a few months before launching their ballsy concept, a concept that Vancouver was in desperate need of!

These three guys work in tandem with each other and that is reflected in Calabash Bistro…”One love, One heart. lets get together and feel all right.”

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Dining at Calabash Bistro is like taking a vacation in the Caribbean, especially now that is as cold as a witch’s nose. Warmth in – the artwork on the walls – the eighty five bottles of rums from around the world – the colour theme of rich dark red walls and black and wood furniture.

The music selections will make you sway, bump, and grind, just like being in the Islands. Can’t afford to fly off to the Caribbean just yet? then gather some friends and spend a few hours here. Dinner, drinks, and dance or Brunch, music, and family. You will leave feeling like you just had a much needed vacation!

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Food, glorious food for the senses…

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Pan fried ripened plantains, ginger glaze, pecans, goat cheese. Sweet flesh of plantains and slight bite of the ginger  married to nutty pecans and tangy goat cheese, yep it is a match made in the heavens of Cullin’s kitchen.

Vegetarian Platter

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A light potato, chickpeas and vegetables curry, coconut scented peas and rice, and crisp tossed salad makes a lovely vegetarian dinner.

We also had the goat curry which was eaten long before an image could be taken (hmm), It was deliciously rich and earthy: tender bone-in goat pieces in a thick dark spicy curry, light fluffypeas and rice, and organic salad added the fresh green crunch to complete the Cullin-ary experience.

Seafood Steamer…

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Mussels, snapper, prawns, fresh veggies in a mango or coconut rundown. This has a dash of soy sauce so please specify Gluten Free when ordering and Cullin will take care of you.

Cullin understands the hazards of allergies as he himself is Lactose Intolerant and he also tends to avoid Gluten!

The seafood was succulent, mussels were infused with flavours of herbs and spices and creamy coconut, it took me away to another place where it’s fresh, warm and breezy.

Check out the full menu here, there are many items that are naturally gluten free and that’s because the dishes are influenced by a place that is warm and tropical, overflowing with fish and seafood, hundreds of root vegetables, greens, gourds, herbs, spices. The best of many worlds can be found on each dish served up at Calabash Bistro from the Caribbean culture to French and Mediterranean cuisine to local B.C proud products.

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