No Fixed Address Shines in the Underground Movement

Photo: Chef Steve’s Rosemary salt roasted prawns at NFA

It is common belief that Chef Todd initiated Vancouver’s underground restaurant movement at the infamous 12b on Main Street. Todd tells us that his dinners are fully booked two months in advance, suggesting that there is a demand for more underground restaurants.  These hidden establishments have been slowly popping up around the city.  The menu styles range from Secret Supper’s vegan menu to Swallow Tail’s farm-to-table focused concept.

One newer contender on the scene is “No Fixed Address”.  Chef Steve offers a unique Asian-meets-Mediterranean style menu, using local and seasonal ingredients.  His creativity shines through in his meticulous preparation and beautiful presentation.   Watching what Steve creates with just an oven and a four-range electric stove is inspiring and entertaining.

In the summer, guests will find lighter fares on NFA’s ever-changing chalkboard menu.  Steve delivers six courses so the diners can experience a range of flavours. As a refreshing starter, Steve puts a spin on the traditional prosciutto wrapped melon.  He creates two chilled melon soups and playfully pours the honeydew and cantaloupe concoctions over prosciutto-laced melon balls.

Seafood dishes are NFA’s specialty on warm Summer nights.   Steve presents squid in two ways, with the body stuffed with chorizo on a tomato caper reduction and the tentacles as tempura with a mint tzatziki sauce.  The Asian-inspired crab-scallop cakes are served with pickled fresh mango, cilantro juice and chili oil.  The chef celebrates the beloved BC spot prawn with the simple preparation of baking them in a salt-crust.  The little critters emerge from steamy salt to reveal their succulent and sweet flesh.  Often times, simple methods are the best way to exhibit an ingredient. This is evident in his home-cured red spring salmon with a light lime crème fraiche dressing.

By looking at his diverse menu, one would assume that Steve is a classically trained chef but the reality might shock you.  In his past life, Steve was a lawyer hailing from South Africa.  His pure passion for food and entertaining drove him to leave his established career behind to pursue this new venture.  His guests agree that he is a genuine and kind soul without a rock-star chef ego so it is easy to feel at home at NFA.

At the end of the day, underground restaurants are a risky business.  Due to the neighbours’ complaints, NFA has since relocated from the Kitsilano location.  “No Fixed Address” is certainly a fitting name.

Curious? NFA accommodates for parties up to 12 nightly.  Email nfa.reservations@gmail.com or tweet @NFAVancouver to make your reservations.

To read more about Vancouver’s underground restaurant scene, pick up a copy of the July/August EAT issue, available on stands now. To try out one of Chef Steve’s recipes at home, visit our recipe box.

Written By:

Gary Hynes, a writer and photographer, founded EAT magazine in 1998 and is its editor and chief paperboy. He studied Electronic Music with Samuel Dolan at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Audio Recording Technology at ...

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