Last week we got an exclusive first taste at the newly opened Hydra (pronounced hee-dra, sorry Marvel fans).
This luxe space was designed to be beautiful – there are plenty of Insta-worthy spots throughout the restaurant including handcrafted tiles at the bar area, a fresh seafood bar and a living wall.
You’ll find Hydra in the EXchange hotel, a new boutique hotel on Howe street. Although it’s part of the hotel, it’s not any ordinary hotel restaurant – it almost feels like it’s own spot.
Hydra serves up Greek food that’s elevated but unpretentious. Many of their dishes encourage a family style meal, so it’s best to come with friends.
We started off with several of their spreads ($10) – Melitzana, Xtipiti, Tarama, Tzatziki, Fava and Menta. They’re served with pita. I’d have to say that Hydra’s pita is the best pita I’ve had anywhere, bar none – it’s hot, fresh and still has a nice, slight bouncy chew to it. All of their spreads are delectable, but my favourites would definitely have to be the Tzatziki, Menta (mint) and the Tarama (salted fish roe).
Up next was the Kefalograviera ($17) which is cheese saganaki served with some lemon. You’re looking at deep fried cheese. Yum! It’s piping hot and stringy, the perfect way to enjoy cheese.
The next dish is Grilled Octopus ($21) – they serve baby octopus which is flame grilled and paired with lemon, oregano, olive oil and a fave bean purée. It’s very tender on the inside and has a definitive crunch to the outside.
The Hydra Special ($18) is a mountain of paper thin zucchini and eggplant served with tzatziki.
This was one of my favourite starters because I just couldn’t stop eating them. The batter is crispy and not too overdone.
Up next, we tried all there salads: Tomato, Green and Organic Heirloom Beets.
The Tomato Salad ($19) is chock-full of delicious tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, red onion and a hunk of feta. I love this simple salad, so it was definitely my favourite of the three.
The Green Salad ($13) is made with hearts of romaine, scallions and a dill Hydra vinaigrette. This salad was lighter on the flavour side, it would be best to pair this with a more heavier appetizer.
Finally, the Organic Heirloom Beets Salad ($14). It’s made with leafy beets, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Bright and refreshing.
For our dinner, we tried the Hydra Platters which are served family style. These platters include a whole fish baked in either sea salt or grilled, a whole forno roasted chicken, a forno roasted whole leg of lamb and lobster pasta.
The whole leg of lamb ($89) is showstopping, especially once it’s carved. It’s marinated with oregano and lemon and served with it’s drippings. The lamb had great flavour to it, there’s very little gamey taste to it and each piece I had was very tender. This was a huge dish, I’d have to say it’s probably perfect for 3-6 people to share (depending on how hungry you are!).
The roasted chicken ($48) marinated with herbs and lemon is great too, extremely tender but has a great, crispy skin on top.
The lobster pasta ($59) was another showstopper – it’s one whole lobster (which at the moment are HUGE!) and it’s served on a bed of fresh pasta, tomato, ouzo and lobster sauce. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening.
Finally, the whole fish (market price) in sea salt and grilled. We had the Seabass and Seabream. They do very little with the fish so that it’s natural, fresh flavour stands out. They serve the fish tableside.
We tried a handful of their desserts as well – my favourite was the Bougatsa, served with semolina custard, caramel-chocolate ganache and cinnamon-icing sugar – yum!
Hydra is fabulous restaurant to visit, it’s perfect for groups or even just a fun date night out!
For more information and their menu, check out their website here: http://hydravancouver.com/