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Meo comes from the teams behind Bao Bei and Kissa Tanto... so yeah, we're freaking out about it.
Having a high-achieving older sibling is a blessing and a curse (I’m sure my younger sister would agree). Vancouver’s newest cocktail bar, Meo, hasn’t even opened yet, and the expectations are sky high—because the team behind Meo (Tannis Ling, Joël Watanabe and Alain Chow) is the same crew that brought us Bao Bei and Kissa Tanto.
If your older siblings were effortlessly cool, creative and popular (not to mention one Michelin-starred), you’d be feeling the pressure. But Meo is already positioned for success: much like my sister, Meo is set up to be the hot one.
Sneak peeks of Meo reveal a sumptuous, deep pink and red space full of warmth and texture. The restaurant’s design was done by Ste. Marie (cue even higher hopes). It will have 70 seats, but a press release promises intimacy. It also promises “carpet,” which I thought was a little risky for a bar, but the youngest sibling is usually a bit of a rebel.
The menu, dreamed up by Watanabe with chef de cuisine Macià Bagur, is still in progress, but Som Tum (green papaya salad), Trinidadian doubles (a street food made by folding a fried flatbread around hot chickpea curry) and tostadas (you know what those are, I’m not going to do everything for you) are locked in.
Back to my sibling metaphor. According to the release, the cocktails by bar manager Denis Bykov are all developed around the concept that “fruits are not vegetables.” Which, to me, sounds like the concept that “dogs are not cats” or “cars are not boats.” (“We want to break a stereotype that all fruits are sweet and all vegetables are savoury,” Bykov explains in a release). Again, you’ve got to let the youngest child find their way.
Whatever the fruit/veg inspo means, the cocktails sounds good: the Golden Divine (pictured here) has Blue Agave Altos tequila, peach, cacao nib, ginseng cordial, Cocchi Americano vermouth and peach cacao yoghurt crisp. Not exactly the rum-and-root-beer you’d expect from the baby of the family (yes, this is what my sister drinks).
Meo is set to open later this month at 265 E Pender Street, which is the space below Kissa Tanto. Via the release, Tannis Ling says “Meo is the second piece of the puzzle to our tri-level building… Kissa Tanto for supper upstairs, Meo for great drinks and snacks downstairs, and a third yet-to-come.”
Um, excuse us? Another sibling on the way already? Get ready for middle child syndrome, Meo.