What does the so-called “worst filmmaker” alive know about restaurants?
Uwe Boll is stomping around, waving his arms in this direction and that. “The kitchen was too small,” he proclaims. “And I hated the two-tier floor, so we got rid of that.” The German B-movie director (Capital Punishment, BloodRayne), who bears with admirably blithe spirit the rather harsh epithet “worst filmmaker on the planet,” is transforming the original Boneta space at the corner of Cordova and Carrall streets. It’s February, and the room has been taken back to the studs. With an opening date set for the middle of April (it finally opened mid-May), Bauhaus brings upscale German cuisine to Gastown. Boll named the restaurant after the German art movement because “nothing in Bauhaus doesn’t make sense: it’s effective, simple, and high-end.” A long-time foodie, he has—in typically bullish fashion—done his research in Vancouver, eating around the city and posting his often brutal judgments on YouTube. His dessert at chi-chi Gastown spot Secret Location was described as looking as though “the dog had diarrhea.” Black + Blue’s side dishes were “disgusting”; even Le Crocodile—which he recommends—is castigated for “horrific” spaetzle. Ten years ago, Boll was convinced a proper pizza joint was the way to go, but he was only in Vancouver six months of the year, having fallen in love with the city while shooting Sanctimony in 2000. By the time he settled here permanently in 2013—he lives in Kitsilano and names La Quercia as his favourite local eatery—an influx of Neapolitan-style pizzerias had already solved that problem. “I asked myself what it was that I really missed,” he recalls. “And that was the food you can get in New York and Europe—the really high-end food.” To that end, he has recruited a chef from his native land with an impressive pedigree: Stefan Hartmann has worked in several Michelin-starred rooms in Europe and earned a star of his own for his Berlin restaurant, Hartmanns. The timing was serendipitous. Hartmann heard that a German filmmaker was looking for a chef here just a week after closing the doors to his own room and its larger sibling, where, he admits, he “made every mistake possible” and found himself saddled with debt. At Bauhaus, he will present an à la carte and a chef’s menu, as well as a simpler lunch menu. The goal, he says, is to bring the highest-quality cooking to each dish—whether it’s an elaborate dinner plate or a traditional German lunch item. “We will do the best-quality Wiener schnitzel, but we will also be cooking elevated German and European cuisine,” Hartmann explains. “There is a lot more to German cuisine than sausages.” The room will be overseen by Tim Adams, who spent 10 years managing operations across several London palaces, catering to the royals and their guests. Adams is here, he says, for the quality of life: an avid skier, he and his wife jumped at the chance to move close to the mountains. Despite his résumé, he insists Bauhaus will not be a toffee-nosed affair, but he does see a service gap ready to be filled. “We want to bridge that gap, bring a more European feel, with the core values we have in England,” he says. “It won’t be too straitlaced, though; no white tablecloths.” Boll believes Bauhaus will kick standards up a notch all around. “There’s a lot of good food in Vancouver, but not a lot of great food,” he insists. “Farm-to-table is more than just sourcing good ingredients; here, it often just feels like an excuse to present boring food.”