Aloha in Vancouver: get your luau on at the Bayshore

H2 Rotisserie & Bar at the Westin Bayshore pays homage to the past and Trader Vic's Polynesian restaurant with new tropical Sunday brunch

Sandra Thomas Travel

What’s better than Sunday brunch?

Sunday brunch served Hawaiian style.

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In homage to the Bayshore’s original Polynesian restaurant, Trader Vic’s, the Westin Bayshore Vancouver has introduced the Sunday Luau Brunch.

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A performer strums a ukulele at the Sunday Luau Brunch at the Westin Bayshore. Photo Sandra Thomas

On a sunny, August afternoon a musician strummed and plucked away on a ukulele under the shade of a tree on the back lawn of the Bayshore while brunch lovers dined al fresco on the patio of H2 Rotisserie & Bar.

Meanwhile, the tiki-inspired décor and food offerings inside transported us back to the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort, a property we fell in love with during a recent visit to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

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The tiki-inspired interior of Trader Vic’s at the Bayshore Inn circa 1961. Photo Government of British Columbia

The Bayshore was once home to the Polenysian-style tiki bar and restaurant Trader Vic’s, which opened in 1961 and was famous for the fact guests could arrive by boat, as well as by land. The restaurant quickly gained popularity for its Polynesian décor, complete with tiki statues, and for its rum-heavy, tropical drinks, including mai tais considered exotic for the time and place.

Sadly, while curiosity about tiki culture thrived during the 1960s, it waned in the 1990s and Trader Vic’s closed in 1996. But for some that vintage tiki spirit never died and in recent years there has been a resurgence of Polynesian-style lounges in Vancouver.

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On Sundays, H2 Rotisserie & Bar at the Bayshore gets a tropical makeover. Photo Sandra Thomas

On the day we visited, the Sunday Luau Brunch buffet included pineapple barbecue ribs, huli huli chicken, garlic shrimp, vegan-friendly Beyond Meat ‘Waikiki’ meatballs with soy-ginger glaze, prawn ceviche, a selection of creative salads, a build-your-own açai bowl bar and some of the best slow roasted “pig” we’ve had — and we’ve been to a lot of luaus.

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Tropical shaped cookies at the Sunday Luau Brunch at the Bayshore. Photo Sandra Thomas

For dessert, I tried the tropical-shaped sugar cookies and banana spring rolls and immediately felt the spirit of Aloha.

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Garlic shrimp at the Sunday Luau Brunch at the Bayshore. Photo Sandra Thomas

The buffet offerings rotate weekly and for those not as excited about Hawaiian food as I am, H2 Rotisserie & Bar has kept items from its classic brunch menu, including eggs benedict. Guest can also order from an ala carte brunch menu.

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Trader Vic’s manager Jeff Yee creating tropical drinks circa 1970. Photo Danielle Cunningham courtesy of the Westin Bayshore

Of course, tropical drinks are also featured, including the Punch Drunk cocktail, featuring three types of rum, peach schnapps, pomegranate syrup and pineapple and orange juices.

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The pool at the Bayshore circa 1960s. Photo from Danielle Cunningham courtesy of the Westin Bayshore.

Our seats overlooked the pool at the Bayshore and, for a brief moment, we were transported back to Kauai -- without the pricy airfare.

sthomas@vancourier.com

@sthomas10

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