By Lindsay William-Ross | Vancity Buzz
The team behind the Le Tigre food truck are just about a week out from opening up their first permanent restaurant, Torafuku, and the modern, playful space is almost ready for hungry diners.
Following in the spirit of their truck’s name, the name Torafuku (lucky tiger) was chosen to align with their signature big cat theme, and their street number on Main, 958, happens to be a lucky number, too.
The restaurant is situated in the burgeoning block between the Main Street/ScienceWorld SkyTrain station and Pacific Central Station, and the decor inside the minimalist space is a perfect reflection of the team’s and restaurant’s sensibilities.
Riffing on the notion of this being a brick-and-mortar operation the kitchen has exposed vents and a broad, open feel. In step with the exposed venting is the decor in the main dining area, which is actually insulation set in metal frames.
The tones of the room are subdued, but this is so that the more lively and creative elements have a perfect platform on which to really pop and infuse their energy in the space. This can be anything from a chef’s bright orange shoelaces (and, we expect, the Le Tigre truck team’s signature goofy glasses) to their custom designed plates and conversation-sparking menus, which look like layers of origami paper set on a board like a small notebook.
Inside the 2,200 square-foot, 50-seat Torafuku, owners Clement Chan and Steve Kuan are planning a menu of tapas-style share plates that reflects their pan-Asian influences and West Coast style. They’ll be doing dinner, and are thinking about how they might take on brunch, too. Chan explains that while they are heavily focused on Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines, at the end of the day, their unofficial motto is “we cook classic favourites done however we feel like.”
Diners can choose from seating at the bar, individual tables, or an open communal table, the latter of which is going to be where customers from the Le Tigre truck–which will park outside nightly–can sit down and enjoy their more casual fare.
Here’s a look inside the restaurant: