It’s the circle of life. Or at least the circle of Bowen’s eateries.
A decade ago, one could find Nancy’s Tacos in the westernmost-building on the Bowen Island Marina dock. Then came the Japanese rice bowl-serving Shika, replaced by the artisanal toast eatery Branch and Butter. Now, islanders can once again get tacos on the marina’s dock.
Britt and Tim Yu launched the Branch on Bowen, tacos and ice cream, earlier this month. Former owners Robin McMillan and Brent Freedman are still minor partners in the business and the Branch still serves the famed Earnest Ice Cream.
The Yus are no strangers to the food world – they have several other businesses in Vancouver, including Koener’s Pub, Loafe Café and Café MOA on the UBC campus. Having moved to Bowen five years ago, the parents of two leapt at the opportunity to bring their culinary business savvy to Bowen.
With four tacos on the menu, the choices are simple and personal:
There’s the JuJu, a Korean bulgogi (beef) braise, kimchi and black sesame taco named for the couple’s nephew Julian (who is Korean).
There’s the Tinga taco with a chipotle adobo (chicken) braise and coconut nectar aioli.
There’s the Zo zo, vegan taco with smoked sweet potato, toasted pumpkin seeds and coconut nectar aioli, and named for a vegan friend of the couple (named Zoe).
Then there’s the Nuni’e. The Haida Gwaii smoked salmon taco has chevre, aioli and uses Britt’s grandmother’s rhubarb relish recipe, which gives the taco its name. Britt is Haida and in Haida “grandmother” is “nuni’e.”
The meat is ethically-sourced, free range and the taco shells gluten-free. Britt says that they’re hoping to also get as much produce as possible locally.
There’s also the dozen or so flavours of East Vancouver-based Earnest Ice Cream for a sweet treat after a taco.
For May the Branch on Bowen is open five days a week and June onward this summer it will be open seven days a week. Islanders, if they discretely mention they’re from Bowen, get a 10 per cent discount.