By Ed Dugas

The 21st century dining and nightlife scene in Vancouver reached new heights this fall with the launch of Voya Restaurant and Lounge at the new Loden Vancouver Hotel.  Located at the edge of Coal Harbour in downtown’s most exclusive neighbourhod, Voya is a well-blended coalescence of contemporary international fusion, locally-inspired victuals and evocative décor.  Its sundry atmosphere makes it the choice destination for designer-dressed professionals to rub elbows with Boho-chicsters and high-society partygoers, alike.

Both toned down and over-the-top, if Voya were in a different world you’d have a relaxed Frank Sinatra and Colin Farrell sipping Jack Daniels at the bar, across from Greta Garbo and Liz Taylor gabbing over cocktails while Siena Miller and a young Raquel Welsh have a bite in the corner booth before an evening on the town.  Rare is the place that could cater to the Hollywood, Village and Las Vegas crowds on the same evening and without an ounce of posturing on any front.

Voya is located at lobby-level and can accomodate 80.  The centre room features three shimmering crystal chandeliers, medium espresso upholstery, and dynamically-patterned screens lit up by soft blue and red lighting.  The room is fitted with large comfortable booths and white-laquered tables, and flanked by flat screen televisions, tall windows and oversized mirrors.  Golden-age sophistication is contrasted with a stylishly artistic decor and minimalist bar anchored by prolific Vancouver mixologist Jay Jones, who blends simply but creatively garnished drinks where the alcohol itself is the star of the show.

Executive Chef is Marc-André Choquette, formerly of award-winning Lumiere Restaurant, brings his French-Asian influenced cuisine to Voya.  Working in such celebrated culinary destinations as Montreal, New York City and Rouen, France, Chef Marc-André brings his classical training and painstaking attention to detail and is sure to aide Vancouver’s rapid advance into the world culinary stratosphere.   His dishes are made with locally-sourced products and add an international flare to traditional west coast ingredients.  The menu is too spectacular and involved to describe with words, so please visit www.voyarestaurant.com for more details.

They say the classics never die, they just get reinvented.  And judging by Voya’s powerful opening statement, paying homage to timelessness has become the new original.