Tuscan Back-Alley Tasting Room: Savoury City’s Best Kept Secret

One of the greatest thrills of a true gastronome is finding the culinary diamond in the rough–the hidden gem ensconced in some unlikely locale. Perhaps finding beauty in unexpected places reminds us that the extraordinary often resides within the ordinary, the magical within the mundane. Indeed, this is the sense you get walking through Savoury City’s perfectly ordinary back alley door.

A Magical Transformation

However, what lies on the other side of that non-descript, standard-issue door, is anything but! Like the children of C.S. Lewis’ novel, it’s akin to walking through the mothballed, fur coat-laden wardrobe and finding yourself suddenly and delightfully transported to an otherworldly place.

This is exactly what husband and wife team, Blaine Arnot and Donna Wadsworth, imagined when they built their gorgeous Tuscan Back Alley Tasting Room, the epicentre of some of Vancouver’s most innovative and savoury tasting events! But let’s try to keep that in the cone of silence for now!

Donna, the Queen of Culinary Entertainment doing what she does best!

A Culinary Sanctuary

The “sanctuary,” as Blaine refers to it, was designed to be reminiscent of a romantic villa in Tuscany. With its rustic white walls, custom-made oak sharing table, and personal touchstones from the couple’s travels, the room thrills with life, yet soothes the soul.

Just like penicillin and “Post-its” some of the best ideas happen by accident. This is true for Savoury City’s tasting room. As Blaine explains, “Initially, we wanted a space that was outside of our office, so our clients could experience our dishes without distraction, in a place that was uncluttered–a type of sanctuary for them to envision how our culinary creations would work with their event. But soon our clients started asking if they could book the room for private parties and intimate dinners!”

Pushing our Creative Boundaries

This was a perfect idea, as Donna and Blaine live to entertain and just happen to be seriously gifted at it! The chance to host these tasting events was embraced by the kitchen staff and Chef Mathew, as it provided them with the opportunity to push themselves creatively and artistically–to stretch the culinary boundaries.

As Blaine explains, “hosting these tasting dinners engages and energizes our chef and kitchen staff, as they get to work on interesting meals. It’s really like an incubator where we can try new and innovative dishes, where we can dream up amazing meals and bring them to life.”

Great Gatsby!

On April 20th, Blaine, Donna and their talented and dedicated staff are going to conjure magic once again, as they transport the tasting room back to the Roaring 20’s. Think Gatsby, flappers, Jazz and opulence!

The Gatsby-inspired menu will feature seasonal local products while staying true to a multicultural Vancouver. Course by course, there are nods to classic ‘20’s and ‘30’s haute cuisine with local ingredients and little splashes of China, Japan and Italy thrown about.

Culinary Alchemy

The Back-Alley tasting room is a special place where perfect moments are carefully curated through a synesthesia of the senses. The alchemy of  music, lively conversation heard over the clinking of wine glasses, and, of course, the magnificent dishes, all come together to create precious memories, indelibly etched on our minds–spots of time in a room that slows it down, and allows you to escape the everyday and appreciate the ephemeral. But, remember. Keep this in the vault!

Some Featured Dishes for Our Gatsby-Inspired Tasting Dinner! We’ll post more soon!


Beef Tartare, AAA Alberta prime tenderloin, traditional garnish, egg and caper relish on roast garlic crostini

1st Course

Trio of Baked Oysters, Fanny Bay medium beach oysters

2nd Course

Grilled Little Gem Caesar, lightly grilled red and green romaine, crisp pancetta, focaccia crouts, shaved parmesan, marinated white anchovy

3rd Course – Family Style Entrees

Salt Baked Haida Gwaii Ocean Perch, baked whole, stuffed with shaved fennel, lemon, orange and tarragon, served with olive oil and fresh lemon


Burnt Orange Crème Caramel, candied orange slice, blood orange and mint salad
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