Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nuba Restaurant, Vancouver

Aim, who works part time as my assistant when she's not teaching university or writing international columns on world affairs, picked Nuba for our Christmas office party.
8 people were there. Great company.  Beautiful intelligent women and handsome non belligerent men.
Nuba on Hastings at Cambie was packed.  It was Wednesday night and everyone seemed in that 25 to 45 affluent with it set.  A few older guys like me were dotted about here and there but definitely not a grey carpet shiny dome place by any means.  Alot of conversation but none of that 'loud' crowd.  Very New York, Parisian eatery atmosphere.  Surprisingly fluid. 
The hostess was helpful and the waitress was a delight. Lots of suggestions. Interesting and novel drinks and food. By group consensus we went with the group platter with individual items.  A wide range of exotically prepared Lebanese delights, mostly vegan, were to be shared , with wedges of bread for convenient nibble and bite or toff amounts.  In addition everyone got to choose a personal kabob or something similar. I had a delicious lamb kabob while I noticed others had chicken and shrimp..  The Lebanese are known for their sea food  but  lamb is what I like best.  If I say so myself, a very good choice.
But the communal platter with hummus spreads, and greens and just a whole boodle of tasty bits, more than enough for everyone, was the most fun.  Everyone was sampling  and comparing. Aim commented on the cultural aspects of food at one point with her and Joanne discussing how in Asian culture the discussion of food in general while eating food in particular was so much part of the process.  Mark who had travelled the world over shared insights into food by comparison and actually had pictures in his iphone of recent dishes he'd enjoyed on his latest international flights.
Everyone was sharing stories as well. The laughter was infectious. After something Chris or Phil said we were all laughing and I wondered if we were being 'loud'.  Laura or Elizabeth was telling a story when I realized every other table was bursting out with intermittent laughter too.. Some of it was the Christmas Season for sure but I really did think something about the decor, the staff, the way the tables were dispersed and the food just brought out the best in people.
Eventually we all seemed to slow down then stopped eating Even the occasional picking came to an end as we all sat happily sated.. The waitress appeared, asked if we wanted more, we were fine, the bill appeared and was extremely reasonable, not at all a burden by any means, given the luxury of the repast.
Then we were collectively mobilizing and saying fair wells and holiday well wishes outside across from the Victory Memorial Park on Hastings.
I really can't remember a group dining experience I more enjoyed in recent years.  I've never had such an enjoyable work and staff outing, by any means.
Nuba seemed just perfect for a group function though I imagine all those couples who were interspersed among the larger tables might well go away ad say it was just right for them as well.

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