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Photos by Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail. Read Chris Nuttall-Smith's full review of Cactus Club Café here.

The chef

Rob Feenie is a one-time West Coast culinary superstar. Cactus Club Café’s menu is larded with Rob Feenie specials: with genuinely great ingredients like B.C. ling cod, and OceanWise-approved albacore tuna. There’s a duo of beef served with layered, potatoes gratin-style pavé, and veal cheek and porcini pappardelle. If these were executed well, I’d applaud the restaurant, and gladly. Yet over three visits, almost none of the cooking even remotely lived up to the promises that Cactus Club Café’s menus and publicity have made.

The room

The complex’s glass-shrouded central staircase is lit with a constellation of $20,000 Danish modern chandeliers. Its second-storey dining room has a trio of Warhols on the walls, and the focus of the lounge, if you can peel your eyes from all the television screens, is three original Basquiats, as well as a Mr. Brainwash painting of Madonna and Britney making out. The acoustics, particularly on its second floor, are some of the best in the city, considering the crowds. Almost every surface is designed to either absorb or scatter sound waves, so you can still have a conversation, despite often considerable background noise.

The food

The Cactus Club Café serves more or less the same slapdash, couple-steps-up-from-the-foodcourt standards as all the other big chains, made in many cases with the same low-rent ingredients. With 500 seats and a booming business district lunch trade, that’s what you do to get the customers in and out.

The tuna stack.
Duck confit.
Pan-roasted lingcod.
Butternut squash ravioli with prawns.