The Vault Gastropub is an intimate, atmospheric, independent restaurant in downtown Whitby, located in what was once, you guessed it, a bank. The decor is dark, giving it the feel of a cosy, traditional pub, with a small bar and a dozen or so tables of various sizes throughout.
We’re the first diners to arrive at lunchtime on a Saturday, and decided on a seat by the window, where the affable staff member thoughtfully swapped out our bar stools for dining chairs, and gave us time to peruse the menu while still being available for questions.
The Vault’s menu isn’t extensive, but it’s thoughtful, and specials are advertised weekly on their Facebook page and in the restaurant. We decided to stick with the regular menu, and ordered the Ontario Roasted Beet Salad with arugula, goat cheese, maple spiced walnuts, dried cranberries, and a honey dijon vinaigrette ($12), the Salmon Signature Handheld ($15), and added on the Baked Six Onion Soup, with port and brandy, caramelized onions, beef broth, brioche, and Swiss cheese, for an additional $3.
As the restaurant started to fill up, our food arrived. The Roasted Beet Salad was beautifully presented, with slices of red and yellow roasted beets spread over a bed of arugula, covered with sliced onion, walnuts, cranberries, goat cheese, and drizzled with the vinaigrette. The sweetness of the roasted beets mellowed the peppery arugula, while the walnuts gave the salad a nice crunch. The Salmon Handheld arrived with a bowl of onion soup, which was piping hot from the oven. The salmon was baked, then wrapped in warm naan, stuffed with arugula, pineapple salsa, and Israeli couscous.
Though somewhat of an odd combination, kind of like Friday night’s dinner leftovers had been repurposed for Saturday lunch, the wrap still worked! We just wish there had been more of the pineapple salsa, it’s light sweetness was fresh without overpowering, and, along with the arugula, lifted up the potential heaviness of the naan bread, couscous, and salmon.
The Six Onion Soup was rich and hearty, the melted Swiss cheese perfectly stringy and gooey, just as we wanted, but we would have liked the brioche swapped with French bread or a nice, crispy crouton. Still, the well-balanced broth made us happy we’d ordered it.
Would we go back? Absolutely! It was a comfortable space, upmarket without being pretentious, friendly service, with a well-planned and well-executed menu.
The Vault Gastropub is located at 102 Brock Street South, Whitby.