Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Eliot & Vine grows on Clifton and Cunard

European eats and good wine hit the north end in April

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 2:50 PM

Big things coming at 2035 Clifton - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Big things coming at 2035 Clifton
  • via Facebook

“It’s really that feeling at the end of a really nice night, with good food, good wine, great service, perfect lighting, good music—it’s just feeling inspired,” says Johanna Eliot of her soon-to-be restaurant. “I want people to go home feeling love, and feeling inspired.”

A longtime businesswoman and television producer (she's the president of Ocean Entertainment), Eliot is opening Eliot & Vine—a nod to famous LA intersection Hollywood and Vine. Renovations are currently underway at 2035 Clifton Street, next door to Studio East.

With chef Martin Keyzlar (formerly of Fiasco) at the helm of a small and ever-changing menu of modern European eats, and Breakhouse behind the design, the aim is to give the north end a warm and inclusive place to hang out, drink some wine and socialize. The 55-seat restaurant will offer banquette and bar seating (with the option for front row seats to the chef in action), as well as the semi-private frolic room—which will feature a massive mural from artist Jean Bradbury. Part of the design also includes revamping the building's current Clifton-facing garage door, which will also overlook the kitchen.

“I want people to feel part of a community,” says Eliot. “Hospitality is my number one core value and mantra, we’ll take that to the nth degree." Eliot & Vine is slated to open in April sometime, until then follow its progress here.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

The Highwayman headed for Barrington Street

The 40-seater restaurant aims to open in March

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 11:31 AM

The Highwayman, a Ceilidh Sutherland (pictured), Dan Vorstermans, Michael Hopper and Adam MacLeod joint - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • The Highwayman, a Ceilidh Sutherland (pictured), Dan Vorstermans, Michael Hopper and Adam MacLeod joint
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

On a winter’s night when the wind is in the trees, as foretold a century ago, The Highwayman will come riding (riding, riding) into Halifax. For in early or mid-March—the official date is yet to be announced-—The Highwayman Restaurant will open at 1673 Barrington Street (the former Certainly Cinnamon location).

The Highwayman is a new restaurant venture from Adam MacLeod, Michael Hopper, and Field Guide owners Dan Vorstermans, and Ceilidh Sutherland. MacLeod is head bartender at Field Guide, and Hopper tended bar at La Frasca. The name is inspired by the Alfred Noyes poem, which was first published 100 years ago this August. “It’s a really, really beautiful poem,” says Sutherland. “We’ve been using the imagery as reference for a lot in the design elements on the restaurant. It’s kind of dark and moody, there are lots of textural references and weather references. It’s been a really neat way to be inspired; I’ve never really experienced this before.”

The 40-seat restaurant will have a large food menu with some sharing components along with a traditional menu of appetizers and main courses. “There will be some Spanish inspiration,” says Sutherland, “But other than that, we don’t want to give away too much in terms of what we’re doing with the food. We are going to have a late night menu, though. Stillwell is across the street; we won’t be competing with them, though; we’ll be a companion.”

While Vorstermans will be doing double duty heading up the kitchen at both restaurants, there will, of course, be a beverage program by Hopper and MacLeod as well as a similar devotion to quality front-of-house and back-of-house staffing, you shouldn’t expect a carbon copy of Field Guide. “We already have a great place with a 16 drink cocktail menu, so we don’t really think we need to do that again,” says Sutherland. “This menu will be focused on other spirits, like Sherry and Amaro. And we want to focus on people having a more expansive experience of coming in and ordering a cocktail, having food, drinking wine.”

The foursome has been working on the restaurant for the past few months, and construction is still underway. “It’s a really cool space, a really old building with a lot of really cool components. We’re all really excited about,” says Sutherland. They are also excited to have a space downtown. “I feel like it’s the right time. I think Barrington Street is going to blow up so, again, it feels really good to be on the cusp of something.

“I know that right now in that neighoburhood there are a lot of issues for businesses because of the convention centre being built. My hope always is that opening a new business can only help those other places,” Sutherland says, citing Field Guide’s relationship to EDNA.

“It’s such a good relationship, a good back and forth: you can borrow stuff from each other, our staff is constantly over there eating and drinking and their staff is constantly over here eating and drinking. It creates this culture that’s really important. And hopefully we will see that happen on Barrington Street: people eating at Highwayman and drinking at Stillwell. I hope that’s what will happen. And there are whisperings of other places opening on Barrington Street, so hopefully that’s just going to get better and better.”

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Indochine works on its night moves

After work beer and banh mi anyone?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 1:16 PM

A beauty of a banh mi - KELLY NEIL
  • A beauty of a banh mi
  • Kelly Neil

"What's the saying? Necessity creates ingenuity?". Whatever it is, Liz Smith rang in the new year running with a bright idea for the Barrington Street location of her healthy, Vietnamese-inspired sandwich and snack shop, Indochine Banh Mi (1701 Barrington Street). In the face of slow traffic along downtown's main drag, she's decided to extend the hours of her usually lunch-centric restaurant to complement her newly gained liquor licence (yup, they've got one of those) and entice folks to come by for a bite after the work day ends.

Alongside Indochine's its beer selection (which features locals, as well as Tiger), it's added some tempting new menu items—like kimchi fries and banh mi pizza—to the usual favourites like Korean tacos, pho, noodle bowls and banh mi. The new night menu—which will be served Thursday through Saturday, 3-8pm during the winter months and possibly expand in the spring— kicked off yesterday.

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