27 Apr The Local Traveler – Eliot & Vine Restaurant
Last night we got a sneak peek of Eliot & Vine, a new restaurant and wine bar in Halifax’s North End. Located on Clifton Street, just off Cunard, the restaurant hopes to offer an ever-evolving menu of European-inspired dishes paired with wine selections from around the world.
The space is small and intimate, 55 seats divided into three narrow rooms.
The main dining area has a stunning marble bar that runs along most of one side of the space. Large windows wrap around the other side, filling the room with light and fresh air. The wine is displayed in honey-coloured wood cabinets behind the bar, and fresh flowers, sparkling silver and glassware, and mixed-wood panelling give the space a refined, relaxed look.
In a cozy side room, called “the frolic room”, a giant mural fills the walls. The painting tells the story of owner Johanna Eliot’s life, as interpreted by artist and good friend Jean Bradbury. Symbols representing Johanna’s childhood, parents, and children are weaved into the intricate pastel panels.
My favourite room is the open kitchen, located at the back of the restaurant, where we go to sit at the small bar and watch Executive Chef Jason Townes and staff hard at work. A garage door opens to the street, letting warm spring air in.
Johanna’s work as a film producer has taken her around the world, and she’s produced shows for The Food Network. Her food experiences are reflected in the menu she created alongside Executive Chef Jason Townes.
On the night of our visit, we tried chicken lollipops in a honey-roasted garlic, giant shrimp skewers marinated in lemon and garlic then drizzled with a roasted red pepper sauce, beef carpaccio and horseradish aioli on toasted baguette, truffle fries, and my favourite of the night, pork belly on a smoked cheddar polenta.
The menu will change frequently, and can be paired with a selection of international wines and cocktails. They also have a small line-up of local craft beer and cider, including the new Nine Locks brewery from Dartmouth.
We visited Eliot & Vine as part of a press event with a few other bloggers and local writers. It’s always a bit of a challenge to get a true sense of a place at an opening event, but we liked what we saw (and tasted). The staff were all so welcoming, knowledgeable, and helpful, and it was good to learn that Eliot & Vine offer health care coverage to all full-time staff. I can see it being a great place to share wine and tapas late into the evening with good friends.