DesBrisay Dines

Only Ottawa-Gatineau, only Quebec! resto to make enRoute’s Top 10

Grand félicitations are due to Soif, its owner Véronique Rivest, chef Jamie Stunt, and the entire Soif brigade for snagging a spot on enRoute Magazine’s 2015 Top Ten list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants. It’s the only restaurant from the National Capital Region to make this year’s final list – though others from Ottawa were nominated. It’s also, curiously, the only Quebec restaurant on the roster this year. Not a single Montreal restaurant? Mon dieu…

I had the pleasure of congratulating the brilliant Véronique Rivest (silver medalist at the World’s Best Sommelier competition, 2013) in person this week, bumping into her at a photo session for a new chef-driven book called Ottawa Cooks. Chef Jamie Stunt, also a silver medalist in 2013 (at the Canadian Culinary Championships, when he was chef at Oz Kafé) told me his mission at Soif was to “practice restraint — To keep the food wine-friendly, “natural, uncomplicated, and without too much noise.”

Clearly it spoke loudly to enRoute, and I’d certainly like to make some noise in saying how proud we are.

Here’s what enRoute food writer Andrew Braithwaite had to say about Soif:

“Véronique Rivest leveraged the prestige of a second-place finish at the 2013 World’s Best Sommelier Competition to open her own wine bar in Gatineau. Representing the next generation of oenologists, a squadron of young, bilingual and sommelier-trained servers show that they know their Bourgueil from their Brouilly. The decor, featuring cork walls and stools resembling champagne corks, is as playful as the cellar.”

For those of us who remember chef Steve Vardy (opening chef at Beckta, then with stints at Par-fyum, Whalesbone, and finally Black Cat Bistro, before decamping for Newfoundland), I’m delighted to see his St John’s restaurant, the Adelaide Oyster House, also made the list.

Writes Braithwaite:

“After a decade spent leading high-pressure brigades at such gastronomic heavyweights as Beckta in Ottawa and Atlantica in Portugal Cove, chef Steve Vardy is having fun again. From a narrow outpost on Water Street, he features pretense-free dishes like tacos, fried chicken and kale Caesar salad topped with smoked albacore, capers and the highly delicious ‘sunflower granola’ (ready your spoon).”

Soif, 88 rue Montcalm, Gatineau 819-600-7643

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The only Ottawa-Gatineau, only Quebec resto to make EnRoute’s Top 10 — Soif. Photo: Anne DesBrisay