Eating & Drinking

Fresh start! Award-winning chef Briana Kim opens Alice in Little Italy

It’s finally here! The enduring popularity of Café My House shut down any lingering skepticism that vegan food could appeal to a wider audience, but after 10 years in Hintonburg chef/owner Briana Kim was ready for a new challenge.

The award-winning chef — who gained a national following after winning the Ottawa edition of the prestigious Gold Medal Plates competition in 2017 and wowing a national panel of judges with her performance at the Canadian Culinary Championships — closed Café My House in January. For the past six months, she has been menu planning, recipe testing, and diving into all those nitty gritty details that need to come together for a restaurant to be born. 

Alice, located in the former digs of much-loved The Rex, sets the bar high. The whimsically named restaurant is offering up an ever-changing, vegetable-inspired, eight-course tasting menu each night, paired with natural wines, modern cocktails, and fermented beverages. 

Alice, says Kim, will be all about “taking humble ingredients and transforming them into something unexpected.” The results are bound to be cool, crave-able, and oh-so-beautifully composed. 

Kim says she’s spent some of her time off from day-to-day kitchen duties experimenting with fermentation, using it to add umami and depth to vegetable dishes and drinks. 

Design fans will love the clean look, with birch tables and cabinetry complemented by textured white clay and lime walls. The idea was that Alice would have a very natural look and that the materials used would have as low an environmental impact as possible. 

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Find it: 40 Adeline St., 613-733-0707.

Price: $95

Hot Tip: Don’t just go for the creative food! Kim’s super-cool, super-creative cocktails (both alcoholic and not) were a huge draw at Café My House and should garner the same raves at Alice. 

Hot Tip #2: Prepare to spend the evening. The eight-course tasting menu runs 2-2.5 hours. 

Hot Tip #3: Do take the time to check out all that’s growing and bubbling around you. On the growing side, a greenhouse out front and raised beds outside the windows show off edible flowers and herbs, while a fermentation cabinet in the dining room showcases fermented and pickled ingredients. All the plants, pickles, and ferments are destined to appear on your plate (or in your cocktail).