Friday, May 1, 2015 10:00 am ·  0 Comments
At the Hamilton Food & Drink Fest in April there was an impressive showing from local restaurateurs who brought a vast array of culinary offerings to Hamilton, and there were also many drink options to try! The Twisted Lemon Restaurant was on the cooking demo stage creating classic cocktails with their twist when I arrived.
At the fest I met Matthew Kershaw, a French-trained chef who apprenticed in Europe and trained in Toronto at the Royal York Hotel. He and his partner Erin Dunham have opened six restaurants in the last five years with their restaurant group, The Other Bird. At the fest they were offering Crispy Goat + Chèvre, and Pork + Shrimp Dumpling samples – delectable!
Kershaw said each of their restaurants are small and different. Their most recent to open, Except for Kenneth (Kenneth is Matthew’s dad) in Hamilton, serves up Central American and Guatemalan inspired food such as ceviches and tacos. Two Black Sheep nearby is an oyster bar which sells the most oysters per seat in Ontario. Rapscallion Rogue Eatery, also in Hamilton, is mostly about meat. With a nose to tail menu and no particular influence, it regularly changes offering a variety of dishes to experience which has included foie gras, veal tongue ‘n’ cheek, frogs legs, pig’s head, and chicken feet. Their first restaurant was The Alex in Burlington, open evenings for fine dining, specializing in small plates and share plates.
The Earth to Table: Bread Bar located on Locke Street in Hamilton (they have a second location in Guelph) brought house-made bread with an herbed ricotta spread, also delectable! Speaking with Graham Pelley, Executive Chef (on the right), he explained that all breads and sauces are made with quality ingredients including produce grown in Flamborough at their 50 acre Start-Up Farm sublet from FarmStart. The “Earth to Table” book written by Bettina Schormann and Jeff Crump, both chefs and founders of the restaurant, is about eating locally which means seasonally, and this is their concept of food.
It was great chatting with Nina Ruelens, Executive Chef of the 4th Course Bistro at Copetown Woods Golf Club after trying one of her famous crab cakes – so good. Ruelens told me the restaurant is open even during the off-season. Nickel Brook Brewing Co. was there with a fantastic assortment of beers including their Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout, good brew! Select Wines & Spirits had an impressive selection of wines to taste, some awesome values with the Mionetto MO Prosecco at $17.95 retail and Faustian VII Tempranillo at $12.95 retail.
Later in the month at the Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) Trialto Wine Group presented wines from Spain, France, and Italy. The last wine poured was produced with one of my favourite grapes, Nebbiolo.
From the Borgogno winery in Piedmont, Italy, this wine was named very curiously as “NO NAME” for the fact that there was a kerfuffle in 2005 regarding regulations over the style of the wine in the bottle which did not allow the famous Barolo producer to name it “Barolo” or be labeled DOCG. In a quiet protest Borgogno declassified this very enjoyable mid-weight wine produced with fruit from three single vineyards located in the district of Barolo, the same crus that their Barolo comes from, and has ever since labeled it Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. This wine makes me think back to my visit to this winery several years ago now and the Barolo wines I brought back with me including their Barolo Chinato di Borgogno (Barolo wine with an herbal infusion, good with chocolate), a special wine which is long gone!
4th Course Bistro, Barolo Chinato, Borgogno, Copetown Woods Golf Club, FarmStart, Hamilton Food & Drink Fest, Mark Anthony Group, Nebbiolo, Nickel Brook Brewing Co., No Name, Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club, OWEC, Rapscallion, Rogue Eatery, Select Wines & Spirits, The Alex, The Earth to Table: Bread Bar, The Other Bird, Trialto Wine Group, Twisted Lemon, Two Black Sheep