Chef Sean Collins of The Red Rabbit
First, in other news...
Down the Street
We have had great meals at Bijou and Mercer Hall this summer. Chef Ryan O’Donnell is at Mercer Hall and Chef Max Holbrook is at Bijou this season, they are both at the top of their game.
The Revival House is getting closer to opening. Chefs Kyle Rose (late of London’s former Auberge du Petit Prince) and Byron Hallett will operate the kitchen, emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients on the daily menu. www.revival.houseRestaurant Manager Joel Kechnie tells me The Prune will open for lunch in July. (Lunch will be served Thursday, Friday and Saturday closer to the end of July) 151 Albert Street www.theprune.com
The Red Rabbit Restaurant Officially Opens
Tim Larsen, Jessie Larsen and Chef Sean Collins left Mercer Hall to build a new community-shared restaurant on Wellington Street, called the The Red Rabbit. Collins is the leading the kitchen at the worker-owned venture. That team is comprised of sous chef Jon Naiman and a core group of other kitchen and front-of-house staff. The restaurant has a thoughtful focus on local ingredients from area farmers, local producers, local brewers and distillers.Starting Tuesday, July 14th at 5pm, they will be open 7 days a week! Pre theatre menu will be offered from 5-7pm. Featuring a 2 or 3 course dinner for $43 and $49 respectively, then à la carte from 7-close. Lunches start on Thursday, July 16th. There will be beer on tap from Stratford’s Black Swan Brewery, and spirits from the city’s new Junction 56 Distillery. www.redrabbitresto.com
Linleys Food Shop is the new home of Stratford chefs Aaron and Bronwyn Linley.
Chefs Aaron and Bronwyn Linley sold Bijou earlier this year, after 14 years. They were very ready for a change, and handed over the reins to new owners, Mark and Linda Simone in March. The Linley’s had been operating the kitchen and restaurant in The Bruce Hotel for two years and decided to move on when their contract expired at the end of March.On Thursday July 23rd, they will be opening a chef-driven takeout food shop for busy people. Linleys Food Shop will feature catering, lunch to go, and meals to take home. The shop will be located at 51 York St.... the former home of the Clay Café. Follow Linleys Food Shop on twitter at @linleysfoodshop
I have only ever had superlatives to say about the Linleys. This is what I wrote about their restaurant Bijou in 2011, “Bijou Restaurant is a culinary tourist’s dream… The food at Bijou is dazzling, never predictable, and the menus are always changing to highlight seasonal ingredients and the best local food procurement available. The restaurant provides an unparalleled ‘local’ taste experience.”Last year while they were operating the Bruce I wrote, “Chef Linley describes his cuisine as nouveau Ontario, using French technique and ethnic influences applied to the good things of this province.” Read the full story here: http://ethicalgourmet.blogspot.ca/2014/07/nouveau-ontario-at-restaurant-at.html
Following on the heels of last fall’s opening of Black Swan Brewing, comes Stratford’s own micro-distillery, Junction 56 Distillery. Owner Michael Heisz began his first batch in April, and is starting with vodkas, then vapour-infused gins, and then whiskeys.” We are expecting that the facility and retail outlet will be open to public shortly. www.junction56.ca
At Chocolate Barr’s, Derek Barr is making his own gelato and sorbetto in-house this year for the summer months. Some of the gelato flavours are traditional, such as vanilla, dark chocolate mintie and pistachio. But he is creating some unusual ones like the Embro Barn Burner — with toasted marshmallow, burnt caramel and Laphroaig Scotch, as well as a Mocha Espresso. For the sorbetto, Derek has done Lemon, Mango and Ontario Strawberry. Barr’s has also started to produce local fruit jellies, with the Ontario Strawberry jellies available now until sold out. Expect a northern Ontario Blueberry Jellie soon! www.chocolatebarrs.com
Stratford Summer Music’s 15th season
Stratford Summer Music’s 15th season presents food and music pairings ranging from refined to rambunctious: Saturdays and Sundays (July 26 – August 30) The Prune presents solo Tafelmusik violinists over brunch in the back garden room. Revival House, formerly The Church, presents the annual cabaret series, with renowned opera singer Rebecca Caine (July 25), the one and only Carole Pope (Aug 8), a Newfoundland Jazz Ceilidh (Aug 22), and former Nylon, Micah Barnes & friends (Aug 29). Revival House also presents a “guerrilla-style” opera and culinary performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, in English, featuring five young Canadian singers directed by Peter Tiefenbach. Aug 14 and 15 at 6:30 pm, August 16 at noon. www.stratfordsummermusic.ca