East Side Welcomes Sweet New Wine Bar

March 13, 2009.

I had to go and review a completely different restaurant for the paper tonight but I couldn’t help but also take a long-looked-forward-to tour of the brand new Au Petit Chavignol, a wine, cheese and charcuterie bar umbilically tied and allied to the almost finished Les Amis du Fromage location next door. Check it for yourselves at 843/845 East Hastings. So nice to see it busy out of the gate.

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Propped up and already deeply cut, the Fermin Jamon Iberico de Bellota ham on the hoof did seduce in a most irregular, Rape of the Lapiths sort of way, but my betrothed belly could only afford a beer before elsewhere, a tart tongue lash of Blanche de Chambly.

Scout contributor Owen Lightly – solo star of one of my favourite local blogs, Butter on the Endive – was out front in his whites, knife busily slicing meat and splicing cheese. That’s him pictured on the left (above) next to Joe Chaput, local Lord of the Cheese and Salami Bossman. If you’ve never met Joe, he is oft-mistaken for a Bhuddist super ninja – David Carradine style – head shaved and armed with gouda and brie (when he works a wheel of cheddar his hands make wap wap sounds like a kung fu superstar). Anyway, lots of the people were there looking good under the flattering glow of a cool bar set up. The menu looked savoury and simple, and the wine list read like poetry. Great beers, too.

Regular readers might recall that I popped in for a recce while it was still very much in its embryonic stage, a mess of dust and tools and imaginings courtesy of designer John Shields. See the video above. I also took pics that day, which might prove interesting for the many before-and-after fetishists among us…

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My sleeve drained and appetite sufficiently primed, it was then off to work proper. Break legs, fellas.

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Andrew Morrison is a west coast boy who studied history and classics at the Universities of Cape Town and Toronto after an adolescence spent riding skateboards and working in restaurants. He is the editor of Scout Magazine, the weekly food and restaurant columnist for the Westender newspaper, a contributor to Vancouver and Western Living magazines, and a proud board member of the Chef’s Table Society of BC. He lives and works by the beach in Vancouver.

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