AFrite fires up

An­drew Al-Khouri brings “culi­nary flair” to Lower Wa­ter Street.

The Coast - - FOOD + DRINK - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

Re­mem­ber An­drew Al-Khouri? The plucky Cape Bre­toner-turned-Haligo­nian made a splash on Master Chef Canada in 2015, earn­ing his spot on the air­waves with a no frills don­air gnoc­chi and tap­ping out in the top 10. Then, he was a tax of­fi­cer with a pas­sion for cook­ing bored by his day job. Now, he’s open­ing a restau­rant.

“I’ve al­ways liked free­dom to be who I want to be and do what I want to do. The worst re­al­ity I can think of is one where I have to do one thing for the rest of my life,” says Al-Khouri, who’s op­er­ated a cater­ing and pri­vate chef ser­vice Zatar Cater­ing— as a side hus­tle since com­pet­ing on the show. But af­ter a cou­ple of years in the works, he’s found a home base for his food. Come the end of Novem­ber he’ll de­but aFrite, a 30-seater spot with a small menu at 1360 Lower Wa­ter Street, the for­mer Choco Cafe.

“It means fried in French, but what it re­ally is named af­ter is some­thing my mom used to call me when I was kid. In Ara­bic it means shit­head, trou­ble­maker, lit­tle devil. It’s an en­dear­ing term,” says says, with a laugh. “I got all my mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion from learn- ing from my mother and see­ing her amaz­ing Mid­dle East­ern-style cook­ing.”

aFrite will have an en­tirely open kitchen, some com­mu­nal seating and a chef’s bar and an ever-chang­ing chalk­board menu where each dish and ap­pe­tizer will have a sug­gested beer and wine pair­ing (thanks to som­me­lier Danny He­witt and Tide­house Brew­ing Co.).

“There is ab­so­lutely no genre. Peo­ple ask what I’ll be serv­ing and I say world fu­sion which es­sen­tially means noth­ing. And ev­ery­thing. The point is to not hav­ing re­stric­tions— be­ing a trou­ble­maker,” says Al-Khouri. “If we want to have foie gras one week and spam the next, we will.”

He’ll be a bit of a switch hit­ter, spend­ing time in the kitchen with chef Pam Eye but also help­ing out with ser­vice, aim­ing to pro­vide a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that’s in­ter­ac­tive, fun and de­li­cious without abid­ing to any set-in-stone pa­ram­e­ters. And yeah, there’ll prob­a­bly be some don­air gnoc­chi.

“The idea is to off­set what’s al­ready down there with some­thing dif­fer­ent,” says AlKhouri. “It’s built around what I think Hal­i­fax needs, which is a lit­tle culi­nary flair.”

SUB­MIT­TED

Al-Khouri and some of his cre­ations.

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