A FOODIE’S OASIS IN WEST SPRINGS
Looking across 85th Street S.W., I was confused. Behind me was Vin Room, the popular Mission wine bar. Across was Mercato, the busy Mission Italian deli and restaurant. What’s going on here?
Looks like Phoebe and Ken Fung, the owners of Vin Room, have taken their concept to West Springs with a second location at 8561– 8A Avenue S.W. (587353-8812). They’ve planted it in a new strip-mall development called West 85th Street, directly across from Mercato West, the second iteration of the Carocciolo family’s restaurant-deli, and dubbed it Vin Room West.
They’ve taken advantage of the booming development in West Springs and are bringing their food and wine combo to its residents.
The new Vin Room West is 120 seats and two levels centred around a large, marble bar that houses eight Enomatic wine dis- pensers holding 64 wines. Add in a dozen sparkling wines, a dozen sweet wines and a half-dozen bottles on ice and you have more than 90 wines available by the glass at any time. Sample very expensive wines by the ounce or glasses or bottles of your favourites. (Note: Our liquor laws allow us to take home partly drunk restaurant bottles.)
Running Vin Room’s kitchens is newly arrived senior executive chef Christopher Chabot. The native of Elmvale, Ont. and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America’s New York campus, was most recently cooking at Vancouver’s Opus Hotel. He’s been working with executive chef Diana Nacita to ensure that both kitchens put out simple, tapas-focused, wine-friendly food. The pair promises a new look menu for both locations early in the New Year.
In addition to the Vin Room wine bar, the Fungs have opened VR Wine, a wine shop, next to the restaurant. It features wines sold at Vin Room plus tastes from an additional Enomatic dispenser. They also have Calgary’s first Enomatic sparkling wine dispenser, allowing tastes of pricey champagnes, that can stay bubbly for up to a month.
Although West 85th Street is a fairly small stripmall, it holds a few other culinary gems. Experienced baker Sebastian Judkovski has opened Ohh la la Patisserie (587-353-0111) just a few doors east of the wine bar. Originally from Argentina, Judkovski is trained in French and Italian baking and was, until recently, the executive pastry chef at Calgary’s Chamber of Commerce. Ohh la la showcases his talent in madeleines, macaroons, maple-glazed croissants and more.
Just east of Ohh la la, there is olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop Blue Door (403-978-4659). Owned by Courtney and Bruce Gillis, Blue Door pours more than 50 oils and vinegars from bulk fusti tanks into smaller bottles. Sourcing from Veronica Foods in Oakland, Blue Door — like Soffritto in Canyon Meadows — offers the most freshly
pressed oils available.
I was pleasantly surprised to find some excellent food items in Inspirati, the lovely linen shop at 2115 – 4 Street S.W., 403-244-4443. In addition to all the fine fabrics, owner Wendy Brownie has brought in Hubs Virginia peanuts (a treat for goober fans), Poorboy caramels infused with fleur de sel and Il Palagio’s extra virgin olive oil from Sting’s estate near Florence.
Andrea Robinson, left, regional general manager, is joined by fellow Vin Room West personnel Phoebe Fung, proprietor, Erika Tocco, wine director, Claudio Bagnoti, sous chef, Tim Butcher, assistant manager and Christopher Chabot, senior executive chef.