It is a unique place, and one of our favorite terraces when the good weather sets in in the metropolis. But since its opening a decade ago, the quality of what is served has not always been equal to the Culinary Lab, the wine bar located on the third floor of the Society for Technological Arts (SAT). A new guard, both on the side of the cash program and the dining card, makes things more exciting than ever.
Since March, Émilie Bégin has been behind the creative menu of the place, which further asserts its wine bar side, with irresistible small plates to share. She brings her multiple experiences: her past as a baker (Bête à pain) and that acquired with chefs Fabrizia Rollo (Brïz), Marie-Fleur St-Pierre (Méson, Tapéo) and Simon Mathys (Manitoba).
Émilie Bégin highlights our boreal territory, but without overdoing it, with ingenious touches: tuna tataki in a boreal spice crust, pickled daisy buttons, cranberry purée, summer strawberries and elderberry, among others. His techniques also impress: for example, a lactofermented potato bread for his mushroom toast. “I like it to be indulgent by keeping it simple, then adding punches of more intense color and flavor,” she sums up. Soon, outdoor grills on the charcoal BBQ will be added to the offer: marinated chicken drumsticks, grilled asparagus and soft-boiled egg…
The thirsty will be very well quenched with the new seasonal drink offer. The cocktail menu, the fruit of the work of bar chef Étienne Cloutier, is enticing. He works with syrups, bitters, cordial and other products, all prepared on site: wild rice horchata flavored with matcha and sage, horchata with coconut milk and tarot, pineapple-anise-sage bitters, dehydrated pineapple with Campari and cardamom to garnish…
“We are in what I like to call accessible funky. This is the direction I’m trying to give the map; introduce people to more niche stuff, bring them into our world. Interesting addition: the “Responsible choices” section, longer cocktails, with only an ounce of alcohol, and also inventive mocktails, based on kefir or ginger beer, for example.
The wine list is the responsibility of sommelier Kim Urbain, who has been in post for a year. “I focus on natural or biodynamic wines, I really like wines that are out of habit, exploring several terroirs and regions,” explains the young woman. The menu conceals pretty pearls, both by the glass and in the bottle. Kim presents her three favorites of the moment: Mother Rock, a white wine (blend of Grenache Blanc, Chenin, Viognier) from South Africa offering a nice acidity; Pierre Frick, a short macerated, floral and elegant Riesling; the Italian Malvasia, a large format orange wine, more structured, with very present tannins.