Oct/Nov 2015 June/July 2015 - Page 33

TABLE Neighbourhood . ... Downtown Address . ... 300 Memorial Blvd Phone ........ 204-948-0085 Entrées ............ $12-$16 Floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the Modernist design of the rooftop sculpture garden, creating one of the city’s most picture-perfect views, an idyllic backdrop for a Mediterranean meal. The minimal interior, set with black tables and chairs, lets the food do the talking. Natural light illuminates this artsy eatery housed on the penthouse level of the Winnipeg Art Gallery (sunny days may call for a pair of chic specs). The ace seats are beside the wall of windows, which provide views of a unique northern vantage point on the city skyline. No need for fancy table settings here, feed your eyes with an impressive view of the reflecting pool and the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collection of sculptures. Art lovers and business casual diners alike head to this urban retreat amidst downtown hustle, where hushed chatter echoes in an open space. The buzz on the current exhibit is just as important as the food. Inspired by Olympus: The Greco-Roman Collections of Berlin, the menu boasts Mediterranean flavours and ingredients. For starters, two crepes served over a heaping mountain of arugula offer a candied kick. Spicy chorizo and thinly sliced, tender and juicy duck breast offset crispy green apples smothered with sun dried cherry cream cheese. The cool, summer flavour of apple balances a fiery bite of chorizo. Amid the options on the twopage menu are twists on flatbread and pasta. Flatbread sprinkled with chopped pieces of spinach, fig and ciao! reviews bacon hides underneath a gooey and bountiful goat cheese and mozza topping. Smokey, crisp edges balance a playful drizzle of balsamic vinegar, which adds a sweet-tart flavour punch to cheesy goodness. Sandwich connoisseurs can chow down on hearty pot roast with green pepper relish, arugula and Havarti cheese melting it all together. Keep napkins nearby, as beef escapes the overflowing panini roll with every bite. The Cuban, juicy slices of smoked pork loin smothered with honey tarragon mustard on a warm pita, imparts exotic, bittersweet flavour. Pasta options satisfy grumbling stomachs with abundant portions. Surpassingly soft ravioli swim in a smoked cheddar cream sauce. Garden fresh carrots, asparagus and red pepper top smooth sweet potato filled bites so good you’d offer them to the gods. Rustic whole carrots maintain crunch while delivering nature’s sweetness to sharp and peppery cheddar. Much like the gallery, the food is thoughtfully crafted and worthy of snapping a few shots before digging in. To make a noon hour getaway even more indulgent, sip on one of the suggested wine pairings listed beside entrees. No gallery admission required. TABLE is open Tues to Fri 11 am-3 pm, Sat & Sun 11 am-2 pm, closed Mon. CHAISE CAFÉ & LOUNGE Neighbourhood . .. St. Boniface Address . .. 271 Provencher Blvd Phone ........ 204-504-4012 Entrées ............ $15-$25 Past neatly lined hedges on a busy street, this friendly St. Boniface eatery has enough character and charm to fit right into a fairytale. Huddled in the cozy interior surrounded by diners tucking into made-with-love contemporary Italian cuisine, it’s easy to feel right at home. Like the food, the surroundings are warm and comforting with glimmering candles and beautiful people conversing en français. Located on Provencher Blvd, this old home turned resto has enough dining space to hold a dinner party for la famiglia. The place is helplessly cozy, capturing the frivolity of a welloiled family dinner, but in a way that never feels contrived. The best seats in the house are coveted window side tables where a direct view of the garden adjacent to the patio peeks through white blinds. Wooden tables and chairs framed by hanging planters make for a pristine spot for al fresco dining. The unflashy menu contains regional inspiration like pan roasted Manitoba pickerel fillet topped with smooth pesto. A mini mountain of potato salad accompanies carrots, kale and asparagus in a butter bath with lemony caper gremolata. Fragrant, piquant notes punctuate each bite. Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches are famous here, but starters like roasted butternut squash salad is a must try. A whisper of bacon rosemary vinaigrette floats over thinly sliced red cabbage and butternut squash like a sigh. The grilled Caesar salad's popularity is belied by the sound of crunching. Grilled romaine lettuce topped with capers, buttered breadcrumbs and a generous drizzle of creamy Caesar dressing has diners all around smiling in satisfaction. For grilled cheese lovers, Chaise gives new meaning to PB & J with pear, Brie and jambon between slices of crusty bread. The delightful combination of pear and salty prosciutto results in a palate-pleasing bite even for the most finicky gourmand. Drag your fork through 'bleutine', ciao! / june/july / two thousand fifteen 31