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Eliot & Vine – new menu tasting

ev-restoI received an invite to sample Eliot & Vine’s new menu and to show off their chef, Lachlan Culjak.  I am always grateful when a request like this comes my way.  The restaurant is tucked in a residential area of the north end of Halifax – a stone’s throw away from the Halifax Common.  Johanna Eliot (owner) opened Eliot & Vine in April of this year and said she had a vision for her restaurant to be part of the neighborhood. She describes her menu as local with a European flair.  The space is open and flooded with natural light all thanks to the floor to ceiling windows.  The 55-seat restaurant offers banquette and bar seating (even around the kitchen to watch the chef and sous chef), as well as a private room featuring a massive mural from artist Jean Bradbury.

ev-room

With a glass of prosecco in hand, we gathered around the kitchen table to watch chef Lachlan Culjak and sous chef Aaron Doolin introduce the new menu.

chef-plating-salmon

ev-salad-1ev toss – chia seed crisps, crème fraîche, heirloom tomatoes, baby carrots, roasted pistachios, local greens, shallot vinaigrette (tasting note:  fresh, light, crunchy texture especially with the chia seed crisp)

salmon-1salmon – slow cooked, pickled and salt-roasted beets, cucumber, buttermilk horseradish emulsion, dill (tasting note:  delicious tender salmon enhanced by the flavors of the emulsion and sweetness from the beets)

ev-beef-1atlantic beef – blue dot roast rib-eye, slow-cooked rib cap, urban blue cheese potato, beef jus (tasting note:  PEI AAA beef was so tender and the urban blue cheese made locally in the north end of Halifax was an additional treat for the taste buds)

ev-chicken-1chicken – poached in jus, smoked potato puree, rainbow carrots, cipollini onions, wild apples, topped with crispy skin (tasting note:  when I first saw this I thought it was a tofu dish! One piece of chicken is rolled giving it a silky texture which was something I hadn’t expected.  I still don’t quite understand the technique but it does make the chicken super tender).

ev-squid-1calamari – grilled Humboldt squid, house-made chorizo, black beans, red pepper (tasting note: have never had squid presented this way and was pleasantly surprised with the smokey tones from the chorizo – the squid was tender and fresh)

ev-cheesecake-1blueberry cheesecake – house made blueberry glazed cheesecake, elderberry compote, crème fraîche, with Oxford NS blueberries (tasting note:  NY-style cheesecake brought to life with the elderberry and crème fraîche)

apple-pineapple-1pineapple & wild apple tart – NS wild apples, pineapple, sour cream mousse, crème anglaise, vanilla caramel (tasting note:  did not sample this but looked and sounded good)

coat-roomThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  The new menu is varied with 14 items allowing chef Lachlan and his team to fully focus on each dish.  What I liked the most, apart from their food, is their sense of embracing the ‘localness’, if you will, of what’s in their own backyard.  Chef Lachlan worked in Amsterdam for a bit and had the opportunity to cook with unusual native food and it’s this creativity that shines through his food.  Enjoy!

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