Bar Isabel alumni's Queen West wine and snack bar opens today (PHOTOS)

Aug 20 2019, 12:45 pm

A team of alumni from one of Toronto’s favourite hangouts, Bar Isabel, has rallied together to open a new wine and snack bar on Queen West.

Piquette is now open at Queen and Dovercourt, offering a rotating list of more than 80 labels, by both glass and bottle, in a chill atmosphere.

The space, owned by Bar Isabel co-founder Grant van Gameren and with Ellen Shrybman (Bar Isabel, Montgomery’s Restaurant, Tennessee Tavern, Parasol) and Nathan Morrell (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, Quetzal) serving as General Managers, is the ideal place to wind down at the end of the day.

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‘Piquette’ is a French term that refers to a simple, refreshing wine made by adding water to the ‘leftovers’ of winemaking.

Taking inspiration from that, designed by Toronto’s Ali McQuaid of Futurestudio, the atmopshere of Piquette aims to offer a relaxed, easy, and approachable environment to explore new wines.

Collaborating with local millworker Jeff Crews, McQuaid designed a temperature-controlled oak cabinet to host the wines available by the bottle.

Bar Piquette / Instagram

Sleek bar- and table-tops are done in various types of marble, adding a refined and sophisticated element to the otherwise easy-going space.

Piquette’s intimate dining room. (John Cullen)

Beyond flavour, staff will offer assistance on choices based on mood and budget, too. You’re encouraged to pick their brains for all the knowledge they have to offer.

Co-GM Nathan Morrell shares stories of his favourite wines. (John Cullen)

Morrell is an award-winning Advanced Sommelier with experience in many of the world’s top wine regions, and will co-run the wine bar with Shrybman, who holds a Masters in Food Culture from the University of Gastronomic Science in Piemonte.

Under the direction of van Gameren, the opening menu of small dishes is kept simple and fresh, showcasing charcuterie from Scott Draper — local charcutier — alongside dishes by van Gameren himself.

The opening menu includes Pâté en Croûte Richelieu. (John Cullen)

The spotlight shines on ingredients that pair best with wine. Which means you can anticipate amberjack crudo with local cucumbers, or fennel with tonnato, habanero, and bonito.

And Amberjack crudo with local cucumbers. (John Cullen)

Try not to get too hooked on any one thing, because the menu will change regularly. But trust us… these folks know what they’re doing. Any changes that they make are bound to be consistently good ones.

Open sight-lines showcase fresh ingredients and snacks on offer. (John Cullen)

The new spot is currently open, walk-ins only, from 3 pm to 2 am Monday through Thursday, and 11 am to 2 am Friday through Sunday.

We know where we’ll be after work.


Address: 1084 Queen Street West


Kayla GladyszKayla Gladysz

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