Food & Drink: Hip-hop and wine and workspace.. Oh my! At Bazarette

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love great food and even better wine. I am also a huge fan of going out and experiencing Montreal and life and everything in between. I love date nights and family outings. I love girls night out and games nights and Cirque du Soleil and ballet and musical concerts. And I could go on and on.

And the one thing that all of these things have in common is that they often begin and end with food and wine. Except when we go to a show at the Bell Center. No disrespect to the few restaurants that are within a short walking distance to the Bell Center, but there was a serious lack of non-chain dining options and an actual hand-selected wine list. (Go ahead, call me a wine snob, I’m ok with that. I’ll just sip on an oaky blend and forget you called me names!)

Which is why I was delighted to snag an invite to the freshly launched Bazarette, an all-new wine bar in the heart of the action of the Bell Center. With a dynamic trio of restaurant world heavy-hitters such as Chef Adam Martin (Chez l’Épicier, Miel), Manager Jérémie Pratte (Hélicoptère, McKiernan) and General Manager Charlie April (Hoogan & Beaufort, Au Pied de Cochon), last night’s launch event was nothing short of a huge success. The old school hip hop piping through the speakers made it the perfect place where I could imagine myself chilling and sipping on that oaky blend that will make me forget I’m a snob. Or make me own that snobby side of myself even more because a little Tupak makes everything ok.

On a side note, any self-respecting wine snob needs to appreciate wine in all of its forms. After studying the carefully selected wine list, made up almost entirely of privately-imported, sustainable and organic wines, I noticed that there were several orange wines. I have tried orange wines only twice and have not enjoyed them (I find they taste like beer). However, I did promise M. Pratte that, upon my certain return, I would give those wonderfully hand-selected orange wines all of my attention.

After the initial welcome drink of bubbly, I was able to watch the inventive barman in action. We tried two of 3 suggested cocktails: the Lidocaine and the Aus Lima. The Lidocaine was well balanced and wonderfully different than a typical cocktail. The Aus Lima, however, was almost too beautiful to drink! Refreshing and delightfully fruity, yet not too sweet. It was the clear winner in my books!

Above, I said that I love food and wine. In retrospect, that is not entirely accurate. I think a closer description is that I love art and wine. I love art as food (hence my lukewarm feelings towards chain restaurants). I love seeing the innovation and passion and creation that went into a chef’s craft. And, for anyone that has ever been to a restaurant with a creator-chef at the helm, you know that this is an art form. Inventing new flavor combinations, inventing new ways to present those blended flavors, inventing décor on the plate, all of this creates an experience that touches all of the senses. And I, for one, love it.

So, great job, @Bazarette. And great call moving to a spot that was severely lacking in art as food. Or food as art. And wine. Never forget the wine. I can’t wait for my next Bell Center show!

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- Sarah Birtwistle