Acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and co-founder of Bar Isabel, Grant van Gameren just opened a brand new wine bar concept on Toronto's Queen West with the help of Bar Isabel alumni Ellen Shrybman and Nathan Morrell.
The aptly named Piquette--a French term for simple and light wine made from adding water to leftover grape pomace from winemaking--is an intimate 30-seat space where wine enthusiasts of any experience can go to wind down, relax, and enjoy a catalogue of curated wines chosen by some of the city's most esteemed authorities.
Morrell, an award-winning sommelier and Shrybman, who holds a master's degree in food culture, hope to utilize their rotating wine list to showcase their favourite small vinters, who despite producing some incredible wine, are often hard to find in the region.
"Ellen and I are excited to share our love and respect for our favourite wine producers. We've put together a selection of wines that is quite personal to us, and can't wait to share the stories that brought them to Piquette," says Morrell. "The wines we feature will change all the time, even over the course of a day, so there will always be something new to try. Whether someone knows a whole lot or nothing at all about wine, they can come here, have a chat with our team and try something different and exciting. We're creating the kind of place that we'd all love to spend time at."
Guests are encouraged to engage with Piquette's knowledgeable and friendly staff to help them find the perfect wine and food to suit their mood, taste and budget, and to learn more about the origin of the wines.
While guests can expect to be wowed by chef van Gameren’s usual unique and creative culinary offerings, the food is truly meant to take a back seat to Piquette’s immersive wine-centric experience.
Chef van Gameren will provide simple, yet sophisticated sharing dishes giving the spotlight to ingredients best paired with wine. Guests can expect to find local charcuterie and dishes like amberjack crudo with local cucumbers or fennel with tonnato, habanero and bonito, but the menu will change frequently in congruence with the rotating wine list.
The charming and rustic easy-going space was designed by Toronto-based designer, Ali McQuaid at Futurestudio. Adding to the warm, inviting atmosphere is a temperature-controlled oak cabinet, which will hold the wines available by the bottle.
Piquette takes walk-ins only and is currently open Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.