Beba

21 Aug

While I call Pointe-St-Charles home, I am lucky enough to be close by from Verdun and the booming restaurant scene that is developing along Wellington street. As that neighbourhood has changed and developed, we have seen more and more interesting restaurants establish roots in the area that have some great pedigrees. Most recently, we have the case of Beba, a restaurant on Ethel – just off Wellington – that was started by the Schor brothers, Pablo and Chef Ari, who have some great bonafides including the fact that Chef Ari was Chef de Cuisine at Liverpool House prior to opening this restaurant. With a pedigree like this, I couldn’t wait to walk over and see what they had in store for us so I called my sister who lives in Verdun and she joined my wife and I for a nice evening dinner.

Beba has the look of a real neighbourhood bistro. The interior is very clean with simple modern touches such as the marble countertop bar, the circular mirrors along the wall and leather mid-century style banquettes. There is also a garage door on the side which allows to really open up the space in the summer. They also have a nice little terrasse in the front which faces Ethel street which makes it very calm and relaxing as a spot. The weather was so beautiful that night that we got a chance to sit outside for our meal – perfect conditions to enjoy a hopefully great meal.

Beba advertises itself as serving ‘food and drink inspired by the Spanish and Italian cultures that settled in Argentina’ which is an interesting premise and a big difference from the Liverpool House fare that people know chef Schor for but one that reflect he and his brother’s Argentinian heritage. The three of us decided to share a bunch of different items from the menu. The menu is apparently adjusted frequently so it is subject to change.

First up, we had the beef and olive empanada. A classic Argentine item – a nice flaky crunch to the pastry shell and the interior filing was quite flavourful. More beer in flavour than olive which I appreciated immensely.

Next was the Swiss chard involtini with zucchini, pine nuts and yogourt. An interesting presentation and usage of Swiss chard. Very flavourful dish – I enjoyed the freshness of the veggies and how that paired with the creaminess of the yogourt.

Our final starter was the green salad served with egg, summer vegetables and grana padano. A very simple dish in presentation but a perfect usage of the seasonable veggies available,. This was a beautifully fresh salad with a nice balance of acidity, sweetness and some richness. I rarely order a green salad at a restaurant but this one was well worth it.

We moved to the ‘bigger’ dishes of the night and started the gnudi with tomato butter and pecorino. This was the biggest hit of the night. The gnudi were light and fluffy in texture with a lovely creamy rich flavour. The tomato butter was insane – so smooth and rich of flavour. The pecorino provided some bite to the dish. We lapped this up and I would go back to Beba just for this dish.

Next was the eggplant served with a lamb ragu and peas. I really enjoyed this dish – the star is the hearty lamb ragu which had tons of that gamey richness that I love about lamb. The eggplant was good but somewhat hidden by the strong notes of the ragu. The peas provided some crispness and the little sauce a little acidity and brightness to the plate. A solid dish all around.

Our final dish was the rabbit ‘pan con tomate’ served with an aioli and a mussel escabeche. I loved the different usage of the classic spanish ‘pan con tomate’ dish to serve the rabbit. The garlicky aioli with the tomatoes, the mussels and the rabbit paired very nicely together. The rabbit itself was excellent – the one complaint is more of the presentation one. By having the rabbit pieces still on the bones, it made it more of the hassle to enjoy the rabbit with the tomato bread itself which meant that the dish was eaten more in two parts then all together. The flavours were excellent outside of that minor complaint.

All in all, Beba was an excellent experience from beginning to end and is a welcomed neighbourhood spot close to home. The dishes were delicious. The service was sharp and friendly; and the atmosphere was a perfect combination of hip energy with a relaxed neighbourhood haunt vibe. Chef Schor and his brother have a really interesting thing going very quickly. I look forward to more walks over for some good meals and hope you shall all join me.

Cheers!

Beba
3900 Éthel
514 750 7087

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