The Buzz: July/August 2108

Written by The Editors


It is that time of year again and we’re moving ahead as briskly as we can with an updated London’s Local Flavour Culinary Guide. Last year, we took over publication and distribution from Tourism London and we’re happy to report that the 30,000 copies we printed was the right amount. They were all picked up at the important venues, like through the tourism offices in London and across Southwestern Ontario. Throughout the year, large quantities were picked up at London International Airport and at the best farmers’ markets, and thousands were picked up at Remark Fresh Markets and at select restaurants, shops and cultural venues like Museum London and The Grand Theatre. This year, for Volume 7 of the guide, we are excited to allow select out-of-town neighbours to participate in Local Flavour. These additions will both broaden the appeal of the guide and accentuate the appeal of London as a hub in the region’s exciting culinary offerings.

Shave and a haircut… and a shot of Scotch? Whistling Dick’s Barber Shop, at 760 Dundas Street East, promises patrons a haven that is also an escape to the past. Owners Greg Kahnert and John Parlow, along with barbers Jose Interiano and Scott Wilkins, offer old school barbershop services. Once the liquor license application is approved patrons will be also be able to enjoy a beverage. Truly, “more than a barbershop.”

Life of Leisure Surf + Social Club is “a cultural movement toward the intersection of purpose and pleasure.” The premises at 792 Dundas Street East (across from Aeolian Hall) house a clothing store, an art gallery, a studio, and an event space.

The Pub on Richmond is now open at 731 Richmond Street (just south of Oxford), offering traditional English pub fare, daily specials, DJ and acoustic music nights. There is also a rooftop patio. Open daily for lunch, dinner and late night.

Looking for more healthy eats in Old East? Introducing Margo and Tuffy, brought to you by Angela Rivard, founder of Revkor, and located in the same building on Adelaide at Princess beside the Boombox Bakeshop. You can find the Revkor team serving up everything from healthy fresh salads and mouth-watering sweets to thirst quenching drinks and Booch Organic Kombucha slushies.

Known in London as creators of the “crispy chicken sandwich of the week”, brothers Dimitris and Ilias Korakianitis (of Kosmos Eatery on Richmond Row) are set to launch their latest venture, Dimi’s Greek House, located next to the Barakat expansion. Although the opening has been delayed, Chef Jason Astels tell us it is expected soon. The new resto will be licensed for 50, with a 28-seat patio.

David’s Bistro will be closed July 1–15 for the annual summer holiday. The classic French bistro is a venerated downtown London culinary anchor. Read the feature article in this issue of Eatdrink. 

Forest City Cookbook publisher and photographer Alieska Robles appreciates everyone’s patience during the completion of the cookbook. The much anticipated cookbook is expected to be available at the end of July, early August.. Check the website for details.

Growing Chefs! Ontario is celebrating its one year anniversary at the Headquarters and Food Education Centre in the former Auberge du Petit Prince restaurant. It is a venue where Londoners young and old can get excited about growing, cooking, sharing, and celebrating delicious healthy food together.

Idlewyld Inn & Spa features a locally-inspired menu of contemporary and traditional favourites and decadent desserts, complemented by a selection of award-winning wines, and draughts and ales on tap. Enjoy al fresco dining on the gracious front porch, or escape to Idlewyld’s hidden garden courtyard. Back by popular demand, Chef Trevor Stephens is master of the grill. Summer BBQ nights are held Wednesdays and Thursdays. 36 Grand Ave, 519-432-5554,

The Church Key Bistro-Pub follows in the British-inspired tradition of contemporary food executed with panache and attention to detail. Chef Michael Anglestad’s from-scratch kitchen continues to offer an exceptional dining experience. Owners Peter and Vanessa Willis recently celebrated the ninth anniversary of this downtown landmark that features one of London’s top patio dining experiences. 476 Richmond Street,

Betty Heydon’s Blackfriars Bistro & Catering is open on Mondays for lunch and dinner. This locally-acclaimed bistro with a funky vibe continues to wow all age groups and recently celebrated its 22nd birthday. Chefs Alicia Hartley and Jacqui Shantz prepare innovative, seasonal blackboard specials with cutting-edge menus that respect tradition. Closed Sundays. 46 Blackfriars St., 519-667-4930,

Reverie is a Canadian-focused five-course tasting menu restaurant with optional wine pairings, operated by Chef Brian Sua-an and Jerrah Revilles. Chef uses modern and molecular techniques and applies them to his cuisine to make each dish uniquely his own. Sua-an plans menu items months in advance and gravitates to pristine ingredients, going to great lengths to source the best. The glassed frontage provides plenty of natural light. Reservations are required. 1–208 Piccadilly Street, 519-914-6595,

Craft Farmacy is the ultimate farm-to-table restaurant. This is London’s first Feast ON-certified “Taste of Ontario” restaurant. The criteria-based certification program is designed to protect the authenticity of foodservice operators committed to the procurement of local food. With 112 seats, Craft Farmacy features sharing plates, fabulous house cocktails, craft beer, a superior wine list and plenty of pizzaz. There is a private event space with room for 40 on the second floor. Chef Andrew Wolwowicz recently launched new lunch, dinner and brunch menus. 11:30am to midnight, closed Mondays, 449 Wharncliffe Road South, 519-914-2699

Plant Matter Bistro, located across from Central Library, is a stylish fine dining version of the popular Wortley Village Plant Matter Kitchen. Owner Glen Whitehead says that the bistro takes its inspiration from New York, while Plant Matter Kitchen is inspired by San Francisco. True to clean eating and environmental sustainability, the chefs craft global dishes with local ingredients that are 100% vegan and organic. They work with a number of local independent farmers to secure a farm-to-table, close to fresh, and as close to a natural food experience as possible. Open for lunch and dinner. 244 Dundas Street, 519-432-3663,

We know why the Wolfe brothers’ Wolfe of Wortley made the longlist for Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2017. There are grilled and cold smoked oysters on offer. Try the charcuterie underpinned by in-house techniques. Cocktail-wise, owners Jason and Gregg Wolfe like to riff on the classics, starting with something familiar, tried and tested and then taking it to another level, with a twist. There are interesting seasonal features, quality spirits, and flights of bourbon. 147 Wortley Rd., 519-854-6004,

Los Lobos is celebrating its one-year anniversary in August. This “hot” take on Modern Mexican cuisine is a feast for all senses. Ten taco offerings are generously topped with various combinations of salsa, aioli, pickled vegetables and hot sauces. Be sure to try the flourless chocolate cake with lots of chili heat. The inspiring Los Lobos bar serves up mezcal, bourbon and margarita-focused signature cocktails. Expect innovation. There is a no-reservation policy but plenty of room outside on the well-appointed and spacious patio. 580 Talbot Street, 519-601-8226,

The patio restaurant at Boler Mountain opened for lunch and dinner table service on Canada Day weekend. Chef Kim Sutherland’s menu includes salads, burgers, sandwiches, hot meals and snacks, with vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options. Enjoy great views of forests and hills alongside the Treetop Adventure, mountain biking and beach volleyball activities. Open Sunday–Friday (and some Saturdays when not booked for weddings).

Hunter & a sultry cocktail bar/lounge with a speakeasy vibe featuring interesting small plates of chef-crafted fare, from bone marrow to the signature “tongue ‘n’ cheek”, to halloumi tikka masala. There are charcuterie and a good selection of fresh oysters. Dave Fauteux and his crew’s well-crafted cocktails make this a place to go for upscale libations. Open 3:30pm until late, seven days a week, at 349 Talbot Street.

Villa Cornelia ranks among London’s finest examples of Queen Anne architecture. Meticulously restored to its old-world charm in 1988, it is a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the continental cuisine. Chef Ryan Hancock’s cuisine includes both game and fish features nightly. Try the chicken saltimbocca with prosciutto and stuffed with mozzarella and fresh sage. There is an exceptional elk burger and Caesar salad on the lunch menu. The cozy and smartly appointed patio with wrought iron tables and chairs seats 70. 142 Kent Street, 519-679-3444

Garlic’s of London, a perennial favourite for over 20 years and located in the heart of Richmond Row, is a proponent of farm-to-table cuisine. The culinary team offers traditionally prepared and internationally inspired cuisine made entirely from scratch with inspiration from local Ontario ingredients. Try the signature garlic bisque and Clear Creek organic duck two ways with almond crusted parsnip and duck confit croquette, chèvre cream, greens and rhubarb chutney 479 Richmond Street, 519-432-4092,

Curley Brewing Company recently relocated to 1634 Hyde Park Road. The business, co-owned by Nigel Curley and Kelsey Watkinson, features a vegan café serving light lunches, kombucha, coffee and baked goods, and offers four small-batch beers on tap that are also available to take home in 500 ml bottles. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, 1634 Hyde Park Road, 519-872-6667,

Chef/owner Dominic Raso brought a taste of New Orleans-style to London with Bourbon Street Cajun and Creole Kitchen. The restaurant serves some Louisiana-inspired classics such as shrimp creole, po’ boy sandwiches, pecan pie and jambalaya. Bourbon Street features an open kitchen and front and rear patios. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a jazz brunch. 587 Oxford St. East (near Adelaide).

On Sunday August 19, Ron Benner roasts corn for all at his garden installation As the Crow Flies. Part sculpture, part installation and part performance, the 12th Annual Corn Roast will feature Benner’s roving corn-roasting wagon Maiz Barbacoa, 1–4pm at Wolf Sculpture Garden at Museum London. Frank Ridsdale and indie duo Willow Switch will be doing acoustic sets.

Gino Parco of Porcino, the Italian hotspot on Southdale, is launching Veta Wine and Pasta Bar mid-July. Located in the former Blu Duby North location at 745 Fanshawe Park Road West, Gino is celebrating the opening by offering 20% off on food from July 18–August 2. Reservations are required. 519-601-7760

Starting on Saturday, October 6, The Market at Western Fair will open on both Saturday (8am–3pm) and Sunday (11am–3pm) each week. This decision was made after extensive research. Courtney Bertens is now Assistant Market Manager. She will support Dan Ross, Market Manager, with the goal of growing attendance and improving the customer experience. Up to $400,000 will be invested in the Confederation Building location this year, including washroom upgrades and new cooler storage. Additional improvements will be made in 2019 and 2020. westernfairdistrict/market


Stratford Tourism Alliance (STA) launches Frank’s Rocky Horror Show Guide to Stratford in conjunction with the Stratford Festival. Fun and unexpected experiences and products align with Dr. Frank N. Furter’s character in Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (now playing at the Avon Theatre). Frank’s Guide (not for the easily offended) invites you to explore Stratford through Dr. Frank N. Furter’s eyes as you get the look, get the drink and then you play. Naturally, he’ll lead you to the best “rocky cocktails” and where to find the sexiest bustiers, fishnets and tattoos, but Stratford’s entrepreneurs have created innovative products and experiences reflecting community synergy with the show in an unexpected style. Use the guide as preparation for seeing The Rocky Horror Show, or just for fun to explore another side of Stratford. franksstratford

The annual Stratford Chefs School Long Table Dinner, affectionately called the friend-raising event, is the signature fundraising culinary event of the year. Sunday, September 9.

Together, a father and daughter team opened JENN & Larry’s Brittle ‘n Shakes & Ice Cream. Offering retro-inspired ice cream and brittle, it is located on York Street along the Avon River. Look for the lineups outside the shop and for the happy customers spilling out of the door.

If you love craft brews stop by Mercer Beer Hall, which offers over 130 craft beers from around the world — for a truly world-wide craft brew experience. Boar’s Head Pub at the Queen’s Inn and Bentley’s Restaurant and Bar also offer a wide selection of craft brews to quench any thirst.

Over the past three decades Keystone Alley, named after the former Keystone Bakery, has evolved from a small coffee shop into a popular and casual fine dining restaurant. Chef Tina Logassi’s menus are driven by local sourcing, with daily blackboard features. Over the years many improvements have been made, including the addition of the comfortable “Alley” patio and “Key’d Inn”, a spacious two-bedroom-suite rental situated above the restaurant. 34 Brunswick Street, 519-271-5645,

The Red Rabbit and Okazu 85 Downie feature talented young women in leadership roles. They are excited to announce the promotion of Courtney Noble to the position of sous chef at The Red Rabbit and the addition of Angela Murphy as chef de cuisine at Okazu 85. Both of these incredibly talented women are graduates of the Stratford Chefs School and are London, Ontario natives.

Madelyn’s Diner is “A Purely Local Diner with ‘lots’ of local colour and the home of the award-winning bacon butter tart”. The seating capacity from October to May is 90 but swells to 120 during the warmer months when the patio is open. It offers an all-day breakfast. Visitors love the locally-sourced peameal bacon and eggs, a “Canadian” treat, along with many other comfort food-inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings. Open 7 days a week, closing times vary. 377 Huron Street, Stratford, 519-273-5296,

Bar Burrito is Mexican-inspired food you can count on. All the ingredients are fully traceable from the producer to your plate. Enjoy burritos, quesadillas, tacos and more. 1060 Ontario St, 519-305-7555,

Plan to attend the 12th Annual Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival on September 8 and 9 at the Community Hall in The Stratford Rotary Complex. Raising funds for local community projects and supporting local garlic growers, The Kiwanis Club of Stratford once again will deliver a fun family weekend, complete with Ontario Garlic & Artisan Market, cooking demonstrations by professional chefs, educational forums, live entertainment, artisanal cheeses and exclusive wine/spirits/beer pairings and tastings.

In honour of the 35th anniversary of Stratford Chefs School, work is currently underway on Farm to Table, a cookbook that pairs 25 SCS alumni chefs with their favourite food producers and farmers for a culinary adventure through Perth and Huron Counties. This stunning book will feature recipes as well as interviews conducted by CBC food columnist and Eatdrink contributor Andrew Coppolino and striking imagery provided by photographer and SCS alumna Terry Manzo. The book will be launched at the School’s Season Opener in late October.

Experience Stratford Chefs School first-hand with a guided personal tour this summer! Learn what it’s like to train as a culinary student while immersed in Stratford’s vibrant food culture. A personal visit can be as simple as a Q&A with Admissions, or as involved as becoming a student in the School world class kitchens for a day.

Stratford Summer Music will turn Revival House from dining hall into a nightclub rivaling anything New York has to offer. Four exceptional evenings bring back celebrated Summer Music Cabarets originally presented in the space, then The Church Restaurant. Friday, July 20: masterful entertainer and artist Bruce Dow. Friday, July 27: Toronto’s John MacLeod and his Rex Hotel Orchestra will feature vocalist Carol McCartney. Friday, August 10: Rough Trade flashbacks and High School Confidentials with Carole Pope. Friday, August 17: Heather Bambrick’s Jazz Ceilidh with special guests Cadence Vocal Group, creating a genuinely jazzy Newfoundland party. Dinner & Show packages (one show and a 3-course dinner!) are available.

Revival House will host their third bi-annual Craft Beer Festival on Sunday, August 12 from from 1–5pm. “The Summer Sessions” will include an afternoon of food and beer sampling and a meet & greet with the brewmasters & beer reps from such local favourites as Black Swan (Stratford), Cowbell (Blyth) and Railway City (St Thomas). A $40 advance ticket includes 6 beer sample tickets, beer-paired appetizers and entertainment! Additional sample tickets can be purchased. 19+.

Around the Region

Savour an Elgin taste experience at one of the county’s friendly diners, restaurants or tea rooms. Featuring local products, restaurants offer the best in Elgin ingredients from homemade baking to classic chicken pot pie to fresh perch and pickerel in season. There is sure to be something to please everyone.

A trip to Port wouldn’t be the same without a stop at Shaw’s Ice Cream. It’s been serving up “delicious old fashioned ice cream made the way it should be” since 1933. Shaw’s offers a wide selection of hard ice cream, fruit sorbets, frozen yogurt, thick milkshakes, decadent sundaes and celebratory ice cream cakes. 6598 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas, 519-631-2510,

The New Sarum Diner, owned and operated by the White family for over 40 years, offers delectable country-style home cooking. Originally established in 1943, it is Elgin County’s oldest diner. Try the meatloaf or the famous family-style chicken. 46230 New Sarum Line, Sparta, 519-773-3103,

The Windjammer Inn is located just off the main beach in Port Stanley. Chef/owner Kim Saunders sources ingredients from the large farming network in Elgin County. Scratch breads, artisanal cheeses, local meats and Saunders’ baking round out the seasonal menus. Try Lake Erie fresh line-caught perch and pickerel when in season, or the Buttermilk Brined Roasted Breast of Duck with hunter-style potato, yam hash, smoked onion and plum conserve. The restaurant, into its twelfth season, has seating on the charming wraparound porch. 324 Smith Street, Port Stanley, 519-782-4173,

Nestled in the heart of Port Stanley, the Kettle Creek Inn was opened by Jean and Gary Vedova in 1983. The Vedovas, along with sons Troy and Dean, are hands-on operators. Chef Rob Lampman keeps the Inn’s kitchen fresh and relevant. Menus showcase a commitment to the area with farmed, fished or foraged local ingredients such as seasonal perch and pickerel. Dining options include a parlour with a cozy fireplace, an intimate English-inspired pub, two dining rooms, a gazebo and a stunning garden terrace. Jean tells us, “Guests can prop up their feet on their porch or balcony, sip a libation and amble down for dinner under the gazebo.” The Inn has 10 guest rooms and five luxury suites. 216 Joseph Street, Port Stanley, 519-782-3388,

Solo on Main is a family-run business with Chef Lauren Van Dixhoorn at the helm. It has a fantastic patio and inviting front porch offering al fresco seating and great Port views. Inside, there is a charming quartz-topped walnut bar; the casual dining room with original hardwood floors is decorated in warm gray tones. The cooking is refined, modern and thoughtful. There is Lake Erie catch, ocean catch, baby back ribs with Lo’s Mom’s BBQ sauce. Try the signature Lo’s Smoked Trout Frites. 187 Main Street, Port Stanley, 226-658-0999,

Steed and Co Lavender, at 47589 Sparta Line (3 km east of east of the historic village of Sparta), will host their annual Lavender Fairy Festival on Saturday, August 11, from noon to 4pm. Indulge in an afternoon filled with fairy fun and lore based upon the Lavender Fairy’s important job. Guest entertainment. Don’t forget your wings! Pirates are also always welcome. Children $5, parents and grandparents are free.

Nothing expresses the bounty and beauty of summertime more than Hessenland Inn & Vineyard’s popular Mongolian Grill garden-side dining. Back for an 11th season, every Thursday evening through July and August offers a delicious opportunty for guests to design their own signature dish from incredible fresh ingredients. Curate your plate and let Chef Frank Ihrig and his crew grill and season your dish to perfection at the outdoor grilling station. “Wein and Dine” Wednesdays (July 18th & August 15th) feature long table dinners, with live music and special menus paired with the finest of local wines, in the vineyard. Reservations are required.

The butter tart has become a classic Canadian staple on menus across the country. From classic to pecan, caramel, and even cola-flavoured, the butter tart stands the test of time. McCully’s Hill Farm and Leaping Deer Adventure Farm both make classic and maple-infused butter tarts. Call ahead; these tarts are a hot ticket.

Dining at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa is always an occasion, whether you are celebrating with family and friends, catching up over Sunday Brunch, or looking for a relaxing spot to enjoy a glass of wine and some top-notch cuisine. Savour locally-inspired menus prepared by executive chef Michael Davies and served in one of nine private dining rooms or on the patio. 415 Harris St., Ingersoll, 519-485-5321,

Upper Thames Brewing Company is expanding, with a second venue at the former Sally Creek Bistro at the Sally Creek Golf Club (190 Fairway Road). The space will be renovated over the next few months for a late summer or early autumn opening. The new location will include a brewhouse, full service restaurant, and patio. The bar will feature 24 taps, with 12 pouring Upper Thames beers and 12 guest taps featuring other craft breweries. 225 Bysham Park Dr #9, Woodstock, 519-290-0053,

Woodstock Summer Streetfest is the place to be August 10 to 11 when Dundas Street becomes pedestrian-friendly for this annual shindig featuring over 175 vendors. Enjoy live music and great food at restaurant patios that take over the street.

The Village Teapot in Ilderton is owned and operated by Gaynor Deeks and Jana Yassine. Gaynor is originally from the UK, Jana from Chatham. They are both tea drinkers, sandwich makers and know a good scone when they see one. One of the oldest properties in the town, the premises retain many period features. 13257 Ilderton Road, Ilderton, 519-298-8327,

Lavender Hives is a small lavender farm and apiary just south of Pinery Park and Grand Bend. Fresh and dried lavender and raw honey are available in season, and the lavender will be blooming right through July. Owner-operators Cathy and Garry Parsons have been developing the property since 2015 and added asparagus this year. Visitors can enjoy a walking meditation through an on-site living lavender labyrinth, and the wooded setting is an ideal background for wedding, family, or nature photography. Goosemarsh Line, Grand Bend, 226-926-2820,

Stonetown Artisan Cheese is a purveyor of Swiss mountain-style cheeses, hand-crafted by master cheesemaker Ramon Eberle. Using unpasteurized milk from farmers Hans and Jolanda Weber’s herd of Holsteins, Eberle uses raw milk so that the cheese ripens as naturally as possible while the flavours improve with maturation. Cheeses and other local products are available to buy on-site at the farm store. Guided group tours are $5 per person (minimum 15 people). See the complete process of cheesemaking with the cheesemaker. The tour lasts about 60–90 minutes. 5021 Perth County Line 8 (Kirkton Road), St. Marys, 519-229-6856,

St. Marys Farmers Market — Downtown St. Marys gets fresh as local food producers and unique artisan vendors convert the Jones Street Parking Lot into the place for homegrown goodness and homemade specialties. Open Saturdays until the end of October, 8am–12 noon.

Wine Country Ontario — Wineries across the region host events throughout the summer — tours, tastings, musical and culinary. Visit for a full listing.

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The Editors