Welcome Swine & Vine
From the first time I stepped into this little restaurant on Lancaster I was hooked with it’s quaint charm and humble decor. Public Kitchen and Bar, which used to call this location home, was one of those “off the beaten track” restaurants that only the locals seemed to know about but was always packed. It continued to bring us back with it’s relaxed atmosphere, delicious tapas menu and artistic cocktails. So when they announced they were moving to a larger, more central location it was bittersweet. I was so excited for their next step and couldn’t complain that it was now in a larger space within walking distance but I knew I would miss that sweet, little location I knew so well.
And then Swine & Vine announced their opening. Not only was a wine AND charcuterie bar (does a better combination even exist?) but I knew that it was perfectly suited for that cute, understated space. So two weeks after their official grand opening and about five minutes after seeing their Saturday Sangria post, I headed straight there. My first impression is that it had all of the character and charm of the old Public location with instagram-worthy updated finishes and the most welcoming staff. I immediately ordered a sangria (also instagram-worthy) and obnoxiously walked around the space taking photos which, thankfully, no one seemed to mind.
As I sat in the newly upholstered and painted chairs I began to notice the subtle differences surrounding me. The white brick, stunning shelving and live edge bar beckoned me towards it to place my drink order. The beautiful banquette at the front lightened up the entryway of the space. By repurposing existing pieces into new- the lights, furniture, chalkboards and paint- they were able to transform it into something of their own without losing the old feel that everyone loved. After chatting a bit with Jill, one of the owners, I realized that this transformation was purely one of passion and adopted the same “giving back” mentality that makes Kitchener so special. Both long-time residents of Kitchener and lovers of the old Public, Jill and her husband Mica, wanted to open something that was an embodiment of what they loved themselves. The menu is exactly that. Between the mix of charcuterie boards and small plates, the incredible wine list and unique cocktails, this is the spot to go with a bunch of friends for a culinary exploration.
I will admit, in the quest for sangria I made this mission on my own so didn’t have partners in crime to split much food with. However, I have now made it my mission to try as much as I can on this menu for you. You’re welcome.
My first recommendations:
The wedge salad with homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing is a simply perfect accompaniment to any sandwich
While I don’t typically drink Ontario Riesling, the Flat Rock Cellars Riesling was exactly what I needed that balmy afternoon
Please do yourself a favour and get the Grand Marnier Creme Brulee. One of the only desserts I will ever order is a creme brulee and now that I’ve had this one I will always save room for it.
Go with friends and open up your mind and palate to local culinary exploration
Why they deserve props:
They source all of their boards from a local woodsmith outside of Baden. PS. you can also buy them on location!
Fabric napkins and towels in the bathroom- less waste.
Two young, fun entrepreneurs taking a risk and making shit happen.