Put a commercial cook (Gord Kahle) and a stone mason (Craig Houston) together and you get a stylish neighbourhood restaurant, Cook & Mason, which has a menu based on sustainable and ethically grown and raised produce, exclusively from local farmers.
Kahle has a mighty reputation as a chef. We loved his food at Il Lido, Cantina 663 and Crowded House. In his first venture in his own right, he’s cooking what he wants to, and it’s the best he’s ever done.
The partners have given the former Barque restaurant a significant make-over. It shines with brass and copper finishes, repolished floor boards, lurid green hand-made tiles on the bar front and new, minimalist furniture in the dining room.
Starters like asparagus, cauliflower, botarga, pecorino; grilled Blackwood Valley beef tongue with confit shallots and merlot vinegar; and lamb tartare with pickled mussels, cucumber and burnt scallion are all as good as they read. There’s an edge to Kahle’s food, but it is comforting and well cooked too.
Bigger dishes to share include Jindong Pork with parsnip cream and burnt parsnip and braised beef shin with grilled spinach.
Cocktails are a thing here with some fine mixology going on behind the bar.