An evening at Soif

A few weeks ago our ladies’ night out brought us across the river to Gatineau’s Hull section and Soif, Bar à vin. Soif is owned by a top female sommelier in the world, Véronique Rivest.Véronique Rivest is one of the most respected sommeliers in Canada and abroad. Placing second overall World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Japan in 2013. Before opening up Soif in the fall of 2014, Rivest spent many years at Restaurant Les Fougères, in Chelsea. Soif also recently claimed the number 10 spot (the only Ottawa-Gatineau restaurant) to make Enroute’s top 10 list of new restaurants in 2015. Soif is located on Montcalm Street in the old sector called Hull, in a red brick building where you will find the walls and ceilings lined with cork and maps of different wine regions. The restaurant is divided into 4 different spaces: a bar area when you first walk in, a smaller dining room with a few tables, and another area with a mix of booths and an area with stools (the stools are unique and have cork shaped seats to them) and long higher tables (probably used for their workshops). On this evening, we were seated in the smaller dining room area. Near us was a beautiful wine cellar enclosed by clear glass. As you can image, there is a large selection of wine to choose from at a variety of different prices at Soif. The servers are very knowledge and helpful about the wines and food pairings. Perhaps the best way to experience it was their 2 oz flights. If that’s not your thing, they do offer 2 oz pours for many of the wines. So, in one visit, it is possible to experience many varieties. 

Photo credit: Astra Groskaufmanis

The menu is small, all fitting on one sheet on a small sized clipboard. The menu by Chef Jamie Stunt (formerly of Oz Café) was divided into different sections: tartines, boards, small plates, and desserts. As a group, we decided to each order 1 or 2 dishes and then share it with the table. This worked out really well so that everyone was able to try a bit of everything. Here’s a look at what we had: 

Charcuterie | $28

Cheese Board | $28

Bison tartare, croutons | $15

Grilled broccoli, Beemster and cheddar sauce | $10

Fried perch, mayo, parsley, bacon and citrus salad | $11

Boudin tart, caramelized onions, cranberry, celeriac purée | $15

Grilled hanger steak, star anise beef jus, fries | $17

Among our favourites was the homemade bread that came with delicious tapenade and compound butter. It was so good that I didn’t actually get a photo of it because we ate it up so quickly. A definite must-order item on this menu! Other favourites included the Boudin tart and the grilled broccoli with Beemster and cheddar sauce. We noticed that they also offered workshops for $60 per person that included 6 wines and accompanying canapés. Perhaps an idea for another fun ladies’ night in the future!

About the Restaurant

Name: Soif | Bar à vin
Address: 88 Montcalm Street, Gatineau
Telephone: 819-600-7643
Reservations: Yes (Call)
Parking: Street parking, and there is a lot across the street (free).