Almost out of nowhere, Ludger principal Madeleine Rivet is throwing the doors open on a brand new wine bar, Magdalena.
And while the Saint Henri newcomer is physically connected to Ludger (it’s in the neighbouring building, and customers won’t need to go outside to get between the two), it’s definitely not an identical twin.
Rivet tells Eater that unlike Ludger’s cocktail focus, Magdalena is to be a wine bar — and Francis Arkinson, the sommelier behind M.Mme’s 700-plus bottle wine list is in charge.
“We wanted a classic direction and we have funky stuff, a lot of natural wine, biodynamic wine, that’s obvious, we’re passionnate about it. Francis likes when it’s well balanced. It’s not going all over the place, we’re keeping it super well-balanced.”
Sherry is also anticipated to be on offer, but most innovative is Magdalena’s focus on classic Italian liqueurs, in the form of amaro, which Rivet hopes her drinkers will be keen to explore.
“Not a lot of people are carrying amaros. It’s such an exciting world because those are very old liqueurs, so the more details you have within different kinds. Not a lot of people know about amaros and they’re usually super excited when they try a bunch.”
Magdalena will also serve food, but not in the full meal format like Ludger (although the two share a kitchen): expect a tapas menu focused more around vegetables than meat..
As for the ambiance, Rivet explains that Magdalena’s aesthetic is a little escapist, hinting both at France, and the tropics.
“You don’t feel like you’re in St Henri…it’s neat, elegant, not pretentious. Just like a warm spot.”
“I’ve seen it in peoples’ faces when they’re crossing over [from Ludger]. It has its own personality next door, it’s kind of fun and a very good example of who I am. “
The shots available on Magdalena’s Instagram hint at plants and greenery, a simple, clean colour scheme and some hints of art déco — a little along the lines of the geometric but organic designs that have popped up elsewhere recently at places like Kampai Garden.
STATUS — Magdalena is in soft-opening but officially opens this week, and is expected to be open nightly (except Tuesday) until late at 4005 Notre-Dame West.