Verdun is set to get a promising new culinary hot spot with touches of Argentine and Mediterranean cuisines this summer.
Beba will open in the Ethel Street space that was previously Spanish bistro Piquillo, courtesy of two brothers with some solid restaurant experience — Ari Schor, a chef for over six years at Liverpool House, and Pablo Schor, with experience at Liverpool House, wine haunt Loic, and Vancouver cocktail go-to La Mezcaleria. But, don’t expect them to bring Liverpool House to Verdun.
“We’re going for a lighter rather than heavier — I spent a lot of my life cooking French food, heavy on the butter, heavy on the reduced sauces, and we want to move away from that,” says Ari.
The brothers hail from Argentina and moved to Canada at ages 11 and 13 — so Argentine influences will appear, although Beba won’t focus strictly on that country (so, don’t expect parrilla grill and hefty steaks”).
“We’re not branding it as an Argentine restaurant...the big thing is the Spanish and Italian waves of immigration [to Argentina], so you’ll see a reflection of that, a lot of seafood, fresh pasta, it’s cuisine from our life experiences,” the brothers tell Eater.
But they’re also using their instincts and taste to craft the restaurant’s offerings.
“We’re making a menu of things we like to eat and what we like to drink and it’s very personal — if we enjoy it we feel like people are going to enjoy it,” says Ari.
There’s also an element of family heritage at Beba, too — the restaurant is named for the brothers’ grandmother, so her influences will shine through.
“We spent a lot of time around her dinner table and food was always a very central part in our lives,” adds Pablo.
Pablo and Ari aren’t committing to a hard and fast fixed menu, though — while they suggest that empanadas and whole roasted fish will likely make appearances, much of the short menu (it’ll feature around a dozen items) will be determined by the seasons.
“The beauty about cooking in Quebec is that sometimes you get a call from a guy who just picked 40 pounds of mushrooms, and guess what? It’s four o’clock and they’re going on the menu tonight,” says Ari.
A similar level of diligence will go into the beverage program — “clean”, organic wines will feature prominently, and Pablo will take charge of the cocktail program, which will alternate between classics and new creations, highlighting pisco, tequila, and mezcal. It’ll be rounded out with lighter beers — think fruity or sour options, and likely a Mexican lager.
The space itself will get a solid makeover from its past life as Piquillo — with the help of designers Laura Sehn and Eddie Ruiz, it’ll feature a quartz bar (with more bar seating than before), banquette seating, schoolhouse lighting, and an open kitchen. With just 30 seats (and room for 12 more on a terrasse out front), Pablo says it’ll be intimate, yet still lively and fun.
You won’t have to wait long to get a taste — the brothers are hoping to open in late June or early July.
- Beba [Official]