Petite-Patrie has a promising new spot for libations and small plates, with Vinvinvin now open on Beaubien East to the west of Papineau.
As the name rather clearly implies, wine is a key focus: specifically, Vinvinvin is focusing on a group of terroirs that don’t often get prominent placement on Montreal wine lists. While it has been described as a Nordic wine bar, it’s central and northern European wines that make up much of the list, particularly from Germany and Austria; a number of Quebec wines also feature. (Importer Ward & Associates is behind the list.)
Interestingly, the wine list doesn’t break up wines by colour or varietal — rather, it’s divided by palate, with categories including obvious profiles like mineral and dry, and some less traditional traits, such as “punk” and “émotion” (customers will, of course, know if they’re ordering white, red, orange or otherwise).
While Vinvinvin is first and foremost a wine bar, its well-rounded owners mean it looks to have many strengths. On the wine side is sommelier Nikolas Da Fonseca (ex-Petit Mousso) — then there’s chef Marina De Figueiredo (ex-Candide), and Antonin Frenette-Laporte (from brewery Isle de Garde). Beyond wine, ultra-affordable craft brews from Isle de Garde and nearby brewery Harricana are offered.
Then for food is a range of smaller plates geared towards sharing — fried oyster mushrooms with sour cream, roasted turbot with Nordic shrimp, grilled cucumber, and yogurt, and a fancied-up baloney sandwich are among the options, which hover mostly around $12 to $14.
The space has had a serious makeover from its past life under different owners as “bacon bar” Brutus. Forget your serious-and-sombre wine bar stereotype: Vinvinvin features a bright design of wooden floors, patterned tiles, and various coloured swatches for the furniture — it’s eclectic, yet cohesive and fresh. (Take a peek at some images over at Tastet.)
STATUS — Vinvinvin is open at 1290 Beaubien E from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily (3 a.m. Friday and Saturday)