Neighbourhood: St. Vital
Address: 956 St. Mary’s Rd
Phone: (204) 254-4681
(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)
In 2010, husband and wife team Faïz de Beer and Chef Louise Briskie-de Beer closed their restaurant (then called Lulu’s), packed their bags and did some travelling — and eating. Lots of eating.
Inspired and refocused, they returned to Winnipeg, reopened under the name Café Savour and began serving an eclectic, globe-spanning menu, adapting dishes they picked up on their adventures using local ingredients.
Decked out in jungle greens, the cozy, 35-seat eatery is a charming manifestation of the vacay-influenced menu. The tables, hand-painted by Louise, boast bold, leafy florals. An array of tropical plants, kitschy mismatched salt and pepper shakers and strings of romantic fairy lights add whimsy.
Diners can choose between a three- and five-course prix fixe dinner for $35 or $45 respectively, with plenty of options for each course. Dinner begins with a tantalizing amuse bouche, which is a bit of a misnomer considering it’s a suitable appetizer. Moist slivers of bread, including a homey pumpkin oatmeal, are dipped into a mixture of olive oil and house-made Dukkah, a heady Egyptian condiment with sweet, warm notes of hazelnut.
Soups of the day are standouts. A substantial chickpea curry soup brought a pleasant heat and lots of flavour, while the creamy butternut squash, with its whisper of nutmeg, is the ultimate in comfort food.
Café Savour’s global-goes-local ethos shines in the entrées, such as the Mexico-via-Manitoba elk steak enchiladas. Golden, house-made corn tortillas envelope perfectly cooked and seasoned elk, which is lean yet moist. A hearty helping of refried beans makes this a satisfying meal, with a little punch of fresh, crisp pico de gallo cleansing the palate.
Jambalaya, a traditional Louisiana staple, is also given a distinct prairie twist; plump pickerel cheeks replace the shrimp while thick-cut double-smoked kielbassa stands in for the andouille sausage.
Dessert offers more winning flavour combinations. Chocolate and brandied apricot pâté, in particular, is a dense, emphatic finish.
Café Savour is open Thu-Sat 5 pm, final seating 8 pm.