Neighbourhood: Osborne Village
Address: 470-B River Ave
(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)
Step down from River Avenue into Noir Wine Bar and Eatery, the Village’s newest cosmopolitan hang-out, to discover a modish haunt bustling with young professionals. This subterranean space is divided into two rooms: a black-clad, 25-seat dining room leading into a spotless white lounge anchored by a full bar. The minimalist colour palette, along with streamlined furniture and a shifting spectrum of LED lights, have dramatically transformed the former Fuel Coffeehouse space.
Popular for its nighttime allure, Noir is also a perfect dinner-date spot for new couples getting to know each other. The shadowy dining room allows intimate conversation while eating. Once the nightlife kicks in (usually around 9:30 pm), live music, a lengthy cocktail list and sexy clientele make for an engaging evening.
Hidden beneath the lipstick and martini atmosphere is Chef John Tobey’s outstanding French-Mediterranean menu. It quietly proves Noir’s passion for fine cuisine in addition to fine wine. The innovative line-up of tapas bears little resemblance to those offered in most nightlife settings.
Posh pear marseilles mingles elegant flavours with poached pear halves filled with baby shrimp. Each bite of the velvety fruit releases juices, drowning the meaty seafood in sweet syrup. In the dessert-worthy baked phyllo appetizer, flaky casing envelops a sweet apple and onion compote with creamy brie. Drizzled with caramel, these divine triangular bites get the mouth watering.
A generous serving of spinach salad is decorated with alternating slices of smoked salmon and brie, two heady flavours relieved by the tart cranberry vinaigrette dressing. Four varieties of gourmet pizzas are available; served on a rustic hand-tossed crust, each pie has personality and substance.
Although the menu is focused on lighter bites, the half-dozen entrées are well-executed. The understated beef ribeye is expertly prepared with a cabernet demi-glace that draws on the natural sweetness of the Alberta‑certified Angus. Strudel, with earthy goodness of fresh vegetables baked in a phyllo shell and smothered in thick roasted red pepper sauce, is an inspired option for vegetarians.
Noir Wine Bar and Eatery is open daily 4 pm-2 am.