Monday, June 17, 2024

Beloved Victoria brunch spot now open for dinner service under new ownership (PHOTOS)


Anyone who loves a good brunch in a cozy space knows about Nourish Kitchen & Cafe.

Nourish has successfully remained a mainstay of Victoria’s culinary scene for nearly 10 years and that isn’t likely to change now that a renowned new chef is at the helm along with his compatriots who recently bought out Nourish’s previous owner, Hayley Rosenberg. 

The new ‘grand poobah’ is Part Owner and Executive Chef Max Durand. He has worked across the country in French bistros and used to run the kitchen at a few prestigious Victoria restaurants such as OLO and Agrius. 

He and his business partners recently opened up Eva Schnitzelhaus in the old OLO spot and when the opportunity arose to swoop in and take over Nourish as well, they couldn’t say no. 

“Hayley [Rosenberg] wanted to sell, and February 1st we took over with the intention to open for dinner as soon as we could,” Chef Durand told Victoria Buzz. 

“We liked the brand, we liked what they were doing, the food was great, we loved the vegetable-forward aspect of it and we feel like it’s a bit of an underserved area in the dining of Victoria a bit too.”

“We just wanted to take that opportunity and kind of be able to be creative and do what we wanted with Nourish at dinner while maintaining the operations very similar during the day, while trying to be more creative and fun at dinnertime,” Durand added. 

The chef lamented that he and his partners feel blessed to have acquired Nourish and are happy to keep the bones of the restaurant the same in perpetuity to reflect the respect they have for all that Rosenberg did with the restaurant. 

Now, they are  focussing on pouring themselves into keeping the brand alive and having fun creating new dining experiences for all those who have fallen in love with Nourish’s food and vibe.

When conceptualizing what a dinner menu would look and taste like, Chef Durand wanted to focus on good ingredients, simply delicious dishes and ensuring his staff were happy and well taken care of. 

“What we’re trying to do here at Nourish is really be as efficient as possible,” Drand explained. “We work hard and get people good paying jobs — by having less people, we can pay them more.”

“We try to design the workplace so that everyone can succeed.”

“I like it more so than, like, ‘oh here’s what I can do, here’s what I can put on a plate,  some dots and swipes and 20 different colours,’ and now I’m more about having a workplace that works, how do we keep employees happy and the rest, just buy good food and the food’s going to be good,” he added. 

Despite his focus on simplicity and efficiency, Durand’s culinary prowess remains on point and he is putting out some exquisite dishes that let the locally sourced ingredients carry the complex flavour. 

The food menu features three sections with four or five options in each category. The ‘Snack’ plates are just that, snacks, but they certainly aren’t the kind of snacks just anyone could whip up in a kitchen. 

The chicken liver mousse on toast as well as the zucchini, green tahini and dukkah are both home-run small plates to wet your whistle and prepare you for the rest of the menu. 

Chicken liver mousse and zucchini dishes (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)

The ‘Small’ section of the menu remains vegetable-forward boasting refreshing salads like the cucumber salad with celtuce and pumpkin seed puree, while incorporating some seafood elements such as the tuna crudo topped with shaved fennel, dill and capers.

Tuna crudo and cucumber pumpkin seed salad (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)
Roasted asparagus, bacon, vinaigrette, soft poached egg and shaved, cured egg yolk (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)

Then there’s the ‘Large’ section which features incredible locally sourced ingredients and  entree sized dishes such as the seared sablefish with spring vegetables and the seared scallops with pork cheeks, cauliflower and capers. 

In all sections of their dinner menu, Nourish has kept true to the ethos of the restaurant by featuring several vegan and vegetarian options.

Seared scallops, cauliflower and capers (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)
Seared sablefish, fennel, sea asparagus and roasted carrot (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)

The drink list has also been kept simple yet refined with a wine-forward menu shining a spotlight on localized wineries such as Sea Star from Pender Island and A Sunday In August from Salt Spring Island. 

Their wine list is an adept mix of natural and more traditional processed wines. 

They also have a few herbaceous and complementary cocktails for those who are looking for more diverse and complex flavours. These are also made with local ingredients such as Esquimalt Vermouth and Sheringham Gin. 

Their beer and cider list follows suit in the local, BC theme, with Field House, Hoyne, Persephone and Daageraad all on the menu, ensuring there’s something for everyone during their dinner service. 

Plot Rose (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)
Nourish riff on a negroni (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)

Every item on the food and drink menu was complementary to one another and everything is worth a try at Nourish, because it’s made with such care. 

It’s safe to say that one of the best brunch spots in Greater Victoria is now also one of the best dinner destinations as well. 

Nourish Kitchen & Cafe are open for dinner service every Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Nourish Kitchen & Cafe

  • Where: 225 Quebec Street
  • When: Open Wednesday to Sunday weekly
    • Brunch: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Dinner: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Curtis Blandy

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