UPDATE: Closed Arkadash: Crafty Cocktails
Arkadash Bistro + Lounge is one of Winnipeg's newest restaurants. Chef Karen Peters' menu is a love letter to the flavours and traditions of Moroccan, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine.
UPDATE: Sadly, Arkadash closed down in early 2013.
Winnipeggers are overdue for a craft cocktail invasion. The city is lagging behind the continent's cocktail revolution, which has been gaining steam for the past two years or so.
That emerging trend has seen mixologists around North America and further afield raiding the fridge for fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables and rifling the pantry for spices to make their hand-crafted tipples.
Kelvin Peters thinks its Winnipeg's turn to put itself on the craft cocktail train.
Peters, Arkadash Bistro's general manager and co-owner, has taken it upon himself to start the local revolution. He has put his stamp on Arkadash's cocktail menu, creating a fine balance of classic cocktails and modern mash-ups. The mojito, a lime juice, rum and mint favourite, gets twisted with the addition of cinnamon simple syrup and apple to this rum. Basil-infused vodka with a splash of “grandma's” pickle juice is the base for Arkadash's version of the Caesar.
Peters also whipped up some fresh pumpkin butter to create Pumpkin Divine, a smooth and strong and, as billed, divine martini with pear vodka, Triple Sec and lemon juice. Figs, orange spice tea, ginger, pomegranite juice, maple syrup and coconut milk also make appearances in several cocktails.
The craft cocktails make sense considering Arkadash's bright, sleek and refined decor. The Portage Avenue location was the former home of The Chocolate Shop, which was Winnipeg's oldest restaurant up until its closure.
The drab and well-worn interior of The Chocolate Shop has been completely obliterated and erased from memory. In its place lives Arkadash's light, white walls and restrained colour palette with dashes of blue here and there.
Meanwhile, Arkadash's food is the work of Peters' cousin, chef and co-owner Karen Peters, whose dishes are punctuated with dashes of Moroccan and Turkish flair. Watch for a Peg City Grub review in the weeks to come.