Le Petit Bar à Vin in Chelsea

Located at the edge of Gatineau Park, Le Petit Bar à Vin is aptly named, as that’s exactly what this establishment is all about. 1. Small, because it is a small house on the edge of Old Chelsea Road; 2. Bar, because as soon as you enter, you see a row of beautiful bottles with attractive labels behind the large counter; 3. Wine, because the owner and his colleagues work with a small and well-rounded selection of beautiful bottles of red, white, rosé, and even orange.

On the terrace, the Spark Limestone sparkling wine from Tawse Winery in the Niagara Peninsula helped to put the guests in a good mood. Attentive to everyone’s rehydration—and happiness—the staff emptied a few bottles of Manhac; a beautiful red from Domaine Obrière in the Hérault region, in the commune of Beziers. There was a bit of confusion early in the evening when the boss uncorked a few bottles of a lovely orange 2019 wine called Entre from La Belle Alliance in Shefford in the Eastern Townships; indeed, the SAQ calls this orange a rosé. Like the ways of the Lord, the ways of the SAQ are sometimes mysterious.

A beautiful little house

The modesty of the building under the trees reflects that of owner Jean-François Bilodeau. A former senior civil servant, he was young when he was spellbound by the world of wine. This small wine bar is very accessible, with its long ramp designed for strollers and wheelchairs. They have a beautiful terrace at the front, as well as a large area at the back, ready to welcome the clientele who have come in large groups to savour the pleasures of the small wine bar. We can also see the little wine trailer (Petite roulotte à vin), whose owner says: “If you can’t go to the Petit Bar à Vin, the little wine bar will come to you”.

Drink well…

When it comes to drinks, the Petit Bar à Vin takes things very seriously with their seven sommeliers: Marie-Pier Nassif, Danielle Dupont, Monia Gaudreau, Chantal Bougie, Caroline Flocari, Jean Cintrat and of course the owner himself.

…and eat well

In addition to drinking well, we also nibble delicious things. In the kitchen, Marie-Ève Bilodeau is a true artist with the composition of her magnificent plates. Plates of local cheeses, accompanied by a baguette from neighbouring Roberto Pizza Romana; plates of charcuterie from the Boucherie des vilains garçons or plates of smoked fish from the Boucanerie Chelsea are served in the dining room and on the terrace at a steady pace.

The most popular dish seems to be the trio: a platter of smoked fish, charcuterie and Quebec cheeses. The whole is accompanied with baguette—of course—as well as figs and dried cranberries, maple caramelized pecans, cherry tomatoes, blackberries, strawberries, small gherkins, marinated carrots and beans, a spicy strawberry jelly and Damas plum jam.

For dessert, you will be able to choose between a lemon pie and a chocolate cake; two superb choices from Benjamin Oddo, crowned Best Pastry Chef of Quebec in 2021 and who still honours this nomination today.

With twenty or so wine choices, tasty dishes, two tasting options (three choices for $15 or five for $25), a dozen beers (mainly from microbreweries), and warm service, we know that this little wine bar, which opened on May 6, 2022, is likely to be a great success—and very quickly. Which is what we hope for them, because as we say at Tastet: “If we talk about it, it’s good!”

Photography by @Pierre-Alexandre Langlois Gaudreault - Le petit bar à vin - Tastet

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