I am a meat lover. I try to limit my intake but when I eat out, I rarely order a vegetarian option. So when James Kayser, the owner of Butcher and the Vegan in Hamilton, Ontario, invited me and my friend Cara, of Talk That Talk, to join their Kitchen Party, I was a bit skeptical. After eating everything on my plate, I am now eating my words.
Every month or so, the restaurant hosts an evening of music, great eats and delicious beer pairings. This month, Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party were featured and Kayser created a “kitchen party” inspired menu to suit the music. Think impromptu gathering with great tunes and whatever happens to be in the refrigerator spun into a an artfully creative meal. To top it off, Collective Arts Brewing, also based in Hamilton, paired each course with one of their unique beers.
Butcher and the Vegan serves both meat based and vegan meals. At the Kitchen Party, we dined strictly vegan. After a tasty little nibble of roasted chickpeas, out came the appetizer board. It included a play on a caprese salad, with avocado in place of buffalo mozzarella, a mediterranean layer dip on freshly fried nachos, an amazingly flavourful mostarda crostini and some delicious artichoke nibbles with a “butter” dipping sauce. Everything was fresh and had incredible depth of flavour. The nachos and artichokes were definite highlights!
This course was paired with Saint of Circumstance Blonde, a citrusy, light beer that goes well with anything you might squeeze a lemon on. It cut through the buttery flavour of the nachos and artichokes wonderfully. While we digested our appetizers, Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party did their thing. The music set the perfect tone for the evening. Carefree and intimate with a bit of quirkiness. You can check out their tunes here.
The main course was where the “kitchen party” theme really shone. It included “last night’s chinese” glass noodles and veggies, “cold pizza” (that was really quite warm), spicy vegan chili with killer sourdough bread and fried brussels sprouts dusted with citrus thyme salt that I am still salivating over. Not one animal product on the plate and I didn’t even miss it. Who knew brussels sprouts could be such a star?
This course paired with Rhyme & Reason, a Collective Arts standby. It’s an extra pale ale that goes with just about anything. In 2014, it won best North American Style Pale Ale at the Canadian Brewing Awards. Go beer!
We barely had room for dessert, but you can always find a little extra space, right? We finished the meal off with vegan sugar cookies topped with whipped “cream” and chocolate sauce. So good!
To wash down dessert, we had the Stranger Than Fiction porter. It’s a dark looking, light tasting beer that’s full of coffee and chocolate flavour. A great match!
While Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party finished their set, we polished off the last beer on our paddle, the Collective Project Black IPA. It’s a limited edition beer created by the head brewmaster at Collective Arts and it’s exclusive to select bars and restaurants. A great way to finish the night!
Luckily, the Butcher and the Vegan team were sympathetic to our full stomachs and wrapped up everything we couldn’t finish (plus a little extra :)). Next month’s musical guest is Hachey the MouthPEACE – he’ll be playing after Art Crawl on March 11th. Be sure to follow Butcher and the Vegan on Twitter to stay in the loop!
Photos by Cara Cameron and Elise Copps