Two Canadian brothers serve a culinary travelogue in bite-sized portions.
Convinced that the only thing better than an intimate wine bar is one where you can enjoy a good bite while you drink, brothers Alex and Andrew Rinkhy have opened their own tapas-inspired eatery with an emphasis on seafood, serving regional wines with small but exquisite snacks intended for sharing. Growing up in their Hungarian/Canadian father’s fine dining restaurant in Vancouver left the Rinkhys well-prepared for their culinary foray, learning French cooking techniques while endlessly peeling potatoes: Just like in their youth, Andrew serves up drinks and charm while Alex rules the kitchen.
Patrons chat under a painted octopus mural on their cozy premises, easing the pain of landlocked life with anchovies and mackerel as Edison bulbs cast warm light onto antique wood furnishings.
Their regional wines are tasty and include some organic choices, and a couple of glasses won’t break the bank – the red muskateller from Austria is almost like a rosé and pairs delightfully with their smoked mussels. Graceful, small plates showcase international delicacies they’ve encountered on their numerous travels, like heavenly artichoke hearts in olive oil or stuffed Portuguese squid.
In a nod to their heritage, their Hungarian hangover sauerkraut soup with smoked sausage is a welcome winter savior on a cold night out. With made-to-order sandwiches for lunchtime and outdoor seating for spring on the horizon, the Rinkhy brothers have big plans for their little plates.
Hungarian Hangover Sauerkraut Soup
500 g sauerkraut and brine
3 medium onions, diced
3 tomatoes, seeded and cubed
100 g smoked bacon, cubed
100 g Hungarian Csabai sausage or similar, julienned
8 whole peppercorns
8 whole juniper berries
250 ml chopped dill
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 l water or pork hock broth
250 ml sour cream
2 or 3 whole bay leaves
45 ml paprika powder
30 ml flour
50 ml neutral cooking oil or lard
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a heavy soup pot, add bacon and fry until tender. Add the Hungarian sausage and onion, frying until onions are glassy. Add garlic and let everything simmer. Add paprika and cook on low heat. Sprinkle the flour in and stir until dissolved. Strain sauerkraut and keep the liquid. Add the sauerkraut and water and bring to a boil. Add a little of the soup to the sour cream, then add to pot. Add tomato and dill and bring back to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste, adding sauerkraut brine until pleasantly sour. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a slice or two of Hungarian sausage.
Best served the next day or up to 5 days after cooking – so plan your hangovers well!