Home Block fuses atmosphere and food

Wood-fired grill is front and centre at CedarCreek Winery’s restaurant

  • Nov. 12, 2019 9:10 a.m.

– Story by David Wylie Photography by Darren Hull

Dining at CedarCreek Winery’s Home Block is an elemental experience.

There’s a clear connection between the atmosphere and the food, which is cooked on a wood-fired grill, and its bold, rustic flavours pair with intuitive, detail-oriented service.

The bright and airy restaurant — recently nominated to Air Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2019 list — is located in Kelowna’s Lower Mission area, and surrounded by beautiful vineyards and Okanagan Lake views. Custom decor adds thoughtful and unique details.

The building itself is crafted from fieldstone and 100-year-old reclaimed barn wood. The restaurant can seat 120 when the patio is open.

Natural cooking methods are front and centre, with Home Block’s wood-fired grill in the open kitchen.

Restaurant general manager Michael Ziff knows his way around the food industry. He’s worked in high-end restaurants in New York City, Toronto and Vancouver.

“I think it’s really important that a room speaks to the service and the service speaks to the room,” he said.

A vineyard is a perfect setting for a restaurant.

“The depth of story is fantastic,” said Michael. “I’m surrounded by 50 acres of vine. I get to serve wine literally made 100 metres away to the guests.”

Servers choose their own work clothes, guided by a palette: dark blue pants, matching the lake; sky-blue shirts; and tan shoes and tan belts, reminiscent of ponderosa pines.

“To me, the elements of being human are being hospitable, welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable…those are the elements to me that speak to the room.”

Michael aims to tell a story through the service, with everything from the table settings to server dialogue contributing to a subtle narrative.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Home Block’s executive chef, Neil Taylor, is a little less subtle with his big flavours.

“I like food to be punchy and in your face to a point,” he said.

Kitchen staff prepare a variety of foods on their Argentine-inspired wood-fired grill.

“Even when you pull up to CedarCreek you can smell the wood in the air,” he said. “Cooking over fire and wood is about as elemental as you can get. We’ve used orchard wood and vine clippings, old barrels … they all have their own nuances and flavours. When we burn the barrels, you really get that flavour of red wine and you can really smell that toasted wood,” he said.

Originally from England, Neil’s career has taken him through top restaurants in London, Sydney and Vancouver. He also owns his own restaurant in Vancouver, a Spanish tapas and wine bar called España.

Neil said he buys fresh ingredients and treats them simply, making the most of his great relationships with local farms and changing the menu according to what’s in season.

With contemporary farmhouse architecture, Home Block and other CedarCreek buildings are designed by Arcanum Architecture in San Francisco.

Much of the decor is custom, including cement bill holders and coolers commissioned by Michael. Tables, banquettes and handmade leather sling chairs are locally crafted by John Rousseau Design in Summerland. Bowls and platters are handcrafted by local potter Shelley Bauer of Blue Apple Studio in Kelowna.

You can check out the restaurant and winery online here.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Food and WineLifestyle

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New ACT team will help Cowichan residents struggling with mental health issues

The Cowichan Valley ACT team will be one of six new teams being created across the province.

Duncan man at large after massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Bob Day making another run for mayor of Lake Cowichan

Day has served 10 years as town councillor

Ross Forrest eyes the mayor’s chair in Lake Cowichan again

Forrest served 10 years as mayor before losing the last election

Prescribed burn for the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve

Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 9, if and when site and weather conditions become favourable.

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read