Home Block fuses atmosphere and food

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

Just Posted

Capitals’ Kahlil Fontana blueliner evades Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ Ethan Hersant during second-period B.C. Hockey League Island Division action at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Susan Quinn/Black Press Media)
Cowichan Capitals go out with a bang

Caps finish BCHL season strong with 6-1 thumping of Clippers

The MS Society flag flies at Duncan city hall to mark MS Awareness Month. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan and CVRD help mark MS Awareness Month

MS Walk scales back, but fundraisers are still vital for MS Society

“Keeping fit for Mother’s Day: Participants of Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Mother’s Day hiking event make their way down the Trans Canada Trail, Sunday, May 8. The morning event later wrapped up with snacks and prizes.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette May 11, 2011)
Flashback: Bears, elk, salmon, candidates, and lumber graders

This week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by

Sign up to fundraise to help those affected by dementia. (Submitted)
Not too late for Cowichan residents to join Alzheimer’s Walk

Set a walking or fitness goal for May and raise funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Robert’s column
Robert Barron Column: Poachers in forest reserve should be treated harshly

‘Poachers need to be rounded up and prosecuted as soon as possible’

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read