One of the hottest neighbourhoods in town is welcoming its newest addition to the Hintonburg family. As you crawl up Wellington Street, it would be a blatant lie to say that Westboro and the Hintonburg area are shy of restaurants. However, you will notice that a certain breed of restaurant is missing from the scene. Something that merges exceptional food with a holistic, unpretentious approach to dining is exactly what this strip is begging for. . . And happily, Rod Castro and Rani Aramouni are here to deliver. I asked Castro a few questions about his upcoming endeavour, the opening of his first restaurant, the struggles he faced as well as the moments that made the ride worth his while. On Tuesday, December 20th, 10fourteen will see its grand opening just in time for the bustle of Christmas and the New Year.
Kate: So 10fourteen is going to be Hintonburg’s newest tapas bar. Why did you decide to open a tapas bar in the first place?
Rod: Over the last few years, the quality of restaurants in Ottawa has grown substantially. None of us are classically trained but tapas is something we can tap into. We can bring another level of food to people who haven’t had the chance to try this kind of thing. We will be part of a community which is the important thing. I think the bottom line is we’re really not trying to take ourselves too seriously.
K: Tell me a bit about your dishes.
R: We are doing some traditional tapas dishes like civiche, carpaccio and some prosciutto dishes but tapas in Canada goes beyond that. We are going to branch out.
K: What price range can we expect to see?
R: $6-$7 per dish. We don’t want to go any higher than $13. A tapas style dinner should have more than just a few plates.
K: What dish do you expect will be a favourite?
R: I think our #1 will be the carpaccio. It is carpaccio bison served on artisan bread with parmesan biscuits topped with a dijonnaise.
K: Do you do much cooking on your own time?
R: Oh yeah.
K: If you were stranded on a deserted island what 5 ingredients would you bring with you?
R: Definitely artichokes. I have a passion for them. I can’t explain it. Some fresh basil, I would definitely need some fresh basil out there. Olive oil. Artisan bread and whole black peppers. A little fresh basil and olive oil, it’s so simple!
K: I don’t know much about the team you have 10fourteen, who is your partner and Exec Chef?
R: I’m working with Rani Aramouni and our Executive Chef is James Foley. Rani and I have known each other for years and we have a shared passion for food and wine. When we started looking for a chef we tapped into our connections in the industry but Foley ended up coming to us.
K: What is your background in the hospitality industry?
R: I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 15 years old and have worked in every possible position. I worked on the corporate side of things for a while too, with outback steakhouse. I was also the original GM of Pub 101. Working in the pubs was good for the people you get to meet but in terms of food and drink? I never felt challenged.
K: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the opening process?
R: Well this is Plan F as far as site location goes. They always say “location, location, location”. A great space in the wrong location wasn’t going to work. We knew this was the area we wanted to be in.
K: Are you planning to source any of your products locally?
R: One of the best things about being in the Hintonburg area is that everyone wants to support other Hintonburg businesses. We have Wellington Fishhole down the street and they are willing too supply us with meats and tuna. And then Saslov’s is really close by. We are trying to do everything as close to home as we possibly can.
K: Do you have anything up your sleeve for NYE?
R: We are hoping to have a set menu for the night; we’re still working on it.
K: You know I’m a lover of wine, so I have to know: If you were to buy 1 bottle of wine what would it be?
R: From the LCBO? I’ve been having such a fun time with all of the wine suppliers we have had in over the past couple of weeks, but if it has to be from the LCBO it would be Ancient vines Cline Zinfandel. It has to be ancient vines though.
K: Well good luck with your soft opening tonight, I’ll see you on Tuesday for public opening!
Stay tuned for a full review of 10fourteen on Wednesday