The Bar Raval in Toronto, inspired by Spain, tattooed muscles and art nouveau.
By Enrico G. Cleva
The Bar Raval is the most talked-about bar in Toronto in our first months of 2015. It is run by one of the most talented local chef, Grant van Gameren and his business partner Mike Webster. In fact, it is both, a bar and a restaurant, serving many different “Tapas”, those small dishes that Spanish people share for the evening meals. It is a small sized jewel for not much more than 40 or 50 people, waiting for a summer patio to be installed.
The bar serves many different spirits and cocktails made with Span-ish vermouths, Italian Campari and Martini, gin, vodka. The selec-tion of wines is international, with a prevalence of Spanish names.
The menu includes Pintxos from the Basque region of Spain, little delicious snacks sold by piece, tapas, bocadillos and the super-expensive masterpiece of Hamon Iberico de Bellota, always present in any Spanish restaurant.
Recently, Chris Nuttall-Smith from The Globe and Mail honoured the Raval defining it as “ the most beautiful bar in Toronto”. Chris defines as “sublime” not only for its drinks and snacks, but also for its environment.
The Raval is indeed the last project of Partisans Architects (www.partisanprojects.com), a group of very talented young archi-tects and Interior Designers guided by the two founders Alex Jo-sephson and Pooya Baktash. They have recently been announced as 2015 OAA (Ontario Association of Architects) Best Emerging Practice and Design Excellence winners.
This is how Partisans describes their approach to the project:
“Our team immediately found inspiration in the passions of the cli-ents who are masters of Spanish cuisine, art and culture. The de-sign developed out of a connection between the formal histories of art nouveau, the plethora of cured slabs of meat, and the anatomy of the chefs themselves: a tattooed muscle bound group of intellec-tuals. Our design is a three dimensional tattoo manifest in pure CNC'd mahogany.
The wood dances, creating a fluid stage for some of Toronto best culinary and mixology masters to perform their art. The wood sup-ports the most dynamic state of the art technologies and systems in the industry. The metallic lingerie that shrouds the windows, giving the passer-by only a flirtation with what lies within, is a metaphor for all the mystery that Toronto's culinary and design worlds have to of-fer.”
The Raval is named after an historic neighbourhood in the centre of Barcelona and is located in the heart of the Little Italy District of To-ronto, a very busy location for entertainment facilities.
It really seems that a visit to Toronto has to include this culinary stop to appreciate a cool drink, a nice bite and some stunning inte-rior architecture.
Photo credits: Partisans Architects website