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

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Pup stolen from Vernon temporary shelter reunited with owner

Nicola Sanders says her son’s puppy was ‘overjoyed’ to see her owner again

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Most Read