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Gather Craft Kitchen & Bar review


Neighbourhood:  Assiniboine Park
Address:  145 The Leaf Way
Phone:  204-927-7222
Entrees:  $21 – $65

The city’s largest park, attraction, family gathering site adds setting for one of the city’s best new restaurants to its list of draws. Gather Craft Kitchen and Bar, Assiniboine Park’s new fine dining room has been rewarding the community since December last year (its opening date missed the deadline for our annual reviews) with contemporary dishes that boast a proclivity toward ethical, sustainable ingredients. 

Tucked inside the city’s newest architectural wonder, The Leaf, Gather is a modern example of buttoned-down sophistication. Bustling congenial servers donned in bistro-style aprons move through the open concept space with ease. Aside from stylish colourful light fixtures and tropical plants, décor is understated. 

Chef Mike de Groot’s playful, genre-busting menus reflect the city’s evolving landscape of regional fare – still furiously trending – with staples from Manitoba homes prepared in new ways. As the name suggests, this locale destined for important gatherings and luckily thoughtful, global food matches the grandeur of The Leaf.

On paper, Gather’s partiality for hyper fresh produce isn’t exactly a distinctive quality, but its sheer dedication sets it apart. It helps of course that chef Mike has the Leaf’s expansive vegetable garden out back to procure greens from seasonally. 

Grilled kale tossed into mixed greens with pickled apple slices, candied walnut, edamame, and watermelon radish dressed in fragrant apple vinaigrette combine whimsy with refinement. Bursts of sour, sweet and bitter blend on every fork. A simple carrot dish garnished with a tangle of wilted greens showcases the vegetables’ sweet essence. The pool of buttermilk cream swirled with salsa macha it sits upon adds subtle piquancy. 

Beef short rib, sweetly glazed with root beer sauce, pairs with vanilla scented celery root purée in a succulent starter. Chopped hazelnuts and pickled rutabaga strands balance the sweetness of the meat with crunchy bitter bites. A dollop of crimson beet ketchup adds tang.

Another hefty, small plate, veal and pork meatballs – eschewing the spaghetti match for sweet corn succotash on edamame hummus – are tender and exceptional. Plump cherry tomato halves and pea shoots inject freshness to a beautifully presented plate. 

Mains get fresh creative recipe updates too. Boursin cheese sauce loaded with shredded confit duck and sausage coats a tower of fettucine. Delicate flakes of pecorino and chive round out an umami rich dish. 

Seared scallop risotto is another savoury masterpiece.  Abundant in roasted mushrooms, creamed rice hosts three jumbo seared scallops on top. Veggie battarga amplifies the medley of earthy flavours.

An upmarket shrine to the simple pleasures of prairie cuisine and Winnipeg’s multiculturalism, Gather Craft Kitchen and Bar offers a fresh perspective on the park and the city.  Allow yourself to linger over pavlova, before taking a stroll back to civilization. 


The Leaf, and its on-site restaurant, Gather Craft Kitchen & Bar are attracting eager foodies and nature-lovers alike to this dining destination poised to host locals and out of town…

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