In the heart of Saskatoon’s revitalized Riversdale neighbourhood sits The Hollows, a restaurant run by chef duo Christie Peters and Kyle Michael. Launched in November 2011, The Hollows sprung out of one of the city’s most famous haunts, the historical Golden Dragon building, which for years fed classic Canadian-inspired Chinese food to sweet meets sour loving Stooners. Peters and Michael honour the famous restaurant by breathing new life into the space while at the same time offering nods to its past purpose. Hand painted Chinese lanterns hang from the dining room ceiling, the roof attached to the petite bar offers pagoda whimsy, silent cranes swoop across golden wallpaper while vintage furniture rests throughout.
The two young chefs are dedicated to serving contemporary food focussed on natural and seasonal products. Their culinary creations are made with the best ingredients available in the area: cultivated plants grow from heirloom seeds, wild-harvested leaves and mushrooms, flowers, sap and roots, local fish – sustainably raised, pastured meat, poultry and eggs from small family farms.
They’ve cooked in Vancouver, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Spain; returning to Saskatoon to open up The Hollows and share what they’ve learned to their new home. I hear this story told over and over again, young entrepreneurs who left Saskatchewan years ago are now returning to Saskatoon in droves as they see it as a land of opportunity.
Dishes here change and evolve with the seasons and during my visit this past August summer’s bounty graced the menu with glee. Happiness is rhubarb spiked margarita, umami-forward pickled mushrooms, kimchi adorned poutine, fresh ricotta topped lentils and pork belly muddled with maple.
Here are my Top 5 Must Try’s at The Hollows in Saskatoon:
1) Rhubarb Margarita | cazadores tequila, preserved rhubarb simple syrup, lime
2) Grass Fed Beef Carpaccio | peppers, pickled mushrooms, cilantro, creme fraiche, truffle vinaigrette
3) Poutine | fries, quebec curds, chicken gravy, kimchi
4) Lentils | quinoa, tomato, greens, poached egg, ricotta
5) Pork & Beans | pork belly, romano beans, maple, pickled onions