Dundas West’s hipster restaurant row is about to get yet another new addition to its ranks. Behind L’Ouvrier are Justine Fowler, who works in fashion, and Angus Bennett of Ottawa pub The Manx and Angus Bennett Catering. The name comes from a line in Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London (“The cook does not look upon himself as a servant, but as a skilled workman; he is generally called ‘UN OUVRIER’ which a waiter never is”), and it’s reflective of Bennett’s philosophy about food. “Angus believes that cooking is less about art and more about hard work and dedication” says Fowler. The couple hopes their new restaurant will embody that philosophy in a welcoming and unpretentious environment.
Located west of Bathurst and Dundas, L’Ouvrier was once the site of an old, illegal after-hours club. With the help of artist and friend Courtney Wotherspoon, Fowler and Bennett came up with a design concept for the space that would fit in with the new breed of restaurants in the neighbourhood, like Campagnolo and the Black Hoof. The focus on the hard-working cook is emphasized by the large collection of archival photos of World War I–era cooks that will adorn the back wall of the restaurant. Bennett’s menu isn’t confined to a particular concept or ethnicity; it’s more an expression of the passions and whims of the owners. Next to French dishes such as duck confit or steak tartare, expect to find a traditional Asian hot and sour soup, or comfort food such as grilled cheese. Fowler hopes the restaurant will launch in early September.
L’Ouvrier, 791 Dundas St. W, 416-901-9581, louvrier.ca.