New Corktown wine bar The Rosebud offers a complete dining experience

By Kateryna Topol –

The corner of Ashby Place and King Street East has been emp­ty for many years. “The place was rundown; it took us nearly a year to renovate it,” says Justin Cheung, co-owner of the new wine bar The Rosebud.

Cheung’s business partner and wife, Amira Becarevic, had a neigbourhood crush on Cork­town for nearly a decade. So when the listing for 498 King Street East came on the market, the duo signed the lease within a week.

“I guess it was Kismet,” Che­ung added. “There is something great about the bones of the building and the history of the area that we wanted to … reju­venate,” he said, emphasizing the last word, “and bring back that historic charm but with a feminine touch”.

Feminine touches are every­where. The walnut wood pan­eling and blush wallpaper are accented with lush pink and burgundy tints, and playful paintings (commissioned by Ju­les Monson) are hung through­out.

“It was very important for us to create an almost residen­tial feeling,” he added. Patrons sitting at the bar, which wraps around the open kitchen, will see the team at work in front of them.

The couple have a long history in hospitality and share respon­sibilities. “Amira is the back­bone of the culinary program, and the front of the house is my [domain]. But we work very collaboratively with our team… we couldn’t do it without them,” Cheung stressed.

As for the wine, sommelier and restaurant manager Charlie Boyes curated a list with old-world grapes that also showcas­es new biodynamic wines. To encourage guests to experiment, the weekly special features a by-the-glass option typically only sold by the bottle.

The complete Rosebud expe­rience includes an appetizer and an entree, as the owners wanted to supply ample food options, not just a selection of small plates. Classic and forgotten French recipes feature on the fresh, seasonal menu created by chef Amira Becarevic. Many dishes are “seafood-forward”, utilizing newer or adventurous ingredi­ents. On this day, for example, the daily special was Salmon Rillettes, using both cured and smoked salmon, topped with crème fraiche and red caviar.

The front of the restaurant still bears the historic “Kingsbrae,” storefront sign but the address and colourful mural on the side of the building will reassure you that you have found The Rose­bud.