BY CAI SEPULIS
‘Ok. I definitely need to come back with Chris and the camera,’ I tell my wife Sonia thirty seconds into our first visit. What is this place? Butcher-meets-pantry-meets-bakery-meets- burger joint – all within the size of a small corner store.
It was one of Steeltown Garage’s owners, Tania LaCaria, who tipped us off about their new neighbour on Barton Street. Our espressos-to-go in hand, we headed over, and were immediately dazzled by a perfectly composed aesthetic. Cheeky custom wall tiles, artistically displayed butcher knives, colourful preserves, tantalizingly arranged cured meats, clean packaging and beautiful signage. This place is curated well beyond the simple use of Edison bulbs and rustic wood. Texture and colour. A designer’s dream.
The General is the type of local shop you wish was in your neighbourhood. The aroma of fresh-baked goods in the air when you enter
makes it easy to imagine you’re living in a Parisian dream where you might come in a few times a week, if not daily, to see what’s fresh and available to take home. PEI oysters. Pacific salmon. Or drop in to stay – perhaps to enjoy a local lamb burger from the flattop grill with a bottle of craft brew from Hamilton’s Fairweather Brewing Co. Nearly everything is made on-site: baked goods upstairs, butcher shop and kitchen for preserves in the cellar. All meats are ethically-raised and come from farms close by.
I return with Chris (and his camera) a few weeks later and see my enthusiasm reflected in him. He snaps away while I assemble treasures to savour later: pepperettes for lunch, house-made turmeric and cauliflower hummus and miso sesame vinaigrette to complement dinner, and a local fruit danish to snack on in the afternoon. Every angle a great photo, every angle a delectable local story.