There’s a new restaurant at Christina Lake serving up fresh and local delights with an emphasis on sharing. Owner and chef Mike Sonier started up Knotweed Restaurant at the Cascade Par 3 Golf Course a few weeks ago and is already attracting crowds. Sonier, who grew up in the Maritimes and had his culinary training there, prepares all ingredients by hand and is constantly changing up the menu to ensure a wide range of tastes.
The restaurant had their grand opening on April 13 after having a soft opening earlier with several private functions. “It went really well,” said Sonier. “It ran really smooth. It was a good time.”
Sonier is from New Brunswick where he operated a farm to table restaurant called the Greenhouse on Main. “We had a greenhouse around back,” he said. “We had edible flowers and we grew our own produce and supported our local farmers. We had 100 per cent organic ingredients in all our dishes. Really farm to table, a healthy restaurant.”
Sonier is looking to replicate that same style at the Lake. After growing up in the Maritimes, he also loves to prepare fresh seafood.
“I come from the coast,” he said. “I went to chef school on the coast (Nova Scotia). I’m pretty heavy into the seafoods, and tapas and sharing dishes. I break my dishes into two or four pieces usually. We really want people to come in and try different flavours. As the seasons change our menus change. We want to keep it fresh and keep it seasonal.”
Sonier said Knotweed will have a new menu each week with a rotating menu of whatever the season’s offer. “Keeping it fresh and local is key,” he said.
Sonier has always had a passion for cooking. “I was always in my mom’s kitchen cooking with her,” he said. “It grew on me. I’m an adrenaline junkie—I downhill race bikes as well. When we’re busy in the kitchen—I just love that. That adrenaline [from cooking] and just going for it.”
Sonier, who is 30 years old, actually came out to B.C. several years ago for downhill bike racing. He lived in different places around the province including Whistler, Vancouver and Fernie. He then opened up a restaurant in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. “I was living like a gypsy just moving around B.C. for the last seven years,” said Sonier, who eventually ended up in the Boundary. “I just love the Kootenays. I love the area. A lot of farm to table restaurants. The organic farming is just incredible out here.”
Sonier was looking for a restaurant in the area for a year and a half before finding the spot at the golf course.
“We have a lot of plans for this place,” he said. “We’re going to renovate the whole place and put a wet bar out back. We’ll have a patio and a wet bar out back for people to sit on a hot day and get some cool mist in their face as they drink a local brew.”
This reporter was fortunate enough to try the chicken flat bread with portobello mushrooms and the braised pork belly with a butternut squash puree, both of which were very light, fresh and very flavourful. Also on the menu are more exotic items like kangaroo, bison, duck and elk.
The restaurant is only open for dinner service from Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. until June when the patio is expected to be open for lunch.
Sonier highly recommends reservations but he does say they do take drop-ins.