The Fence & Post opened in Historic Downtown Cochrane almost one year ago, occupying the space once held by the Legacy Guitar Shop & Cafe. While Cochrane has experienced a boom in the number of restaurants in the last few years, we still seemed to lack a sophisticated, Canadian fine dining experience.
Enter, the hearty and rustic flavours of the prairie kitchen at Fence & Post.
Owners Chris and Melanie have been in love with food for a long time. Having worked in restaurant kitchens since the age of 14 and studying at Ottawa's Cordon Bleu, Chef Chris Hartman has made his way around the world pairing his love of local fare with seasonal foods. Most recently, Chris was the Executive Chef at the Bears Den in Bearspaw.
Business partner Melanie Martzoukos is a prairie girl from Saskatchewan, who spent time working in the Beaujolais region of France at a prominent resort. When she returned to Calgary, she went to work in the wine industry, and is now the managing partner of the Vinestone Wine Co. in Cochrane.
What they say about their approach,
"We aim to shine a spotlight on what is produced locally and allow the food products to speak for themselves. With a true respect for the products we purchase and the food we create, we seek to serve them in a simple yet sophisticated manner, with the focus on appreciating the amazing bounty of our province and country. This honouring extends not solely to those people involved, but to the greater environment and life of the planet as a whole. We aim to create flavours and dishes that are familiar to Canadians, but are elevated and refined." - fenceandpost.ca/about
What we say,
We decided to be free of decisions for the evening and laid our faith in the Fence & Post to serve up a fabulous 'Five Course Dinner'.
For $65 per person, the 'Five Course Dinner' is an ever-changing menu. On this particular evening, we dined on duck tartare, scallops, fresh pasta, pork belly and ice cream. We tried some new tastes, reveled in the fact that everything is made in-house, and we found the servings to be just the right size. At the end of the five courses, both of us were sufficiently stuffed!
If wine is your thing, you can add on wine pairings for an extra $25. Each course arrives with a new selection of wine, it may be a red or a white (depending on the food) and included vino treasures from Spain and France, as well, dessert was highlighted by a local Cochrane distiller, Krang Spirits.
We found the atmosphere to be both warm and welcoming, and the open-air kitchen was fun to watch too! The Fence & Post was actually very busy as it was a Friday evening, but it did not feel chaotic at all, plus there was a good mix of diners and not just romantic couples.
Overall, we enjoyed our dinner at the Fence & Post a lot! Was it expensive? I won't lie, it was a fine dining experience with fine dining prices; however, for a special occasion or a date night out, the ambiance and food are totally worth it. I also really liked the 'Five Course Dinner' option as we definitely tried a few things we would have never ordered, and with the wine pairings, the meal became a well rounded event instead of simply 'dinner'.
Pro Tip: Make a reservation at least a few days in advance. Our reservation was for 7pm and we would not have got a table at all without it.
Bon Appetit Cochrane!
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