Written By Adrien Sala First Look / Places / Restaurants / Victoria Jul 31, 2020 The Palms SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestLaunching a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic may seem counterintuitive, but don’t tell that to Rob Ekstrom and Darren Cole – the two Victoria-born pals who’ve just realized a shared dream of creating something of their own after 35 years of friendship. The Palms, a re-imagined restaurant and lounge in what was formerly the Veneto space in the Rialto Hotel, opens its doors to the public this week with a menu that will help keep local farmers busy and a revolving cocktail list that will change as the artwork does.Art is a key feature of the new space. Cole and Ekstrom have forged a relationship with Rio, a French-Canadian artist from Montreal known as a bit of a phenom. Rio’s large paintings are installed throughout the restaurant, helping take it from, as Cole described it, “An old, classic dining room into a 2020 Las Vegas style place you want to come to on a date night.”Cole doesn’t mind what label you give the interior design – call it Miami Vice, if you like. What’s important to him is that the space provides an ambiance that encourages comfortability, energy and a modern edge. Rio’s work certainly does that. The large-format paintings are mixed media, a kind of street art created with what looks like freehand spray paint, graphic design tools and collage, incorporating different materials like crushed crystals and newsprint into the works. He’s had exhibitions in Paris, found buyers in L.A. and Beverly Hills, and has a big studio space in Montreal where art collectors from around the world fight to purchase his work – often before it’s completed. It’s all very bohemian.The cocktails are being designed by Bar Manager, Meghan Cheney, and are named after the paintings on the walls; they will change as the pieces are purchased and new ones appear. A personal favourite is Crazy in Love, a refreshing mix of gin, Campari, Aperol and pineapple juice shaken on ice with a prosecco float, fresh pineapple and mint.Ekstrom and Cole have brought in Kyle Dampsy as chef, another Victoria-born team member to help build connections with local suppliers and farmers. Trained at Camosun College, Dampsy left Victoria and worked at some of the top restaurants in the region over the next 15 years, including the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, as well as Blue Water Café and Hawksworth in Vancouver, before dipping down to Costa Rica to clear his head and put together a restaurant on the Nicoya Peninsula – where the ingredients all came from very local suppliers. Building on his experiences, Dampsy has developed a menu using entirely regional ingredients from small farms and suppliers. It’s light and fresh, with tasty happy hour plates such as A Celebration of Local Tomatoes, Tuna Poke, and Flash Fried Calamari (very tasty). The Palms opens at 3 pm for Happy Hour (until 5:30 pm) Wednesday to Sunday, followed by dinner until 9 pm, after which it’s a late-night menu until midnight. They’re also doing Sunday brunch from 10 am to 2 pm. With, of course, all COVID protocols in place.Photography by Amish JainCourtesy of The PalmsartCocktailshappy hourhotel rialtonew restaurantthe palms SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Adrien Sala ... Read More You may also like First Look / Food News / Places / Restaurants November 30, 2020 Café Jumbo – First Look It’s a cold and rainy evening in early November. Covid cases are on the rise everywhere, and the world is anxiously awaiting the final US election ... Read More Beer / Beer & Cider / Drink / First Look / Places / Press Release / Wineries & Breweries July 25, 2019 There’s a New Buoy in Town Whistle Buoy Brewing Company, a locally owned craft brewery and taproom, is now open in Historic Market Square, Victoria. Whistle Buoy Brewing ... Read More First Look / Regions / Restaurants March 1, 2019 The Buzz, Cowichan and Up-Island Eating together and enjoying the good life with good people is the epitome of ‘Hygge’, the Danish word pronounced ‘Huega’. ... Read More First Look / Restaurants / Victoria January 3, 2018 Pierogi Power at Sült Pierogi Bar “Sült” has etymological roots across Europe. In Gaelic, it refers to pork fat or a dish made of it. In Hungarian, it translates to “fried” ... Read More First Look December 8, 2017 Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria, 2908 Tieulie Place, Shirley, BC, 778-528-3473, stokedwoodfiredpizzeria.com For surfers, still chilled to the ... Read More First Look / Food People October 31, 2017 Adapt to Survive – The team behind Foo finds opportunity at Victoria’s hospitality crossroads. It’s not breaking news: Victoria’s restaurant scene is in the midst of varying states of crisis, depending on which Industry Insider you speak ... Read More Comments are closed.