Located on Avenue C in Saskatoon’s Riversdale area, The Hollows provides a unique dining experience in an environment where the past meets the present.
Situated in the building that was previously the Golden Dragon restaurant, The Hollows has a historic and cozy feel. The owners have kept some of the Golden Dragon’s décor and furniture, which functions as a charming background.
From the outside, it would be difficult to tell that The Hollows even existed — the Golden Dragon sign, lights and parking lot marking are all still there. One has to peer closely to even see the sign for “The Hollows” on the window of the building.
With the tables neatly laid and soft music playing, the atmosphere is relaxed. The inside decor combines old Chinese lanterns and wall decals with a rustic flair — including country-style wall ornaments and animal skins draped over what appears to be the Golden Dragon’s upholstery. This unique blend of the former restaurant with the current one allows for a quaint, endearing and attractive setting.
Prompt and efficient, the service was of good quality. After much personal deliberation over the menu options, I ordered what I thought to be a salad — this was hard to confirm as the menu items did not have titles and instead were simply ingredient lists.
My meal consisted of cooked beets, grapefruit slices, caramelized pistachios and pieces of goat cheese, all combined in an interesting design on the plate and drizzled in basil oil. With no lettuce in sight, it immediately became obvious that this was not a traditional salad.
Other menu options were equally unique. One item was simply described as, “Roasted grass fed beef bone marrow, squid ink, black garlic, grilled bread, horseradish,” while another read, “Quinoa, lentils, tomato, greens, poached farm egg, ricotta.”
A member of my party ordered a beef ravioli dish that was under the “large’ category on the menu. The dish came with five rather average-sized pieces of ravioli — there was nothing large about it besides the price.
The beverage menu did have many delicious options, from an excellent selection of wine to delightful loose tea blends. Delicate touches like mismatched vintage teacups and teapots gave a homey and charismatic impression.
The menu changes regularly, meaning that The Hollows offers a variety of choices and options including brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, they have gluten-free and vegetarian options, catering to the needs of a variety of customers.
The Hollows boasts the fact that they use local ingredients from Saskatoon. The chefs cook with cultivated plants and sustainably raised and pastured meat as well as poultry and eggs from small farmers. The overall food focus is on delivering natural and seasonal products to consumers.
The building’s interior and exterior provided a captivating old-meets-new contrast, but the menu items and names could both use a little bit of normalizing.
Visit The Hollows at 334 Avenue C South Wed-Sat from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. for brunch.
Photo: Naomi Zurevinski