Brunch lovers can say ‘bienvenue’ to a new brunch spot that brings the celebrated aspects of French bistro culture and cuisine to West Van’s Ambleside neighbourhood when Mèreon opens its doors in early 2024.
The brainchild of owner and North Shore resident Ophelia Arida, Mèreon will immerse locals and visitors in the iconic café culture of France in a 52-seat space that will be open for brunch 5 days a week, Wednesday to Sunday from 9am – 3pm.
The Mèreon menu will mix French foods with West Coast ingredients like a trio of Croque sandwiches (Monsieur, Madame, Forestière), Quiche du Jour, Eggs en Cocotte, French Onion Soup, Signature Socca, West Coast Niçoise Salad, Duck Confit Cassoulet, Steak Frites, and more.
The menu was envisioned by Emmanuel Joinville, the chef/owner and driving force behind the beloved Gastown Bar, Jules Bistro, which recently closed. Joinville began his career in 1981 in his hometown of Dijon, France as an apprentice at Chef Rene Villard’s Michelin 3-Starred restaurant Château Bourgogne and went on to become an acclaimed chef and restaurateur before emigrating to Vancouver with his family in 2000.
Ophelia took her inspiration for the name of the restaurant from ‘mère’, the French language word for ‘mother’ and an honorary title for female cooks in France. The moniker is a nod to multiple women who helped Lyon stake its claim as the gastronomic centre of France, chief among them Mère Brazier, who is regarded as “the mother of modern French cooking.”
The seeds for the new restaurant were sown long ago during Ophelia’s travels to France, when she developed a love affair with the culture, cuisine and the simple joy that brings people together to share a drink, a meal, and make lasting memories.
“Those trips helped me develop my passion to host and showcase the sort of hospitality and home-spun cuisine for which French culture is so well known,” says Ophelia. “It’s a place that’s nostalgic, welcoming and evocative where guests can gather around the table and enjoy a little joie de vivre with friends, family and loved ones.”
Stay tuned for the opening date.