Cardinal Chocolate Company
An Intimate Space Featuring Decadent Desserts and Wine
Story by Tiffany Jarva, Photos by Jack Barten
Chef John Murray has been wanting to return to serious, high-end pastry making since studying at Yauatcha Patisserie—a Michelin-starred Chinese teahouse in London, England—about 10 years ago. “I always loved making desserts and pastries. Cardinal allows me to do a little more of this,” explains Murray. Housed in Thunder Bay’s Red Lion Smokehouse restaurant, Cardinal Chocolate Company is a late-night dessert and wine bar; it’s Murray’s love letter to fine dessert dining and wine tasting. When Murray completed his chef training in the U.K., he initially focused on the savoury. As a finalist during a Roux Scholarship competition, Murray was able to nail the savoury lamb dish but felt that he was lacking when completing a pastry challenge. So he set off to study in the Yauatcha pastry kitchen for a year with awardwinning Australian chef Shane Osborn. Now, after years of creating inspiring dishes like gourmet s’mores at the Red Lion, Murray has branched out and created a lovely space that is a nod to his grandmother’s vintage basement decor, complete with cardinal motifs, vintage glass jars, antique mirrors and bird cages, chandeliers, and lace-covered tables. The Cardinal’s decadent dessert menu features handmade confections like chocolate truffles and bonbons, plated desserts like dark chocolate tart and peanut butter cheesecake, and high tea with a selection of sandwiches like egg salad and spinach, smoked ham and cheddar, and delightful scones. Murray is a trained sommelier who is also passionate about wine and will be bringing in some exclusive wines, offering monthly Wine 101 tastings, and private party opportunities. Cin cin! Cardinal Chocolate Company is located at 16 Cumberland Street South, and is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 pm to midnight, with plans to further expand hours. Its grand opening is November 4. Find them on Instagram.