We've been following the progress of this new venture, and can confirm that it's set to open to the public this Friday.
Edwin tipped me off about the launch date, so he gets credit for that, as do his foodie friends who tipped him off, DanGarion and Jay Ruiz.
Located in Old Towne Orange, Haven will be "a modern kitchen that prides itself on producing farm-to-table-fresh European old world fare that far transcends typical pub grub."
Good, because typical pub grub in England was until recently quite vile (crappy burgers, dried lasagnas, limp salads). It's the newer, trendier--and pricier--gastropub fare that's far better, and which Haven is aiming to emulate, by the sounds of it. And here's hoping they pull it off. After all, it's not just the big cheeses such as Gordon Ramsay who's had major success in the field--visit any English town with a population of more than about 12 and they're bound to have a gastropub. And a good one at that: Many of them serve better food than even decent London restaurants.
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We've not yet seen Haven's full menu, but we do know a few things that'll feature on it: Braised Bone-In Short Ribs with garlic carrot purée (yum!) and a dessert with an absurdly bad-taste name, Irish Car Bomb, a food version of the (in)famous cocktail, made with Guinness, Bailey's and Jameson whiskey. And if you're sick of increasingly posh sliders (what next, foie gras?), fear not: Haven serves a corned beef version instead. The hanger steak, at $20, sounds overpriced to me, even if it does come with a Cabernet demi-glace spiked with Mexican chocolate, but it looks like there'll be enough on the menu to satisfy a mix of budgets. Beers include microbrews and Belgian varieties.
We don't know much about Executive Chef Greg Daniels (yet), just that he used to work at Heat Ultra Lounge, Mesa and House of Blues.
As Edwin reminded me, Haven is only the second gastropub in OC, after Corona del Mar's formidable Crow Bar & Kitchen. Perhaps heavy comfort dishes and dark-wood interiors don't sit well with our stifling west-coast heat. But we're happy to see the brood expand. After all, Haven's opening is well timed, right on the cusp of fall and its (hopefully) lower temperatures.