Showing posts with label bouillabaisse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bouillabaisse. Show all posts

Auberge Du Pommier Revisited in 2017 (Toronto)


After a positive and negative experience at Auberge du Pommier a couple years back, a return visit was in order to see if the exemplary service continues. Glancing into the private event room at the entrance, there wasn’t an occasion on the Friday night visit, good news for us already. We were greeted promptly at the door and shown to the table right away. Service was attentive and unhurried, what you’d imagine a fine dining restaurant to exude.

With spring came a lighter menu. The poured-at-table bouillabaisse ($24) was thick and silky, with an ingenious addition of crispy ginger for an expected zip. The actual seafood was surprisingly scant but well prepared: pieces of barely cooked Fogo Island cod, sweet flakes of crab, delicate mussels, and a couple of sweet petite shrimp. The piece of toasted pita with saffron aioli on top was a tad dry, I just stuck with the delicious baguettes that arrive with the bread basket instead.


For those who like cheese and fruit combinations, the camembert royale ($22) is an interesting appetizer - half a baked apple stuffed with a creamy camembert custard gives the dish a sweet, savoury, and tart combination. Adorned with asparagus, artichokes and black truffle, the starter has a light but rich quality.


While the homard thermidor ($55) was barbecued, the lobster wasn’t overly smoky. Additionally, despite incorporating a variety of aromatic ingredients such as leeks, morels, Dijon Mornay and hollandaise, it didn’t feel overdone and you could still taste the plump crustacean. Typically, this dish is part of their tasting menu, but you’re advised every dish can also be ordered a la carte. In this instance, Auberge should consider augmenting the sides as the lobster really didn’t feel like a main with the meagre spears of asparagus and cubes of potato.


The fletan ($45), part of their a la carte menu, was a more fulsome dish. The butter-poached halibut was a hefty portion and cooked wonderfully so it remained moist and meaty. Aside from the fish there were so many other elements: a beautiful garlicky razor clam; a tasty but overcooked tomato spätzle that went surprisingly well with everything; and a buttery gasconne sauce that paired wonderfully with the fish. All the flavours were great with the halibut, which is normally such a neutral fish.


None of the desserts were enticing so we stuck with the tried and true cheese course, which arrives with plenty of crostini, a berry compote, and cube of sweet sticky honeycomb. 



Choosing three French cheeses ($18), the selection had various firmness for interest: a soft Brillat-Savarin, a triple cream cow's milk cheese from Normandy that simply melted on the tongue; a semi-hard abondance that's stronger, but still not overpowering from Haute-Savoie; and the firmer comté that has an interesting almost spicy finish to it. The generous portions of each were perfect for sharing amongst two.  


The petit four selection, arriving with the bill, is such a satisfying finish. The soft and fudgy chocolate macaron was delicious, the lemon poppy seed madeleine decent, and a chocolate truffle with a crisp shell that breaks a part to release a whipped ganache with the consistency of butter cream frosting. Tasty to the last bite.


I’m glad to see Auberge’s service level hasn’t faltered. In fact, staff were so friendly that I couldn’t help but watch interactions between a waiter and table of three older women beside us. As they were having difficulties reading the menus in the dim lighting, being tech savvy they took out their phones and shone the screens on the menu. Seeing this, the waiter introduced them to the flashlight function, much to their delight. He took the time to show each of them how to use it and later when they stopped him again, he helped them navigate to the light once again. A great above and beyond example, demonstrating why Auberge continues to impress.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4150 Yonge Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Auberge du Pommier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Oar & Paddle (Gravenhurst)


Aside from an endless supply of baked goods, a cottage vacation usually means taking a break from buying food and preparing it ourselves. After being in the sun and relaxing, it’s nice to take time to cook and not abide by schedules. Nonetheless, one evening we gave the barbeque a rest and made our way into the quaint main street in Gravenhurst for dinner.  

When a menu proclaims something as the restaurant’s “famous” dish, I’m intrigued and will give it a try - an order of the deep fried chicken wings ($12.99 for 10 pieces) started us off while waiting for the mains. With thirteen sauces and seasonings to choose from, the Oar & Paddle has a decent selection. The sweet and spicy Thai lived up to its name in terms of flavour and the wings were good – juicy, crispy, freshly out of the fryer, and covered with an ample amount of sauce. Certainly not the best wings I’ve ever eaten, but would likely be a top 20 contender.


For a city by the water, I thought their bouillabaisse ($19.99) would be equally satisfying. To be fair, it had the beginnings of being a promising dish with a nice selection of seafood: perch, shrimp and mussels. Except for the shrimp, which were slightly overcooked, the others arrived flaky and plump.

However, what makes a bouillabaisse nourishing is a hot hearty broth – something aromatic that hits the nose as soon as the dish arrives and a depth that makes you want to drink every last drop. Somehow, the lukewarm lackluster tomato and clam broth just didn’t cut it. At first excited to see the bouillabaisse would be served with both rice and grilled baguette (more vessels to soak up the broth), the rice was probably a poor choice as the hunk of cooled made-hours-ago starch ultimately left the soup tepid.

My husband was smart and stuck with the steadfast fish and chips ($16.99), a popular choice amongst the diners. The haddock was encapsulated in a crispy beer batter - although it could stand to be harder in the centre, the crunchy edges I tried were wonderful. The fries were also hot, plentiful and satisfying. And thankfully, the restaurant made their own tartar sauce so had plenty of gherkins and flavour – I’m amazed at the number of places that ruin fish and chips by giving the packaged Heinz variety.


The Oar & Paddle is a Muskoka favourite and the place was full (both in the dining room and patio) during our Thursday evening visit… you’ll want to make a reservation. Laid back and homey, you don’t feel judged arriving in whatever you’ve been wearing at the cottage that afternoon (covered up of course). Just heed my advice and stick with the pub favourites, anything not grilled or deep fried may result in disappointment.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Gravenhurst, Canada
 Address: 530 Muskoka Road North

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Oar and Paddle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chabrol (Toronto)

Chabrol Toronto


Ruth Reichl writes in Garlic and Sapphires, “Restaurants free us from mundane reality; that is part of their charm. When you walk through the door, you are entering neutral territory where you are free to be whoever you choose for the duration of the meal.” Dining at Chabrol provides this illusion, suddenly I’m transported to Southern France, stepping into a quaint café, sipping wine as I joke around with a handsome tattooed French man.

The smell of melting butter and cooking shellfish is intoxicating, I was marveled by Chef Penfold’s ability to produce such delicious creations from two induction burners that makes my four top range at home look palatial.


Although the cool riesling poached foie gras ($19) had a silky smooth consistency that simply glided across the tongue, its slightly gamey after taste threw me off. I tried to mute it by using the refreshing black currant sauce smeared on the plate.

Chabrol Toronto: foie gras

Baked in parchment paper, the papillote of whitefish ($29) steams in its own juices and leeks infuse their aromatic essence into it. Cooked to perfection, the light fish was flaky and moist. The fish was accompanied with sea asparagus (like thinner French beans) and swiss chard before being topped off with vermouth beurre blanc at the table.

Chabrol Toronto: white fish

The ballotine of chicken ($29) was the sole disappointing dish. To be fair, my dinner companions enjoyed it and perhaps it’s because I tasted the chicken last and received an end piece but found the meat dry and tasteless. Trying to revive the chicken by dipping it into the vibrant green watercress soubise was no help as my taste buds have a heightened sense for bitter flavours. At least the roasted fennel and apple were good, but these sides can hardly save an entire dish.

Chabrol Toronto: chicken

All can be forgotten as Chabrol’s ttoro ($29), a bouillabaisse from Southern France, is simply sublime. The rich seafood broth is infused with green peppers, garlic and such a well-rounded feel from saffron. As the soup is dispensed at the table, the fragrance is so tantalizing that it took immense self-control to not dig in while the pouring continued. Of course, the seafood was well executed: the fish flaky, the mussels juicy and shrimps sweet.

Chabrol Toronto: Ttoro

Best yet, with the dish, the sommelier gave us a lesson as to what Chabrol means: essentially adding a splash of wine to dilute the remaining broth, bringing the bowl to your lips and finishing everything off straight from the bowl. We didn’t gulp the remnants, instead using it to dunk more of the great in-house baked crusty bread into. Forget letting the alcohol burn off, the remaining concoction tastes of wine, a dish straddling between food and drink.

Chabrol Toronto: chabrol

Do yourself a favour and get an order of the potato gratin ($12); not only does it smell amazing, the taste rendered me speechless. The thinly sliced potatoes are covered with a rich cantal cheese mixture (a semi-hard cheese that’s similar to aged cheddar) and thyme. Getting an order of this with a side salad would make for a perfect meal in itself.

Chabrol Toronto: potato gratin

After hearing so much about Chabrol’s apple tarte ($13), I couldn’t leave without trying it. Chef Penfold painstakingly stands over a double boiler whisking together eggs, sugar and calvados (an apple brandy produced in Normandy) until it becomes a smooth luscious sabayon. Indeed, it takes a while, but it’s well worth the wait and if you’re in a rush just order the dessert before the mains are complete.

Chabrol Toronto: apple tartThe large disc of puff pastry is airy and crisp; despite the strong buttery essence it wasn’t greasy. Ample amounts of paper-thin apples rests on top and the liberal dusting of sugar sweetens it just enough. It’s a fantastic dessert, the best I’ve had over the last year.  

Normally, I’d prefer sitting at a table, but gathering around the bar makes for such a jovial atmosphere. Where else can you joke with the handsome sommelier and converse with other diners? Even Niall McCotter, co-owner of the restaurant, swung by a few times to chat with us. He informed us that in the summer Chabrol will be expanding outdoors with an additional 20 seats, an outdoor kitchen and a champagne cart (which may or may not be manned by McCotter himself).

Thank you Chabrol for the delightful dinner and for a couple of hours freeing me from the cold Toronto winter … instead transporting me into a warm and welcoming French café.  


Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 90 Yorkville Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Chabrol Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato