Showing posts with label duck breast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label duck breast. Show all posts

Auberge Avec Canoe (Toronto)

Something magical is happening at Auberge Du Pommier: Auberge avec Canoe, where the restaurants’ chefs are collaborating on special weekly menus that are still French, but with a lighter touch that’s perfect for the outdoor dining experience. Canoe’s affinity to Canadian ingredients is brought over and gives the dishes a refreshingly modern feel.

Having eaten at Auberge and Canoe on several occasions, the mash-up brings out the best in both restaurants. Possibly it’s due to a 4-month hiatus from a fancy meal, the copious amount of wine with dinner, or the fact the kitchen is dedicating all their attention to a mere dozen tables, but this was my best experience from the two establishments.

Their tasting menu ($80) begins with a loaf of pain au lait, the airy warm milk bread brimming with flavours – herbs baked into the bread and a delicate roasted shiitake & nori butter to spread over it. Any heaviness is offset by the pickled mushrooms with garlic scape served on the side. How did they get the scapes to taste so mellow?

In celebration of the land and sea, an oyster shell arrives with a bed on Haida Gwaii (in British Columbia) uni custard that’s silky and sweet. It goes nicely with the savoury chunks of seaweed-cured beef tartare mixed with smoked oyster that’s present in smell but disappears into the meat. As a contrasting crunch against the soft tartare, a mound of tart preserved white asparagus relish brings a lightness to the entire dish. Get a bit of everything in each bite as the combined flavours and textures is what makes the land and sea shine.

The three bites of foie gras parfait provided just enough decadence without leaving us feeling too full. The heavier mousse is balanced with the plum’s acid and edible florals, its silkiness enhanced by the bits of toasted torn brioche. This harmonious balance of indulgence vs. freshness, smooth vs. crunchy, and savoury vs. sweet is a common theme of the menu.

Perhaps the dish that was most Canoesque was the Ontario duck duo. The restaurant cooks meat beautifully and the lovely rendered duck breast was no exception, seasoned perfectly so that the fowl’s flavours weren’t masked with salt. A log of seared confit dark meat is the duo to the dish – so rich and flavourful that you’ll remember you’re indeed at a French restaurant.

If you’re not full already, the lovely fried panisse (a smooth carb that’s like polenta but milder) topped with miso cream and roasted cauliflower will leave you holding your stomach.

Auberge’s Ontario peach cobbler pays homage to the south with the typical biscuit substituted with a sweet corn bread. While the dessert could have been heavy, the lemon verbena custard gives it a bright finish along with the juicy peach slices throughout. By the end of dinner, it’s getting dark, so the caramel popcorn tucked around the cobbler provides an unexpected bite.

The final nibble is a cube of strawberry cheesecake that’s a great interpretation of the traditional dessert: creamy, buttery, and full of berry notes.

Just like another O&B experience, the COVID safety protocols are in full force: well-spaced tables, masks whenever you’re not eating, QR code menus, cutlery tightly wrapped in napkins, minimizing pouring of liquids in an effort to not contaminate food, and clearly marked walking ways so customers are not wandering around and remain socially distanced indoors.

Despite being reminded about the COVID conditions from all the procedures, Auberge’s terrace is serene and a wonderful retreat. The stone patio surrounded by trees wrapped in small lights transported us to another environment. And for a couple of hours, everything felt normal again. 

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


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

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:


La Banane (Toronto)


Most restaurants tend to feature an in-your-face bar: at Lavelle, theirs gleams and at Lena it takes up half a floor. La Banane replaces theirs statement bar with a cold seafood station instead – oysters, shrimp, and crab are displayed prominently and as enticingly as any bottle of alcohol.

In the end, it’s the Alaskan king crab ($52) we settled on, which takes a bit of work, but the crab’s salty tang is a succulent treat. In terms of condiments, the tried and true cocktail sauce was good, but the thick helping of crème fraiche needed an extra boost of herbs to stand up to the crab.


Covered with a thick paste of dill, brown butter, and caper tapenade, the topping on the albacore tuna ($16) was tasty but the thick layer excessive against the ratio of fish. After scraping some off, the briny bite goes wonderfully with the delicate fish, the rest I used to dip pieces of complimentary pretzel bread into.


Having seen pictures of their Eurobass en croute ($32), an entire fish wrapped in a salt pastry, it’s a dish I wouldn’t miss. First presented fully intact, the fish is then whisked back to the kitchen to have the top layer of pastry and skin removed before being re-presented with an ample boat of tangy yuzu beurre blanc.


Wow, can you taste the salt that permeates all the meat. Really, you don’t even need the citrusy butter sauce, although it was delicious. If only there weren’t strange orbs of zucchini dotting the fish.  Personally, I’d imagine using zucchini ribbons to replace the lattice of pastry would look and taste better.


At La Banane, seafood dominates the menu. To balance out the sea, we opted for the duck breast ($28), a protein that the French does so well. Hence, when I cut through what looked like well rendered skin to find it soggy and chewy, the dish took a dive. Another taste with the bitter grilled endive didn’t improve my perception.  


I’d stick with the flatiron steak ($25), the beef wonderfully tender and the soubise sauce incorporating an unexpected kick of grainy mustard that compliments the rich beef beautifully. The bar of pommes Anna (think scalloped potatoes but using ultra-thin slices of potatoes and butter in lieu of cream) was perhaps the best part of the meal. Why isn’t this a side that you can get more of?!


Rather, everyone seemed to get a pot of their pommes aligot ($12), the mashed potatoes incorporating so much mozzarella that its stringiness was taller than a supermodel’s legs. Think you can simply lift your spoon higher to get the cheesy potatoes out of the dish? Good luck.


Indeed, the molten fondue nature of the aligot is impressive, but you really have to love cheese. Aside from the gooey mozzarella, there’s something stronger (gruyère and emmental perhaps), just a few spoons and I had to tap out.  

We couldn’t bring ourselves to shell out the $50 to try to Ziggy Stardust disco egg. As a person who generally doesn’t like chocolate, after seeing the chocolate egg filled with truffles being presented at a neighbouring table, I’m glad we opted for the gateau à la banane ($12) instead. In spite of the cake looking like something a child makes in an Easy Bake oven, the flavours are spot on (a wonderful vanilla base with a creamy banana finish) and the slightly caramelized crust along the outside was fantastic.


For an almost healthy dessert, La Banane offers a roasted ananas ($10), the pineapple encapsulated in a lovely sugary crust that turns the fruit into dessert. It really didn’t go with the tofu pudding, but I rather enjoyed the beany hit from the tofu, which could have been a touch sweeter.


For the most part, La Banane’s food is good and the atmosphere is glitzy while still welcoming and comfortable. It’s their service that needs fine tuning. By no means are they unfriendly or inattentive, if anything, it might be too attentive.

Working in pairs, rather than a person per section, it seems like everything gets repeated – being asked if I wanted water when there’s already a glass in front of me or wondering if I needed a drink while waiting for dining companions. Moreover, I understand the importance of ensuring people are happy with their food, but when a group’s deep in conversation and dishes are relatively clear, I’d rather not have someone interrupt at each course. If anything, a touch point in between the appetizer and main course and at the end of the meal would be sufficient.

Perhaps I’m being nit-picky. After all, I’d rather enter a French restaurant without the Parisian snobbery. As for the overall experience, La Banane’s seafood is fresh and their sauces très délicieux, but all these best new restaurant accolades? I don’t get it. For me, they’re like a banana: dependable, but common.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 227 Ossington 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:


La Banane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato