So I know this post is extremely late, but better late than never right! Winterlicious is one of my favourite food events because it’s an excuse to try new restaurants and get a three course meal when you normally wouldn’t dare. For Winterlicious round #1, Adry and I went to Canoe with five of our girlfriends. I’d heard great things about Canoe so I was PRETTY excited. I studied the menu numerous times before going (worst decision making problem) but I still struggled when it came time to ordering. Here’s the menu…what would you choose?!
Winter Green Salad
Charred Pear, Aged Cheddar & Caramelized Onion Vinaigrette
Roasted Squash & Parsnip Soup
Birch Yoghurt & Spiced Croutons
Sheep’s Milk Quark
Baby Greens, Beet Reduction & Crisps
Maple Braised Willowgrove Pork
Orecchiette, Crackling, Kale & Thunder Oak Gouda
Slow Cooked Ontario Brisket
Steel Cut Oats, Red Wine Cabbage & Cedar Pickled Mustard Seeds
Smoked Pan Seared Heritage Salmon
Wilted Greens, Horseradish Slaw, Wild Rice & Swede Broth
Maple Gingerbread Pudding
Cranberry Preserve & Scorched Citrus Crème Anglaise
Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta
Marshmallow Graham Cracker Crumb
Niagara Apple Compote & Salted Caramel Sauce
I ended up choosing the squash and parsnip soup, the brisket, and finally the almond cake. I was extremely happy with my choices and surprisingly had no regrets! We also opted for the wine pairing which truly complimented each meal…and gave us a nice day buzz #thebest. We sat at a round table right in the corner with a miraculous view of the city and water. The waiter was incredibly knowledgeable and professional, taking his time to explain the preparation and fusion of flavours, and how the wine helped to enhance them. Lastly, the sparkling added touch was how seven waiters came to the table each time to carefully place our meals in front of us. It’s a good thing we dressed up!
The Roasted Squash and Parsnip Soup with birch yoghurt and spiced croutons was phenomenal. I seriously love soup. Emeril Lagasse once said you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of its soup because it seems simple but a GREAT soup requires a lot of depth and experience. This soup definitely defined Canoe because it was rich with flavour without being too thick; it was refined and widely appealing. A classy, fresh soup with the added touch of spiced croutons! For you soup lovers out there in Toronto, here’s a great article for you – The Best Soup in Toronto.
How does one describe the Slow Cooked Ontario Brisket with steel cut oats, red wine cabbage & cedar pickled mustard seeds? It was heaven. The meat was cooked perfectly. I read up on how they make it so tender afterwards (thank goodness it was after) and it’s slow cooked with a fat cap on top aka a deckel, so the collagen and fat between the muscle tissues melt, rather than burn or sear. So worth it! The steel cut oats were surprisingly good, as they had a nice texture (I thought it would be like porridge) and great flavour from the red wine cabbage sauce. Sauce is always key with meat dishes and this one was finger licking good…but of course I didn’t lick my fingers at Canoe!
After two wonderful courses and two glasses of wine, came the Almond Cake with Niagara Apple Compote & Salted Caramel Sauce accompanied by a light dessert wine. Usually I find these types of cakes boring and dry, but this was moist, fragrant, and a nice balance between sweet and salty (both not over powering). The same can be said for the dessert wine, as it wasn’t too sweet and definitely enhanced the flavours of the cake. It was a beautiful way to end the Canoe experience!
Overall, I loved this restaurant experience with my girlfriends. While the crowd was a bit older and the decor more refined than we’re used to, it exceeded my expectations and I would go back in a heart beat. Hopefully it will be on someone else’s tab though 😉
Visit Canoe by Oliver & Bonacini to see their menu and gallery!