Last month, I headed to Canoe for the first time! :D I cannot tell you how excited I was. That evening, Canoe was having a special one-night collaboration dinner with Société-Orignal so that really put things over the top. I was really on the fence about writing this post because the lens I brought with me doesn’t take photos well in low light but I still wanted you to see what kind of dishes they came up with! So please bear with me photo-wise.
Most of you know have heard about Canoe, the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant on the 54th floor of the TD tower. At the helm are Chef Anthony Walsh (@Chefwalsh) and Chef John Horne (@ChefHorne). Their philosophy of highlighting local ingredients marries perfectly with Québec’s Société-Orignal’s (@societeorignal) manifesto of bridging the gap between farmers/grocers and chefs who share the same love of the “terroir”. They come up with some super creative products using (mostly) northern Québec ingredients.
Dundundun!! Here we are just outside! For those who drive, there is underground parking available (free with validation for dinner guests after 5:30pm on weeknights and all-day on weekends).
On top of all the special products to be used in the dishes, there was also this: De L’Aubier sap water from Maison Eau Matelo in Québec. It’s the sugar-free sap (maple) water that’s leftover from the maple syrup production process. This kind of still water (the only one in the world!) undergoes natural purification. You should read about the entire process online (HERE), it’s really fascinating!!
Bread to start. There was a red fife sourdough (baked fresh that morning!) along with two other breads in there. Pumpkin or sunflower seed too? To the side, an aubergine sweet pea dip.
Throughout the meal, several different people, including sommelier Will Predhomme, Chef Horne, Alex Cruz and Vanessa Niewerth from Société-Orignal and different servers would come around, asking how we found everything. The service was super attentive and they genuinely care about how you felt about the food! I understand now why this is Andrew’s favourite restaurant…not that I can afford to eat here regularly.
*Big thanks to Chef Horne for sending over the notes for each dish! (and thanks Andrew for asking for them in the first place.)
Amuse bouche: Colville Bay Oyster Carpetbagger“raw oyster rolled with dulse, mustard, horseradish and then wrapped with Ontario Beef and seared, dressed with a dulse vin”.
If you’re like me and have no clue what dulse means, it’s a seaweed, deep red or purple in colour from Atlantic Canada. Every single dish had new ingredients or elements that I’ve never had before. Here, it was the combination of oyster wrapped with beef. It’s a pretty big amuse…but a mad delicious one.
Course 1 : Wild Boar Charcuterie
“Alberta Wild Boar House made Prosciutto Cotto, Smoked Jowel, Rillette and Terrine. Granished with Black Mustard seeds, Immature Juniper Berries, Pretzel Toast & Campfire Quail Egg”. This was Andrew’s app. According to him, this was a perfect charcuterie plate.
Course 1: Scallop Ceviche“West Coast Scallops- East Coast seaweeds refreshed in Apple cider, Clay pepper dust, celeriac Remoulade & sea Urchin Bottarga, and finished with Apple cider vin Foam”. Sea urchin bottarga! If I remember correctly, 9 months. That’s how long they cured the uni for in order to arrive at their final product. Alex said that it was their first time doing this so the process took a little longer.
The flavor is quite concentrated but its punch adds just the right finishing touch to this seafood appetizer. The clay pepper dust and apple cider seaweed are also Société-Orignal products.
Course 2: Lobster
"From Yarmouth, Sweetbreads poached in milk then breaded with camelina seeds, Cauliflower risotto with raw and seared cauliflower and finished with camelina oil”
You’ll notice a trend here but essentially, I have but high praise for every single dish that we had. Although, the cauliflower here in the risotto messed with my head a bit because I thought it was underdone risotto at first.
Course 2: Hare Tortellini
“Wild Quebec Hare braised 8 hrs and rolled into a tortellini, Matsutake broth, Rye bread croutons from our bakery tossed with sweet fern and caramelized onion to finish”
Course 2: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup“creamy Artichoke soup, Maple braised St Canut Pork Belly, Globe artichokes, Crispy sunchokes and aged sunflower seed oil”. Chef Horne came out with two cute pots of this for us. Thank you!! I’m not one for eloquence when it comes to my first impression of what I eat. For this, it was quite close to “ohyeah. Ohhh yeah. That’s the good stuff”. It’s just starting to get nippy outside so this soup was perfect. How they got so much flavour from Jerusalem artichokes is beyond me.
Palate cleanser: winter green? I’m sure I’m getting it wrong but it was very refreshing and definitely prepared us for the meat ahead.
Course 3: Venison Loin
“Quebec duck breasts smoked with Wild tea flavours, Rye berries, foie gras, Northern Woods Mushrooms and whiskey jus”. The word perfect should not be used this many times in a review but that’s the best way to describe the dishes, as bland as that word may be. You can see in the not-very-well-focused photo that the duck is perfectly cooked (here I go again with that word) and the foie to the side was so extra. But more than welcomed. ;)
Course 4: Apple Mousse Pie "Niagara apple mousse, Caramelized Apple hash with pecans, cheddar ice cream & Balconville cider vin”
Course 4: Lemon Chiffon Cake “Sea buckhorn curd, white chocolate and wild rose mousse with citrus crisp”. It wasn’t my birthday! But this meal was a belated birthday present (thanks Andrew!). He probably told them when I left the table for a minute or two. I’m just glad no one made a huge deal of it!
While the chiffon cake was great, it was the meringue dots, mint and lychee to the side that made me love this dessert.
After dinner, we chatted some more with Will (who expertly paired wines to each course! By the way, I’m still searching for that Neige Apple Cidre you paired with the Jerusalem artichoke soup! I MUST have it. :D) and Alex. We went to say thank you to the chefs and were invited into the kitchen to snap a few photos.
I tried to be as much of a wallflower as I could to stay out of everyone’s way. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by this but I still am. These guys run such a well-oiled machine that regardless of the size of the kitchen, there’s no one bumping into each other or any cursing.
To answer your question/confirm your observation, yes, that is the CN tower and the rogers centre! How cool is that! To dine with such a fine view outside, I was very lucky.
Last but not least, I haven’t done one of these in awhile. Here’s a gif of the restaurant. I couldn’t get a pano shot right so I felt this was the next best way to show you what the restaurant looks like inside!
O&B site, complete with very sharp photos. ;)
**Here's Cory Mintz (food writer at Toronto Star) post on his blog, porkosity all about Société-Orignal.
5 out of 5 NOMs