Dining in the cavernous Waterloo Inn with strangers was certainly different from, well, dining with strangers in the intimacy of Michael Stadtlander’s Eigensen’s Farm. For one thing, the chef was in the room dining (and speaking between courses) rather than in the kitchen, cooking. But, it was his menu, and all sourced with ingredients available from within 100 miles. And if not quite the refined taste sensation that the meal on his farm was—it was still pretty darn good. And very creative.
We managed to get a rare copy of the menu. Here we go.
Amuse: Harriston farms Rabbit Confit with Wellesley apple butter jam. Served with icewine from the Icehouse. [The confit approach gave the rabbit quite intense flavor. It was odd but good starting a meal with ice wine.]
Soiled Reputation [this is a Stratford area farm] sun choked bisque with crispy sun choked chips. [Jerusalem artichoke soup with crunchy bits in it. Really good.]
Fresh port Stanley pickerel on beetroot risotto with chive oil drizzle. Served with a riesling–maybe Inniskillin. [Fish nicely cooked, beets very delicious.]
Palette cleanser: Trius Carbernet Sauvignon and carrot ice shooter. [One of the most interesting items of the evening—a veggie sorbet flavored with good wine.]
Braised Berkeshire pork belly, slow roasted Cumbae Farms beef tenderloin and short ribs with Reif Cabernet Merlot demi. Served with Jackson Triggs Meritage. [Red meat three ways. All amazing–and I”m usually not that bowled over by the red meat thing. No problem with overdone beef here. The ribs were all crispy delicious fat.]
Soiled Reputation baby leaves, Baco Noir wine vinaigrette, Flax seed crisp topped with Niagara gold cheese and Mario Pingue prosciutto. [Now there’s a salad course.]
Wild flower honey and Harmony Dairy double cream brie cheesecake with maple poached apple chips and spiced plum compote from our courtyard. Served with a different house—one with a less apple taste than the first. [Ok, this was some strong cheese in that cake. Not like anything I’ve tasted. You really needed the ice wine to manage it. Then it all balanced out well.]
Biggest problem with the evening? The service. Well, in particular, the weirdly long wait between when the course served and finally getting the wine that went with it. Not cool when wine matching is part of the whole experience. At one point we actually grabbed a bottle and started serving ourselves…