The fact that Toronto is obsessed with food is not a huge surprise. However, the trend is that the food itself triumphs over all else. This has resulted in restaurants with no space, no reservations, and often with no service. While we don’t disagree on the importance of food over ambiance, waiting in line to be cramped into ridiculously small restaurants or events gets tiring.
Luckily, Toronto is still home to true fine dining establishments, one of which is Auberge du Pommier. Typically out of our budget, and not being a fan of ‘licious crowds, we continually passed over this little house in North York. However, when we learned our friend E would be leaving the team at Auberge, we decided it was definitely time for a visit.
Our meal began with olives and bread (which I’m sure you can imagine without a photo.) The bread available that night included an apple sourdough, french baguette, and whole wheat, provided throughout the meal by a friendly server. A tasty ricotta-like cheese with honey and black pepper was provided alongside instead of butter.
The next dish appeared to be an adorable pear, but was actually a delicately fried frog leg atop an almond studded mayo sauce, surrounded by dabs of dill puree. Often presented as a gift from the chef, it was a delicious and memorable first dish.
The first course listed on the Menu Gourmand is the foie gras dish – a grande finale plate presented at the Canadian Culinary Championships (which chef Marc St. Jacques won). Cake-like in appearance, the foie gras mousse is sandwiched between a black sesame base, and soy jelly top. Combined with the tart lemon curd, shiso leaves, and crunchy sesame puffs, this dish was an interesting combination of flavours and textures, and paired well with the Albert Mann Auxerrois.
Next on the menu was the fanciest pasta I’ve ever had, and my favourite dish of the night. A rich bundle of spaghettini was topped with uni, paired with a perfectly seared scallop, and sprinkled with truffle and a dab of lime curd.
This dish featured a fully de-boned quail reformed into a ball, and a single quail leg. I really appreciated the detail in the accompaniment to the meat – the little scoops of cucumber, slivers of olive and segments of orange. M joked that the dish was a very fancy take on orange chicken. I think at this point we switched to a Mission Hill Reserve Shiraz.
Next we were presented with a palate cleanser. Cubed apple, celery, fennel and apple jelly topped a panna cotta. While the fruit and vegetables were refreshing, we found the panna cotta a touch heavy for a palate cleanser.
The last savoury dish of the night was tender suckling pig, served with carrot puree, cubes of charred pineapple, baby carrots, and a ladle of pineapple vinegar. While the flavours of the dish were perfect and the jus extremely rich, P disliked the texture of her meat.
As a lover of chocolate, I was eagerly awaiting dessert. What arrived definitely exceeded my expectations. While the gelato and “cake” were good, the best part was definitely the dark chocolate croquette, lightly fried with a touch of salt, and the innards semi-liquid perfection.
After coffee and tea, we were presented with some final sweets – blood orange jellies and macarons. The macarons came in flavours we all loved – lemon, creme brulee and black sesame, creating a dilemma as to how we could each taste all of the flavours. Overall, I felt that the macarons were quite sweet, but served as a nice tie-in with the citrus and black sesame from the beginning of the meal.
As Auberge du Pommier was nearing the end of service that night, E invited us for a tour of the kitchen. It was a great to have a chance to peek behind the scenes, in the fridges, and prep areas, as well as to meet the chef himself, Marc St. Jacques!
Auberge du Pommier is definitely a restaurant worth returning to, especially for special occasions. The excellent food and service will guarantee a memorable night!
Friday Evening, March 15, 2013.
Auberge du Pommier
4150 Yonge St, Toronto