We had the opportunity to try Winterlicious at Pangea this year. We usually pick only one Winterlicious experience and this year was supposed to be Celestin except for their semi draconian reservation rules (...about which I have previously whined) caused us to change our plans.
It was last Friday at 8:15 at the height of the last great storm and we trudged our way through the snow banks to a surprisingly full restaurant. Being the kind of people that love a long drawn out dinner we parked ourselves at the bar for some pre dinner cocktails. The bar staff initially a bit frazzled set us up with some drinks and later when things calmed down were very charming and helped with some wine suggestions.
After an hour at the bar we were given the table of our choice in the main dining room. We talked with the sommelier at the bar who throughout dinner was very helpful with our wine choices.
See my wine board post:
So for dinner we chose the following:
2 Dozen Oysters - St Simon, Marionport and Kumamoto
Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
Organic beet with baby greens, warm goat cheese, fried ginger and radish seedlings
Pear & Endive Salad
Roasted pear, shaved fennel, watercress, frisée, walnuts, Stilton cheese, mustard dressing
Seared rare, on a corn & saffron chowder, ribboned vegetables and potato gnocchi
Pan-roasted, maple baked brussel sprouts, with grapes, Ontario chestnuts, and Niagara Gamay reduction
Banana Coconut Cream Cake With mango puree
Honey-Vanilla Baked Apricots With orange-almond biscotti and Forme d’Ambert cheese
Maple Roasted Apples With katifi, crème fraiche, maple pecans, and snap cookie
The oysters were really excellent. Marionport and Kumamoto were the clear favourites. A little whinge here though, if you are going to spill ALL the liquor from the oyster I don't think I'm getting full value for my oyster dollar (actually $2).
The pear and endive salad was good with the exception of being a little light on the Stilton, but it is Winterlicious. The beet and goat's cheese salad was the clear winner though I only got one bite from it's owner. The cheese was lightly grilled and the beets flavoured with a earthy spice we thought to be cumin, a excellent combination.
The tuna was on the thinly sliced side and the not so impeccably fresh side. Overall not a bad dish and I suspect since we were the last dinners out of the kitchen maybe not as good as it was at the beginning of the evening. The sauce and gnocchi were tasty and an interesting complement to the tuna, which I think was billed as moonfish originally.
The venison was really excellent with a beautiful rich Gamay reduction and cooked to a perfect medium rare with charred edges. It was really the best dish of the night.
The banana cake was very good, nice and moist with that almost crunchy topping from the oven caramelizing the sugar . Just like Moms. The other two desserts were good though the Stilton shortage was an issue again.
Overall a very good Winterlicious experience. The staff were friendly and professional and went out of their way to ensure we enjoyed our evening. Personally I think the success of the menu can be attributed to the fact they served items currently on their menu which are tried and true. My 2 cents.