Four foodies, including fellow chowhounder skylineR33 and myself, celebrated Canada's Day by having a mini-chowmeet at the highly touted 'Quatrefoil' in Dundas. The incentive behind our willing to make the long, hour plus, drive to a 'culinary wasteland' for dinner rested solely on the credential of the husband and wife ( owner/chef ) team. Both of them apparently honed their skills under two of the most demanding Michelin 3* chefs - Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White!
The restaurant was located in a converted residential house with a huge tree-lined patio. Interior decoration was 'white dominated' modern and the ambience warm and cozy.
Our party settled for the $85, 6 course tasting menu. For a corkage of $25, I brought along a 1990 J.J.Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese to pair with the foie gras and dessert courses. Other wines were ordered off the wine list as the meal progresses.
Detail of the meal is as follows:
- Bread selection with Chevril and Tarragon herbed butter. Hot to the hand and emitting gorgeous aroma, these breads must be one of the most delicious 'restaurant breads' in and around the GTA!
- Amuse Bouche - 'Minature cod croquettes with Chipotle aioli and roasted red pepper coulis'. Crispy shell with a creamy yet slightly chewy interior, the piping hot, savoury morsel was delicious and made a good start to the meal.
- Appertizer 1 - 'Sea Scallop, white asparagus, quail egg, broccoli sauce'. The giant, sweet tasting scallop was nicely seared and cooked to a perfect medium rare. The sunny side up quail egg was a nice touch, offering the yolk for the pieces of fried broccoli florets to be dipped into. We all needed extra spoons to scoop up the delicious creamy broccoli sauce ( or soup?! ).
- Appertizer 2 - 'Quail, Chorizo, fennel, goat cheese, tomato jam'. The crispy skin roasted quail was 'just a touch' over-cooked. However, this was perfectly understandable due to the small size of the bird and the fact that we are in 'conservative' Canada and not France. The presence of the Chorizo was to provide the salty component to the dish. Unfortunately, the spiciness of the sauage was a bit too overwhelming! Moreover, we were puzzled by the pairing of the shaved fennel with the thick goat cheese? A more delicate and tangy dressing might be more appropriate?
- Appertizer 3 - 'Foie Gras Torchon, saffron shallots, Jerusalem artichokes, pickled honey mushrooms, Vanilla cream'. First off, plate presentation of this dish was A+! One of the highlight dish of the evening! The smooth, creamy and well seasoned foie was superb. The array of accompliments especially the pickled mushrooms were tasty and most 'interesting'!
Our late-harvest Riesling provides an almost perfect pairing for this dish. BTW, though it was a 1990 'aged Riesling', this wine still exhibits youth and liveliness. Dark ambered colour with honeyed, pineapple, lychee, floral and just a hint of petrol nose and taste, this is a one superb and complex wine!
- Fish Course - 'Wild Scottish Salmon, pea and Mascarpone ravioli, asparagus, peas, Porcini cream'. Although I am not a fan of cooked salmon, however, I did give an approval nod to this perfectly cooked piece of ultra-fresh fish ( crisp outside and rare moist interior ). A testament to the skill of the kitchen! The flavour of both the ravioli and porcini cream were both delicious and very intense. However, the use of both cream and cheese rendered the dish a touch on the heavy side!
- Palette Cleanser - ' Plum and Rhubarb Sorbet'. This was way too sweet for my taste! Not wanting to let it spoiled rather than cleanse my palette, I left it almost untouched.
- Meat Course - ' Venison, baby turnips and carrots, herb spaetzle, carrot marmalade, foie gras sauce'. This was undoubtedly the 'miss' of the evening. Though the double smoked bacon wrapped Venison stripped loin was perfectly cooked, the overall presentation and taste of the dish was very ordinary. The overly creamy and tasteless herb spaetzle and the super-sweet carrot marmalade were a bit redundant and out of place. The root vegetables were undercooked and tasted bitter. All in all, we found this dish to have too many taste components and a bit too ' muddled'!
( By now, we have come to the conclusion that the kitchen has a strong tendency to provide some overly sweet accompliments for the main dishes. As well, the liberal use of cream and cheese rendered most sauces on the 'heavy side'! I have nothing against this 'heavy handed' approach except that I have to work out extra hard to get rid of those calories! Ha! )
Dessert 1 - ''Goat cheese cake, chocolate crumbs, Blackberry sauce and sorbet'. This gorgeous looking 'de-constructed cheese cake' looked more like a Heston Bleumanthal MG creation than a Gordon Ramsay one. Beautiful to the eyes and tasty to the palette, however, once again, I found the S-shaped piece of cheese to be way too heavy, especially towards the end of a multi-course meal!
Dessert 2 - A complimentary ' Dark chocolate fudge topped with dark chocolate wafer, marshmallow and caramel sauce paired with a 10 year old Tawny Port'. It was good, but by now, I was stuffed and my taste buds started to feel numb!
Mignardise - ' Chocolate truffles and Black berries jello '. Too full to eat anymore, just a minute nip to get a taste of the products.
Overall, eventhough there were both hits and misses, the meal on the whole was an enjoyable one and very good value ( Toronto Life's 3* rating was quite correct ). Service was a delight with both wait staff and management extremely friendly, efficient and attentive.
However, in my opinion, it was the 'great company' that made the meal a memorable one!!