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Just a few days before leaving Toronto en route to Colombia, my wife and I visited Auberge du Pommier as an intimate farewell dinner. Living in Hogg’s Hollow we often passed this enchanting restaurant, promising ourselves that we would soon make reservations and try it out. Well, almost a year and a half had passed by since we moved to the area and we had yet to to try it, but now the perfect occasion had presented itself.
We left our apartment on a cold and bright Saturday evening late February. After a five-minute stroll up Yonge street we were at the doors of a little cottage tucked away behind stunning gardens. We were cordially greeted and taken to our table, which had a window view of the front of the restaurant. With the moonlight reflecting off the snow outside, surrounded by pine trees, the setting couldn’t have been more perfect. Right away we knew this would be an unforgettable experience. But before I continue let me give you some information about this fabulous French restaurant.
Auberge du Pommier is owned by Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants, the creators of Bay Street’s now legendary Jump. Since then, Oliver & Bonacini has come to be recognized as one of Canada’s leading fine dining restaurant companies, operating eleven unique and restaurants in Ontario. Included are Canoe, one of Canada’s most celebrated dinning experiences, and of course, Auberge du Pommier, which has served impeccable French cuisine for over 25 years. Chef Marc St. Jacques has transformed Oliver and Bonacini’s fusty 26-year-old uptown flagship into one of the city’s most exciting places to eat.
The place has always been beautiful: the conjoined, wood-beamed Confederation-era cottages are draped in pale linens, and smooth servers lubricate the experience with grace and humour. Now the food is as impressive as the environment. Every dish is an ingenious blend of tradition and innovation. The menu titles are written in French.
The music ranges from Duke Ellington to xylophone jazz; it doesn’t range much past the 1950s. The cheapest à la carte dinner entrée costs $39 but I guarantee that it will be worth every penny! Take our menu selection for example:
Herb-roasted snails, speck ham, black garlic, capellini, and Époisses cream sauce.
Marinated bay scallops, baby shrimps, cured lemon, and spring fennel liqueur.
Confit of lamb shank, celery root purée, radicchio & cassis marmalade, with black trumpet mushroom jus.
48-day dry aged beef rib eye, ox tail, pomme surprise, onion relish, Fourme d’Ambert creamed kale.
Vanilla custard, apricot preserve, Sauternes gelee, white tea & apricot sorbet.
Both my wife and I shared the Soufflè Citron (although she really did have a lot more than I did) and I had a Hine Rare & Delicate Cognac which was exquisite; an aroma of barley sugar and violets, quite big flavours, with some tannin showing but good richness on the finish.
We paired our entrée with a bottle of 2011 Whitehall Lane Winery from Napa Valley, California.
Of the many excellent things I ate this year, this feast was one of the most memorable.