Monday, 18 March 2013

Peller Estates Winery Restaurant

290 John Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON


In her opinion:
This is our fifth blog post about Peller Estates Winery Restaurant! So have you guessed yet that it's one of our favourites?

So when Fabulicious 2013 came around, it was only natural that we decided to visit this restaurant. It's menu was definitely appealing that we gave up trying somewhere new to return to this old favourite.

We were shown to our table in the separate dining room where we had previously enjoyed our Afternoon with Jason meal back in July, 2011. It had been set up to accommodate larger parties.

Our server Le-Anne was fabulous. She was very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about both the food and wine she was serving. She took our drink orders right away. I opted for the special Fabulicious Cocktail comprising of Riesling Icewine, orange juice and grenadine. 

This was a delightful cocktail. The combination of flavours worked really well together. It wasn't too sweet. A really nice and refreshing drink.

For my appetizer, I picked the "Riesling Steamed P.E.I. Mussels". It is described on the menu as a combination of "black garlic, pristine mustard and oven dried tomatoes".

I love mussels. These were so so delicious that when I was done I actually checked each individual shell to see if I had missed any! The black garlic, pristine mustard and oven dried tomato worked beautifully together. It was served with a slice of toast spread with a fabulous garlic spread! An excellent start to the meal.

For my main, I picked "Chanteclaire Chicken Pot Pie". It consisted of "Roasted Chicken, Woodland Mushrooms and Flaky Puff Pastry". It was served with an apple, arugula and walnut salad.

Let me begin with the most surprising aspect on the board...the apple and arugula salad. This was so delicious. These flavours worked beautifully together. I loved the crunch of walnuts.
The chicken pot pie can be described as pure comfort. A perfect choice for a late winter lunch. There was a tinge of tarragon in the sauce which heightened the flavours of the filling. The puff pastry was indeed flaky and the whole thing was incredibly good!

For my dessert, I picked the "Chocolate Blackout Cake". It was served with "caramel sauce and chocolate mousse". 

This was the best dessert of the whole weekend. I do love chocolate and put caramel in the mix and I am an extremely happy girl. The cake itself was moist and flavourful. It had a layer of crunch between it and the delicious chocolate mousse. So so good. 

Overall, our lunch at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant was fabulous! It was the perfect ending to a perfect culinary weekend. 

In his opinion:
You would think I own shares in this restaurant or in Hillbrand Estates given that we eat here so often. Many blogged visits and many other times without blogging, this is surely one of our favourite restaurants to dine in.

Why you ask? It's actually simple...of course the level of cuisine is stellar, the menus have a healthy dose of wine and ice wine inspirations, the setting is gorgeous and of course, celebrity chef Jason Parsons at the helm of this well run ship. It just really comes down to being an extremely consistent overall great dining experience.

For anyone that has never visited Peller or dined at its namesake restaurant, you are surely missing out on a lot. The saying "it's worth the drive to" certainly applies to Peller Estates and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Region in general.

Ok...onto the food already! This was Niagara's Fabulicious event, similar to Toronto's Winterlicious but without highlighting the obvious...the Winter part!
The menu at Peller looked extremely inviting (as usual) so we booked a lunch for a Sunday.

We were seated in the adjacent room as the main dining area was full but it is a part of the restaurant we enjoy, giving us good memories of our "Afternoon with Jason" event, one that you also must try so check for more info.

I started by ordering a glass of Pinot Noir, which by the way has come a long way in the Niagara Region. I don't think it's at the level of winning worldwide awards yet but very good indeed, especially this "Private Reserve 2010". I then, quickly made my selections as I had an idea before hand of what I wanted from the menu.

For my appetizer, I ordered the "ice wine corn chowder with cured bacon and saffron cream". The menu mentioned little neck clams but either they were too "little" or I had too much wine already because I didn't notice them.
The chowder was creamy perfect consistency and paired beautifully with the 
saffron cream that was delightful. The tiny strips of cured Bacon were the perfect texture contrast and a highlight of the dish.

For my entree, I went really different and ordered the burger. Not that I don't usually order burgers, just not a restaurants like Peller. The "braised beef and horseradish burger" somehow sounded interesting and I also know that it's not an item that Peller carries normally, so I ordered it. It was an amazing choice, with the braised beef taking center stage. It was my first time having braised beef as a patty on a burger and truthfully, I quite enjoyed it. Soft, tasty and a great compliment to the condiments and toppings of the burger. It was served with "thyme poutine", another well prepared side that was also great.  There was the option to add lobster for $5 but since I had lobster that morning for breakfast, I passed but certainly a great option for the money.

For dessert, I picked the "maple pecan tart". Three of my favourite things together in one dessert has to be commendable as if Jason knew what I liked. This dessert came on a bed of "creme Anglaise" and topped with chantilly cream. Overall, this rather simple dish was a winner and crafted very well.

To top the evening, Jason came to see us at our table as he usually does, even though we know how busy he usually is, especially at Fabulicious time. He also made the day of a young foodie in training, a friend of ours - Jacob, by taking a picture with him and giving him and his mother Liz a tour of the Peller Kitchen.

It's hard not to be amazed by the level of engagement with customers that is evident every time we visit Peller. Jason is truly a great person, with amazing customer service skills that is not always a trait of a chef with his profile as one of the top celebrity chefs in Canada. Thank you to Jason and his staff.

The Good: Great tasting food, wine and service, great company, and a few moments with Jason made it an excellent lunch. The burger was devine!
The Bad: No bad to report, wish Peller was closer to my house I suppose...
The Verdict: All the people that we have recommended this restaurant to, as well as all the friends we have brought to dine with us there, have all loved it and for some it has become their favourite restaurant. To me, that speaks as loud as their "Extraordinary" rating by Zagat or the top 10 distinction of Best overall dining experience by Simply a great experience.

I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating

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