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Sep 25, 2010 08:44 PM

Langdon Hall Dinner - Lacking 'Wow' Factor and Quantity!


Just came back from a $95, five course tasting menu at Langdon Hall.

The verdict: I was extremely disappointed!

Food was OK with only one dish providing close to a 'Wow' experience. To echo fellow chowhounder 'Miranda''s remark, I too have been to over a dozen Relais and Chateaux establishments all over the world. Langdon Hall is the 'last' place on my list! In fact, food wise, it is no where close to any of the Michelin stars rated R & C establishments in France I have frequented!!

The meal detail is as follows:

- Amuse Bouche - Spotted prawn with house made aoili.
'Overcooked prawn, the normal sweetness overwhelmed by the mayo like aioli'.

- Poached Colville Bay Oysters, Late season Garlic, Soused Beets, Cured Foie Gras, Pickled Melon, Golden Beet Aioli, Thai Basil.
'Aioli again?! We only got 'one' oyster! Not the 's' as described on the menu! Overall, nothing special. Cured foie gras was way too salty though!'

- Digby Scallops smoked and Marinated. Braised Kyoto eggplant, Dry Sherry, Cucumber, Banana Shallot, GingerAigre-Doux..
'A nice dish with flavourful scallops and eggplant. Sauce was delicious. Thank God! I was getting worried!'

- Pickerel and Mustard Seed. Pork Hock,Celery Leaves,Celeric, Creme Fraiche.
'The fish was overcooked! A Relais & Chateaux like Maison Troigros will never do that!! Mustard sauce was very tasty! Almost enough to compensate for the cooking mishap! Question?!! - Why the pork hock?'

- Slow Roasted Venison. Bibb lettuce, Broccoli Flowers, Le Cru du Clocher, Burnt Onion Crumble, Simmered Tendons, Sweet Onion Jus.
'Finally, a dish worthy of my applause!! The venison, cooked rare, was sooooo tender and flavourful. The tendons was a nice touch. But the stand out was the sauce!! Wow!! Finally, a dish worthy of Michelin consideration!'

Dessert - Concord Grape Millefeuille. Vanilla Yogurt Mousse, Concord Grape Jelly, Grape Sorbet, Almond Daquoise, Champagne foam.
'Dessert tasted as good as it looks'.

Petite Four to round things off.

In conclusion, if Michelin decide to come and rate Ontario establishments. IMO, Langdon Hall will only get a 'border line' one star. In fact, comparing to some of the tasting menus I had in the past such as those from Susur, Scaramouche, Splendido, George, Truffles, Perigee, Canoe, N44...etc. Langdon Hall's version fell short when compare to the aforementioned group! Couple with the stingy portion, there is no point for any Torontonians to 'drive over an hour' for this over-priced, mingy and over-rated food!
May be a-la-carte dishes might fare better??!!


Langdon Hall
1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8, Canada

  1. Your description shows a lot of ill fitting contrivances. Like the pork hocks. And how possibly can foie gras be cured, with the dense fat content?

    Spotted prawn season is over in July, so they are insulting patrons with a frozen item.

    The photos show a scattered array of sauces, which I would send back.

    9 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      May be one can 'cured' foie gras by putting the whole lobe in brine?
      I still manage to see some 'live' spotted prawns in Chinese supermarket only a few days ago. Not sure from BC or Florida?
      Most 'modern' plate presentation nowadays have sauces 'scattered' around. Susur is a fine example. Almost every dish I had at NYC's WD-50 was like that too! Doubt its an acceptable excuse to send the plate back. May be you are just used to ' Da Vinci' and not 'Dali'??!! Ha!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Thank you Charles, I really owe you one now!

        I have 4-5 friends to whom I owe a blow out dinner. LH (which by chance I have never visited) was the front runner. You have saved me a lot of time and money.

        I find it stupifyingly short-sighted that these restaurants with such low (%) food costs are so lacking in generosity. Saving $2/head on a $95 meal (before wine etc.) turns a willing diner into an unhappy diner and unhappy diners are a restaurant's worst nightmare.

        Did you have to stop for a burger on the way home?

        I have had occasion to augment tasting menus at both Susar and Cava with a burger.

        BTW, should you ever feel peckish on the trip back to the city from LH, stop in at the "Fifth Wheel" in Milton for meatloaf and mashed potatoes (about $10)!

        1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA

        1. re: sumdumgoy

          I was actually thinking about having a bowl of wonton noodle!!

          I did notice the big water tower with the big Milton sign on it and wondered what's there in Milton. Now I know! Milton = Meat Loaf!! Ha!

          Nowadays, for tasting menu, George is the place!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Thanks Charles!

            I will try George and also your Dim Sum rec. Kar Lun this week!

            As always, best to you and happy eating!!

      2. re: jayt90

        On what grounds would you send the dish back jayt90?

          1. re: millygirl

            Because there is is not enough sauce to savor with the food.
            Actually, I ask the server to make sure there is enough sauce, in addition to the decorative plate.
            They put effort into it , and should provide enough for my enjoyment.
            It is not usually a problem, as they are proud of their sauces in many places.

            1. re: jayt90

              I'm sure that goes over real well jayt90 LOL.

              Personally I would be quite horrified if my DC did something like that. Unless of course we were at Swiss Chalet or something along those lines.

          2. re: jayt90

            cured foie is not so uncommon, had it years ago. Believe the chef prepared it similar to curing salmon ( salt, sugar and complimentary seasonings) it was rolled in a torchon and shaved thin... absolutely delicious. As for the plating it was hard to see what was on the plate but i suspect that could be due to the photography ( no disrespect to to OP) , i don't think that really justifies sending it back.

          3. Hey Charles, I had a wonderful lunch tasting menu in there a few months ago. But this tasting menu you had looks not up to par with such a well-known establishment. Wonder why Toronto's top-end restaurant always seems so inconsistent. Toronto really lacks restaurant with a great tasting menu.

            3 Replies
            1. re: skylineR33

              Totally agree skylineR33!
              The worst thing is not just the disappointing stingy food, its the looooong drive! I don't mind driving long distances as long as I know the food I'll be getting is going to be great eg Sushi Kaji. However, this time, I was expecting so much but getting so little in return! Well, at least I had a couple of pieces of yummy Venison! So, all is not lost!

              Sushi Kaji
              860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

              1. re: Charles Yu

                How were the wine pairings Charles? I know that was one of your criteria.

                1. re: haggisdragon

                  I have to drive so need to take it easy. Since menu was dominated by seafood, opted for a couple of wine by the glass 'White'.
                  - 2008 Marimma Ansonica DOC Fattoria la Perrino. Nose of Almond, tropical fruit, Melon and Acascia flower. Dry finish. Rather one dimensional. Similar to Riesling but lacking the complexity.
                  - 2006 Alsace Gewurztraminer, Domaine Paul Blanck. Very typical Gewurtz with honey and lychee nose and taste. Very mild spicey aftertaste. Off dry. Very nice! Great with all those seafood dishes with sweetish sauces!

            2. If Michelin were to come to Ontario, they would laugh their asses out of the province.

              1. Charles - What would you rank as your top 3 tasting menu experiences in Toronto?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sadistick

                  'Old Splendido' Sushi Kaji, George.

                  88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                  Sushi Kaji
                  860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

                2. Whoa what a review!
                  I have to agree on one thing, the portion size . Too small. Do you think perhaps you were expecting too much? I mean from all the hype?
                  I too have been to several Michelin starred restaurants in Europe. I honestly cannot say that LH is as bad as you say. Michaelin stars as you know do not always mean great food.
                  Different tastes I guess.
                  I really enjoyed my meals at LH ( but yes, portions were smallish).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: froglegs

                    May be?!

                    However, after dishing out $95 on food alone and still feeling hungry afterwards kind of left a bad taste in my mouth! If I'd known, for the same driving distances and time, I could have driven to 'Treadwell', have their delicious and well executed '6' course tasting menu for $20 less!! Here, I'm talking about food alone and not the ambience or service. Though service at Treadwell can be very friendly and attentive as well!

                    In my book, great food includes BOTH taste and execution. In the case of LH, with great sauce accompaniment, 80%+ of the dishes did taste fine. However, when the kitchen overcooked shrimp and fish and oversalt key ingredients like foie gras, then its nothing to do with expectation and hype, its more to do with the chef and kitchen calibre. I'm sure, if David Lee is at the helm, that tasting menu will be a totally different chow experience!!

                    61 Lakeport Road, St. Catharines, ON L2N 4P6, CA