Dinner at Haisai, Singhampton near Collingwood
Background: Haisai is a restaurant and bakery in Singhampton, a small village near Collingwood. It is part of an apprenticeship program that Michael Stadtlander runs that also includes Eigensinn Farm, and involves a farm to table education for the apprentices, and a more involved culinary path. The current chefs who are following the culiary path are Jorg Neth and Marita Gomez, who were previously working for Alfred Klink, a Michelin-starred chef with a lengthy career in some of the better European hotels, and one of Stadtlander's early mentors.
The restaurant consists of one large room with a rustic fireplace, handmade furniture, and decoration that evokes Spanish surrealism, with a bit of an Ontario twist.
The greeting is effusive, the menu daily and prix fixe, with four or five courses for $75 or $90; and the ingredients are for the most part sourced, grown or raised locally. The grown or raised locally probably has something to do with the pricing, as much of it comes from the farm.
After a simple oyster amuse, the charcuterie tray arrived. Lightly braised beef heart slices over wilted red cabbage, crusted deep-fried head cheese on a bed of simple greens, pork fat (called ironically schmalz) with onions and croutons balancing the texture, and a terrine of duck liver on smoked beef tongue in a gelee of gewurtztraminer. Firing on all cylinders in terms of presentation, taste and variety at this point.
Will flesh out the rest of it through edits, but wanted to get it started.