Restaurant Pearl Morissette is an ambitious fine dining experience, featuring an ever-changing menu of regional ingredients. If you love a surprise, enjoy the complexities of flavours that can be created by gifted chefs and are willing to trust that those chefs will create a menu that will thrill you, then this place is for you.
VineRoutes contributing panelist Susan Willemsen writes: I dream of this experience. Literally, I re-live my trips here. The anticipation of reservations opening for outdoor dining, the frantic scramble to book and confirm online. The luxury of taking the day to enjoy the destination drive, and experience. Always a Friday. Then, the delicious countdown. Chef and team await our arrival, as does the signature Red Cardinal route marker. Add in a pre-luncheon preamble through Jordan to RPM Bakery, to pick up divine, doughy, fresh-baked aromatic sourdough or zucchini focaccia (or whatever the daily special) with signature whey butter, spreads (best liver hands down) and a few bouteilles for the road. On to lunch.
The arrival – a sensory experience heralded by the smell of wood-smoked fire. Chefs at work, grilling, turning, surveying, smoking. The surreal staff shines, and welcomes, all fresh-faced disciples of the cult that is RPM. The aesthetic is singular, pure, simple, yet tastes insanely complex on palate. The multicourse meal – an ingredient surprise, in each scenario – is perfectly paired with a strong selection of both local and international wines – over 1,000 bottles make up their cellar, with a price range of $65 – $800, and about 30 percent of the cellar is dedicated to Niagara (mostly their own crafted wines).
Yet, I yearn for Pearl Morissette wines with each dish, and their crunchy, funky, natural expressions of the land around us, to match the essence of Canada on our meticulously handcrafted plates. The tent, the breezes, the views, the gardens, the animals… the sum of nature in Niagara at its finest. The Chef and his team. The staff and their informed and impeccable, honest service. The wines. A true, sensorial experience not to be missed. – Susan Willemsen