After a fantastic tour by Ravine Vineyard’s very own Paul Harber we arrived at his restaurant where we were seated amongst the twinkle of candle light. While my mom and aunt perused the menu I hopped out of my seat and took snap shots of the lounge and bar. Paul mentioned they host live music every night on the weekends and in many ways have become “the place to be,” a hub for locals to kick back and enjoy local: melodies, wine and culinary inspirations.
The restaurant has a cozy farm house chique feel featuring a wild collection of antiques, mason jar motifs and tractor bar stool seating. The property is steeped in Canadian heritage and is considered one of the most historically significant farmhouses in the region. A painting of the property by one of the students of the Group of Seven Masters actually hangs on the wall by their tasting room.
Out back a state of the art wood burning oven is used lovingly by the restaurants on site baker and also shoots out pizza’s during the Spring and Summer. Paul has big plans for the property, with hopes of opening an exclusive fine dining concept in the next few years. His culinary background is impressive having worked in some of the top kitchens in Europe as well as under Toronto’s much beloved Michael Statlander (who actually has a bottle named after him).
The restaurants philosophy is very much in tune with the concepts pioneered at Chez Panisse and championed at Babylonstoren. Paul’s kitchen offers up Ontario’s finest charcuterie board prepared with his own privately raised Berkshire Porks which he smokes on site as well as a darling collection of petite produce grown in Ravine’s very own garden. He romantically rambles on about his dream of managing an entire farm: from ducks to quail, a perfect execution of the farm to fork model.
Our dinner at Ravine was stellar with highlights including a perfectly tender Rabbit Leg and crispy Duck Confit. Our dishes were paired with a selection of the wineries finest. The three of us couldn’t stop smiling. I sat silently for a moment contemplating my elation and realized while yes the food was fantastic the source of my excitement was not just for the bounty on our table but for Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and Canada as a whole. The unique experience offered by Ravine Vineyards is helping create a one-of-a-kind stream of storytelling worthy of a global audience. Just be sure to throw down your bookmark here, expect big things in Ravine’s next chapter.
Ravine House Smoked Cured Charcuterie
piccalilli, house toast, house brined preserves
Pan Seared Pickerel
wach’s cauliflower, trout and shrimp ravioli, sultana and xeres sherry dressing
Sous-Vide Rabbit Leg
sage cavatelli, smoked pork hock, shiitake mushrooms, sherry cream sauce
Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank
root vegetable pave gratin, green beans, roasted shallot and pan sauce
Duck Leg Confit
fondant potato, wachs’ farm red wine braised cabbage, cherry sauce
Chocolate Mint Semifreddo
white chocolate candy cane bark, raspberry sauce
Apple Cranberry Cobbler
almond cake topping, warm dulce de leche cream
#416 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.