No. 17: Mallard Cottage
IN THE heart of Quidi Vidi Village, the historic fishing community in St. John’s, 300-year-old Mallard Cottage is officially recognized as one of the oldest wooden buildings in North America.
But inside the rustic, 65-seat dining room, chef Todd Perrin’s reimagined Newfoundland cuisine is anything but traditional. With a changing daily menu written out on a chalkboard near the open kitchen, the eatery feels more like a down-home kitchen party than a fine-dining establishment. And yet the food and attentive service fall into the latter camp.
Perrin uses only the best seafood, wild game and produce available to create a selection of sharing plates, which are available à la carte or as part of the highly recommended family-style tasting menu. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences punctuate the chalkboard—an evolving reflection of Perrin’s travels. During one visit, the cornmeal-dusted, deep-fried cod cheeks, their outsides as crispy as good tempura, were served alongside lamb with spaetzle and a vibrant salsa verde made from chervil, parsley and up-cycled carrot tops. During another meal, tender Newfoundland scallops were slathered in brown butter and the Egyptian seasoning mix dukkah—and each bite sang with sultry, sweet and herbaceous flavours.
On the weekend, brunch features a bountiful dessert table that all but overflows with a cornucopia of treats ranging from peanut butter bourbon cream puffs to caramel apple scones and house-made doughnuts. Late Sunday afternoons, traditional music shakes the exposed beams. In true Canadian form, local craft beer is poured from taps with deer antlers for handles. The wine program proudly focuses on producers from Nova Scotia and Ontario, and both classic and modern cocktails are executed with precision. Last year, Mallard Cottage added a beer garden adjacent to the restaurant where diners sip together at long wooden tables made by Perrin himself.
Photos By : Anja Sajovic