AS IT ENTERS ITS FIFTH YEAR, the subtly renamed Restaurant Pearl Morissette continues to evolve, driving the bar ever higher for Niagara wine-country dining. Daniel Hadida and Eric Robertson, Ontario-reared chefs with cutting-edge experience in Paris and rural Belgium, respectively, are in charge of the kitchen. The atmosphere is agrarian-meets-modern; the dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide IMAX-worthy views of the grounds. In summer the entire operation — kitchen, dining room and bar — moves outside to a tented space, punctuated by dramatic floral arrangements. Seasonal ingredients — many sourced by full-time forager and decorator Deirdre Fraser (aka the Plant Wizard) or grown on their own regenerative farm — are prepared with a very contemporary European sensibility. Think plump oysters lightly smoked over pine and dressed with fermented radish, or raw scallop with cantaloupe juice and sassafras, or chargrilled mustard greens with powdered seaweed and cured scallop roe, or roast carrots with cured ham and spruce. Many dishes have a flavour note that is both unexpected — is that sunchoke purée in the apple tart? — and yet belongs so emphatically that you wonder why you haven’t had it before. Service is excellent, carving the perfect line between country casual and fine-dining professionalism. Sommelier Kristen Daigle oversees a list of global wineries that share Pearl Morissette’s low-intervention approach. The price of admission is modest to a fault. New this season, visitors can enjoy wine tastings and garden tours on the same property as the restaurant, and the new RPM Bakehouse sells wine by the bottle, located on the main street in Jordan Village.
Fabulous ingredients with highly creative and well-composed presentations”
Photos: Sarah Annand