Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Haisai Restaurant, a National Treasure, Singhampton, Ontario

To most chefs in Canada, many international ones as well, as well as to his many patrons, chef Michael Stadtlander has become a national treasure. A man who can produce a most sophisticated meal or the simplest of farm cuisine and make that into a repast for a king. The decor of his casual restaurant in Singhampton, was crafted with a vision that only Michael could express. A true work of folk art that has made the building a heritage edifice. And, all of this was made possible by his wife Nobuyo, a visionary clear thinker who appreciates the eye of the artist and his eye-opening craft, a woman with her feet on the ground who is the true organizer. What a team.

Embedded in the ceiling, a closeup of a the fanciful teapot head of a ceramic snake, holding a glass bottle filled with fresh flowers. 

I am back again to see what Haisai's new "dim sum" menu is all about, which I am told, is more like tapas than dim sum. Everything was fresh from nearby farms, streams and lake.

Green asparagus salad topped with snipped chive flowers and thinly sliced breakfast radish, all dressed with a chopped chive cream dressing.

Eiginsinn Farm tomato soup with a dumpling made from the combination of smoked lake trout and smoked whitefish, all flavoured with a sage butter and accompanied by a sage chip. The soup had a deliciously intense smokey tomato flavour.

Tarragon panko'd Georgian Bay whitefish on thinly sliced breakfast radish and wild leek mayo. The skin was deliciously crispy and the dish so good, we ordered a second.

Thin skinned, delicate gyoza filled with Eiginsinn farm pork, cabbage, shiitake mashrooms, ginger and wild garlic chives, accompanied by a dipping sauce of rice wine, vinegar soy and sesame oil, topped with chopped chives. This was so good we ordered a second portion.

Ragout made from wood oven roasted Eiginsinn Farm piglet, roasted pork belly all on a creamy potato puree.

Beef tongue braised in miso and sake, with bok choy topped with pickled ginger.

Luebecker marzipan chocolate ice cream with rhubarb and strawberry compote, farm honey and cachaca ( a liquor made from fermented sugar cane juice). A fitting end to a most pleasurable meal.

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