Tucked away in the Old Stone Inn Boutique Hotel, in Niagara Falls, Ont., the Flour Mill Scratch Kitchen, under the direction of Diego Pasi, turns the region’s natural farmland bounty into gastronomic treasures.
In chef’s hands, for example, Niagara’s peerless cherries transform into a brilliantly conceived and utterly unique gazpacho that’s thick, not-too-sweet, bursting with fruit flavour and cleverly animated by scallion oil and Chantilly cream scented with nutmeg.
More Niagara treasures — this time, mixed greens and seasonal berries — grace a salad amped up by sunflower seeds, candied pecans and a perfectly balanced blackberry/srv/bindings/6cb171e320dc48a6a925e1ded4b4b1bc/codele vinaigrette.
Organic chicken breast, sourced from Ontario, is moist and delicious. Riding shotgun are silky kale/fennel purée and velvety mashed spuds sweet with roasted garlic.
A tiny fried quail egg perches atop Ontario beef tenderloin, tender and tasty. A two-day brining makes all the difference in a thick, seared pork loin chop that’s uncommonly juicy. Cranberry-studded quinoa and a sweet slaw fashioned from Niagara Granny Smith apples takes the pork to an entirely other level.
Ending this feast are crème brulee perfumed with raspberry and cracked black pepper; rich and silky double-chocolate panna cotta; and amaretto-spiked tiramisu.
The exceedingly welcoming room exudes oodles of traditional charm thanks to stone walls, a soaring, wood-beam ceiling, huge chandeliers and an enormous fireplace.
The Flour Mill is available for group buyout and hosts 100 people, seated and 165, cocktail-style. The cellar space seats 80; the chef’s table, 12. Adjoining the Flour Mill, the Earl Grey breakfast room seats 40 and hosts 65, cocktail-style.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,400 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.