With the incredible agricultural bounty of Prince Edward County
, the hardest decision facing the diners at its many restaurants is which dish to choose. The locally made sausage? The gourmet cheese plate? The PEC beet salad? Why choose, when you can have them all without feeling like a glutton? Angeline’s
, in cute Bloomfield, serves up small plates that inventively mix bold flavours with fresh local products for a youthful, unexpected menu that shows what can be done with good ingredients under a skilled hand in the kitchen.
Like many stories in Prince Edward County, Angeline’s began with Empire Loyalists and Quakers. In this case, it was Henry and Angeline Hubb who built their Italianate dream home at the intersection of Wellington Street and Danforth Road. In the 1950s the Walter Motor Inn was constructed next door. In the 1980s, the Frida family took over and now their two children, Alexandre and Melanie own the property. Today, a complex called “the Hubb” comprises the motel, the restaurant on the main floor of the original home and extension, five deluxe suites on the second floor of the home, and the Afrida vintage design shop (the designer of Angeline’s and the inn’s funky meets rural rooms).”
I visited Angeline’s in May (the start of their season as the restaurant is closed during the winter). I’m glad I made a reservation well in advance because there are fewer than a dozen tables, and during my meal, I saw several walk-in diners turned away. (If you’re with a large group, you can reserve “the parlour” for private dining.)
The setting is modern, youthful, casual, and bright, with the stainless steel bar lined with leather swivel stools and mismatched chairs around the simple, black tables.
The power duo at the wheel of this establishment is Chef Elliot Reynolds and Sommelier Laura Borutski. When you arrive, Laura will greet you from behind the bar and offer up a wide range of PE County wines (of course) as well as her own creations, such as the Backyard Tea, Pimm’s Cup, and Angeline’s Fizzle. Menus “clipboards” are passed out to guests who start off with a delicious amuse bouche. On the evening I was there, it was a dish of pureed parsnip served with small pieces of candied bacon and garnished with herbs and radish slivers. This was accompanied by parmesan and polenta crisps and home baked chewy bread bites. A very welcome change from the usual bread basket.
The menu is mouth watering to contemplate. Even seemingly simple options are inspired. Small plates range from $7 to $14 and include beets (with housemade ricotta, melon, arugula, spiced walnuts, and grapefruit emulsion) and pork belly (roasted with brown sugar, watermelon, spring radish, and shallot vinaigrette). The larger plates, ranging from $16 to $26, include homemade papardelle pasta (with brussel sprouts, walnuts, olives, parmesan, and brown butter) and 12-hour beef brisket (with king oysters, soft polenta, spring roots, and pickled mustard seed). A popular favourite is the Hubb Burger with Black River cheese and onion marmalade (foie gras, bacon jam, and blue cheese can be added) served with the famous roasted baby potatoes. In addition to the permanent menu items, there are daily specials of both small and large plates on a chalk board.
I decided to go with two small plates from the special board. After much humming and hawing over the great options, I went with the chicken liver mousse and the beef tartare. They were not only amazingly delicious, but were a steal at $6 and $9 a piece.
The smooth, beige mousse was served in a tiny cup, but its creamy richness meant I could still barely finish. Atop the mousse were two moist apricot slices and candied bacon, providing a hint of sweet and savoury. The mousse was served with white crisps that didn’t distract from the daring flavours.
My beef tartare was beautifully presented on a long, narrow, flat plate decorated with lines of truffle aioli and topped with the circle of beef tartare. The beef was complemented by the bright green gerkins and the pickled mustard seeds and chives which topped the dish. Several crostini were artfully wedged into the top.
To finish off my meal, I bypassed the dark chocolate pot de crème (with espresso, salted peanuts, pickled berries, and Chantilly) and Hubb tart (with lavender shortbread, lemon curd, and macerated figs). Instead I went with a dilly bar, a slab of strawberry and peppercorn ice cream covered in a crunchy white chocolate with a sprinkling of thyme-pecan streusel. This well-proportioned treat was the perfect way to top off a delightful meal.