This restaurant has all the taste of a superb fine dining restaurant, with none of the snobbery that comes along with fine dining in Toronto (where I'm from.)
Myself, my husband and another couple opted to try this restaurant after I had heard a few good things from a client after letting her know I vacation in the Southampton area every so often. I was pretty skeptical, given the outward appearance of the restaurant and the fact that they advertise karaoke at 10pm on Saturday nights; it looks like a typical bar!
Going in, it still looks like a bar. The two waitresses were just wearing jeans and casual shirts; nothing super fancy.
Our meal and orders were as follows:
Very nice as we were served a slice for each person a piece of olive bread, and a piece of cranberry/nut/cheese bread. The bread was clearly warmed and toasted fresh and the butter on the dish was soft as well. It was a good start to the meal as it showed the restaurant as above what it looked like, to receive not a standard basket of cool bread and pots of butter, but a butter dish and warm fresh artisan breads!
Apps: Crab Cakes, Cajun Pineapple Spring Rolls
-the crab cakes were good, tasty, and made with actual crab; not the imitation crap that you sometimes find in many restaurants.
-the spring rolls were very different with not the very typical super thin wrapper, and were light and fresh still filled with veg and pineapple that had a bit of spice to it! Was interesting to have pineapple in a spring roll
-two of us opted to add caesar salads to our mains, theyw ere delicious - the dressing was fresh and had a really good amount of garlic in it. Not creamy caesar dressing from a bottle. Instead of bacon; the chef had prepared some crispy panchetta - that was a nice treat and the fat rendered so well to make a crispy tasty bit of salty meat vs a flubby bit of fat that bacon can be in a salad.
-2 striploin steaks with the goat cheese/basil mash, grilled veg and blue cheese demi glace
-1 mandarin stuffed pork tenderloin with a vegetable medley and warm potato salad
-1 chicken fricasse which is the 'pot pie' type dish but in delicate pastry vs a pie shell, also with a veg medley.
The steak was foodgasmic, sure it was $28 - but man, was it ever worth it! I ordered mine medium rare, where my friend ordered medium well - both were cooked fabulously. The mash was wonderful, the basil came through so well and ... well, let's just say next time I have a steak i'm going to be comparing it to this which may just be one of my new 'standards' for comparison of all other steaks it was so good, juicy and tender and that blue cheese demi glace was so awesome!
I also had a glass of the house red - that was ok, a little disappointing at how warm the red wine was. Given that it was close to 30 degrees out, the wine should probably have been kept somewhere to be a bit closer to usual room temperature vs closer to outdoor temperature.
Lots of nice little touches like ironed napkins show the little efforts that go a long way to make this 'bar' looking restaurant into the fine dining establishment it actually is.
Definitely a recommendation; I just hope the chef stays as i'm sure he could get be in charge of a 4 star restaurant anywhere, vs doing his thing in small town Ontario so i'll hope he loves the lifestyle or soemthing; and I'll definitely be eating his food next time i'm in the saugeen area!