Saturday, August 18, 2012

Feasting Room Featuring Goose

Pop-up restaurants seem to be the newest rage these days.  They are short term restaurants set up in temporary locations in order to try out new menus, concepts or themes before making the risky investment of a permanent establishment.   New restaurant The Feasting Room is renting space from the bar/nightclub The Orbit Room, located at College St and Clinton St, from 6-10pm Thursdays through Monday until mid November. 

The Feasting Room is using the pop-up strategy to experiment with a fascinating concept that may or may not become a hit with the general public, but will seem innovative and exciting to adventurous diners.  Each week, a $65 6 course blind tasting menu is offered, with every single course from appetizers to mains to dessert featuring (to varying degrees) the "animal of the week".   As part of the "menu", you are presented with a drawing of the selected beast, with numbers indicating which part will be included in each of the 6 courses.  We decided to try out goose week.

 Two complimentary amuse bouches were offered to whet our appetites.  Breaded goose gizzards with aioli sauce and sweet corn veloute with chunks of meat from the goose wing were harbingers of good things to come.  From the cocktail menu, Rich ordered his recently favoured drink - the Pimms Cup, infused with cucumber, mint and sliced peaches.

The appetizers came next.  First was goose liver pate mixed with Medeira port, garlic and thyme served with blueberry compote and sea salt on freshly toasted crostinis.  Next was a salad of goose hearts on watercress with green and yellow beans, capers and a mustard vinaigrette. Then came Rich's favourite dish - Pomme Dauphine (potato puffs) with braised goose neck, pea shoots and sheep's curd - the Feasting Room's version of poutine.

The first main was sausage-like, made by stuffing skin from the goose neck with confit of goose leg, served with roasted corn and a shallot puree.  The final main consisted of medallions of seared rare goose breast on a pistachio-yellow beet puree, accompanied with red and pink beets.

Finally the dessert arrived to satisfy our mildly trepidacious curiosity of how goose would be incorporated.  Thankfully it was merely a homage to the goose - rice pudding with concord grape jelly coulis, served with a "goose"berry and a madeline that was made with goose fat instead of butter.  I really wasn't up for goose liver ice cream!

We were there on a slow night so the wait-staff was made up of the owner/bartender/sommelier (who was very knowledgeable in his wines and cocktails) and the chef.  The availability of the next course was announced from the kitchen by what sounded like the banging of a metal spoon on a pot.

Coming soon on the menu will be game such as venison and boar.  When we asked whether the meat was hunted from the wild, we were told that food regulations prevented this but they would love to do it if it was allowed since they had a shotgun behind the bar.  We thought this was a joke until our bill came rolled up in a spent shotgun shell!

All in all, the food was great other than the goose breast course being a tad on the bland side.  The novelty of the experience was so much fun that we are ready to try this again in a few weeks when the featured animal will be rabbit.  We look forward to this restaurant finding its permanent location as it is a great addition to the Toronto dining scene.

Feasting Room - @ The Orbit Room
580A College St. 

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