The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette, Canada’s Best New Restaurant

Canada's Best New Restaurant, The Restaurant in Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario

After winning Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2018 by Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine, The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette was definitely on my must-try list.

Why? For one, it amazed me that a restaurant in a small rural community, Jordan Station in Lincoln, Ontario, won best new restaurant, beating restaurants from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. I honestly didn’t even know about Jordan Station until learning the restaurant came from there, so I was definitely intrigued and wanted to check it out myself.

  • Related: Aloette, No. 6 in Canada’s Best New Restaurant
Bar Seating at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario

I got even more excited upon researching that the co-chefs at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette has worked in some of Europe’s top and Michelin starred restaurants. Chef Daniel Hadida worked in Paris at one Michelin-starred restaurants, Le Châteaubriand and Septime. Chef Eric Robertson worked in Belgium at one Michelin-starred tasting menu restaurant, In de Wulf.

Chefs working at the kitchen at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario
Open Kitchen Concept

Located about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Toronto, The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette is aptly named for being the restaurant inside a Niagara winery called Pearl Morissette. It is hard to spot the winery especially at night since there are no street lights. The trick is to look for a statue of a red cardinal, which marks the entrance to their driveway.

The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette, Canada's Best New Restaurant in Jordan Station, Ontario

When you enter the building, you climb a set of stairs that brings you to the restaurant where the front of house will be there to greet you and lead you to your table, or the lounge if you arrive earlier.

The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette's Bar Lounge Area
Bar Lounge Area

The restaurant offers a French-inspired farm-to-table tasting menu with at least five courses for a reasonably priced $88 per person. To top it off, tips are already included with all their prices.

You can do the wine pairing for an additional $70 which includes spirits and wines from all over the world, as well as wines from their own vineyards. Since Pearl Morissette’s wines are low supply, doing the wine pairing allows you to try them. Travelling Foodie Tip: If you want to try the pairing but can’t drink a lot, you can choose to split one wine pairing between two people.

Long table at dining room at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Lincoln, Ontario
A long table sits at the centre of the dining room for easy access to glasses, water, utensils, along with cheese blocks for the supplementary course.

The menu changes daily based on seasonality and what’s fresh that day, which makes this restaurant very repeatable. The menu you’ll see here is for December 6, 2018.

We started with some grilled bay scallops from New Brunswick with elderflower capers, preserved tomato water, and brown butter topped with porridge flower.

It was my first time hearing of elderflower capers where you pickle the young flower buds. Nevertheless, the dish was very refreshing with the Yugo Junmai sake bringing an interesting flavour of earthy toasted rice from the sake and brown butter, and subtle tanginess from the capers and tomato water.

Grilled Bay Scallops from The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario
Grilled Bay Scallops – tomato, elderflower

Next was the fresh homemade sourdough bread with a side of warm butter, followed by the Potato Tartlet.

The Potato Tartlet had a shell made of potato. The inside had goat cheese and pureed potato and potato skin. On top are collared green and a special seabass bottarga that’s been smoked then dried. Did you know? Bottarga is an Italian way of curing caviar where the fish roes are kept in the sacks and cured as a whole.

This was fun to eat because you get to eat the shell which is very crispy. It was a flavour explosion with the goat cheese and bottarga, with the potato neutralizing it from too much flavour.

Potato Tartlet at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario
Potato Tartlet – seabass botarga, grilled collards

When I attended the media preview for the unveiling of Canada’s Best New Restaurants, Chef Daniel was there serving BBQ Sea Snails for guests to sample, which I really loved! So I was excited when he mentioned that there was going to be a different sea snail course that night.

The whelk (sea snail) course came with celeriac noodles and pickled garlic, topped with sturgeon caviar. The celeriac noodles was nicely al dente but I felt it pretty much took over the whelk since they have the same bite. I didn’t even realize there were whelks until Chef Daniel told me this was the whelk course. I also wished the taste had more dimensions as I only tasted sour throughout the dish.

We’re starting to come to the main courses, starting with the seafood course, which was the pan roasted pickerel with roasted shallot, fermented rhubarb, sour cream and lavender.

The whelk was soon forgotten after a bite of this perfect pickerel. This is perhaps one of the best pickerel dishes I’ve had. The fish was so fresh, and the meat so tender that it just melts. The garnishes helped bring out the pickerel even more.

Pickerel at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario
Pickerel – shallot, fermented rhubarb

This course also introduced the first Pearl Morissette wine in the wine pairing.

The Irrévérence is a blend of 64% Riesling, 22% Chardonnay and 14% Gewurztraminer. What’s particularly special about this wine is it’s an amber/orange wine due to skin-fermentation. For this, the Gewurztraminer was fermented on skins for a total of 6 months.

Pearl Morissette 2017 Irrévérence at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario
Pearl Morissette 2017 Irrévérence VQA

The vegetable course was grilled pumpkin with prickly ash and persimmon. Simple looking yet nice and sweet way to transition to the meat course.

One thing I loved about the restaurant is how it differs in service with traditional restaurants. In The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette, all the staff helps with service including the co-chefs. This is really interesting but also gives it a nice touch to see the chefs themselves going out of the kitchen, serving and clearing dishes, and talking to diners.

In fact, when we first sat at our table, Chef Daniel was going around each table carrying the whole roasted goose to show to guests before it gets sliced for the tasting.

Roasted Goose at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario
Roasted Goose

The goose was dry-aged and cooked in peach wood fire for 4 hours making the meat nice and pink with the fat all rendered and the skin nice and crispy. The goose was paired with Pearl Morissette’s 2012 Pinot Noir.

Geese in Kitchen at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario
We got to tour the kitchen and see the geese being dried in the walk-in freezer

This was the coup de grâce course! I typically stay away from goose because my memories of it have been tough and dry, but this was perfectly tender, juicy, crispy and flavourful. It was the best goose dish I’ve ever had! My only complaint is they only gave two slices because I wanted more so badly.

Roasted Goose at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario
Roasted Goose – bread miso, beet

Before dessert, you have the option to do the supplemental cheese course for $15, which also comes with honeycomb from the apiary at Pearl Morissette.

The type of cheese varies. On our dinner, they had the Dorset Drum Cheese which they bought and aged since December 6, 2016, meaning we were eating cheese that was aged exactly 2 years to date!

If you love cheese, I highly recommend you to get the cheese course. I find you can do one order and share for two people (photo below is one order).

Cheese and Honeycomb at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario
Cheese and Honeycomb

Now it was time for desserts, starting with the sea buckthorn that acted as a palate cleanser. It reminded me of mochi ice cream with the crumble meringue being the mochi shell, and the yogurt being the ice cream.

Sea Buckthorn at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario
Sea Buckthorn – yogurt, meringue

Next is the Mille Feuille, a French three-layer pastry. You may be familiar with Napolean which is Mille Feuille filled with almond-flavoured paste. In this case, it was filled with plums.

Mille Feuille at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette, Jordan, Ontario
Mille Feuille – Plums

The last for the night was the Ginger Cookie which was crumbly and buttery just the way I like them. It reminded me of the Butter Cookies I’ve made myself at home.

Ginger Cookie at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario
Ginger Cookie – sorghum, buckwheat honey

Verdict: I highly recommend The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette. I put this in between Alo and Canis for my favourite tasting menu restaurants in Ontario. Delicious innovative dishes, great service, friendly staff, reasonable prices… plus a good road trip from Toronto!

I suggest you visit soon because I have a feeling the prices will go up and reservations will get harder soon. I predict they will make it into Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list, making reservations even harder than it already is after being named Canada’s Best New Restaurant.

Hope you enjoyed this review of The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette!

Read about other tasting menu restaurants in Ontario:

Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua with Chef Daniel Hadida and the culinary team at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario
With Chef Daniel Hadida and the culinary team (less Chef Eric Robertson)

The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette
Address: 3953 Jordan Rd, Jordan Station, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0

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