Sara hyped up the experience we were about to have in a bad way, “If you’re late, they’ll give your table away. If you wear jeans they won’t let you in. If all people in your party aren’t yet present, they won’t seat you. These kinds of restaurants hate it if you don’t order a drink. I bet they have the Winterlicious people all come in early so they can move them out quick and have the high paying patrons come in.” Needless to say, I wasn’t completely looking forward to the evening we were about to have.
Winterlicious is the time of the year when the city’s finest restaurants open up their menus and offer affordable prix fixe dinner options. Is it fair to review a restaurant’s Winterlicious offerings? I don’t see why not. Most restaurants use it to allow people to sample their foods, so there should be no reason why it doesn’t wholly reflect on their non-Winterlicious plates.
Auberge du Pommier sits just north of North York Centre station, right against Yonge Street. From the outside, it looks like a small single floor cottage, but looks can be deceiving. From the inside, it’s a nicely decorated place where you’re first greeted with their huge wall of wine bottles in a gigantic fridge. Upon arrival, only 3 of us arrived for our party of 5 (two of us were still on their way) so we had our jacket’s checked in, and were asked to wait while our table was being setup. About ten minutes later, we were brought to our table which was seated on one of the side rooms by the windows with a roaring fireplace on the end.
We ordered a few drinks, a cocktail for Sara and a iced tea concoction for myself. They were offered on the Winterlicious menu we were given but at an additional cost. I believe my ice tea was $6 but I can’t remember how much Saras was.
Now, you’ll have to excuse the lack of food photos as the iPhone doesn’t work so great in low light. We arrived around 5pm, but didn’t actually order our meal until around 6pm. So our light source was limited to a single candle on the table.
There’s a picture of the menu here, so I won’t go over each item offered as part of the prix fixe, but I ordered the foie gras, seared pork loin, and the warm apple fraiche cake as my dessert.
I’ve never tried foie gras before so I have nothing to compare this to. There’s a bit of a controversy behind foie gras. Essentially, it’s duck liver pâté, but what makes it controversial is the fact that they force feed the duck corn to make it really fat. It sort of has the consistency of dry tuna, but is incredibly fattening and leaves a film in your mouth after eating. It was too rich for me to handle eating the whole portion so I had to pass it off.
The pork loin came next and it was amazing. It melted in your mouth with every delicious bite and had a nice hint of honey mustard. It sat atop a serving of pomme pureé, which I could only describe as mashed potatoes. It was good to the last bite.
When the dessert came, we all had something different. The apple fraiche cake came with a small scoop of ice cream on the top. It was nice but a bit underwhelming as it tasted like a muffin you’d buy at Tim Horton’s. I tried some of the Pot de Creme that Antony ordered with his meal which was a bit better than what I had, but it had a very strong dark chocolate flavor. I’m not really a fan of dark chocolate unless it comes with mint.
The service at Auberge du Pommier was top notch and spot on. Our server was very attentive to ours needs, and there was no pressure while we were waiting for our other two guests to arrive. Even though we were being served the Winterlicious menu (which meant a cheaper meal resulting in a smaller percentage based tip), we were treated with the same respect as everyone else there. Surprisingly, our bill for 5 people came to almost $350. This is including all the drinks and such we ordered, so for a high end restaurant, it still worked out to be quite a deal.
I would definitely return to Auberge du Pommier again if the opportunity ever presented itself. Although we had our doubts about going out for Winterlicious at the beginning, I would chalk this one up as a great experience.