If you haven’t previously checked it out, I suggest you take a look at Part 1 of my review of restaurant La Tanière and it’s 20 course menu here: La Tanière : Creative cooking on the outskirts of Québec City – Part 1. Otherwise, here’s the continuation, with courses eleven through twenty, and beyond…
The eleventh course called nordic wind, was the most dramatic of the courses. First, they brought a plate of greenery and pine cones to our table. They then brought out plates of seal cooked with honey and served with different varieties of beets and turnips. They then came by to bring the nordic wind which created some wind over our plates with a reaction involving liquid nitrogen. It was all very dramatic, however, I must admit that I did not like the taste of the seal. I found it too chewy and with too much of a ferrous taste. My boyfriend liked the taste since it reminded him of veal liver, so he was glad to finish this course for me. You can find a video of the effect on my site on youtube by clicking here.
The twelfth course, called comfort, was just that, comforting. It was confit duck gizzards, broad beens, mushrooms, and some parsnip purée. The parnsip purée was delicious, it has almost a cheese like creaminess to it. I was a bit apprehensive of the duck gizzards, but they had a texture similar to that of confit duck breast. The broad beens were a nice touch which reminded me of my youth and shucking broad beens for soup, adding to the comfort food aspect of the course. A great take on french cassoulet, this was a very tasty course.
The thirteenth course, called northern effervescence, was an effervescent mix of rhubarb, raspberry and elderberry with some labrador tea. But most interestingly, there was a hard sphere inside which you had to bite down on while drinking. It was a strange combination, though a bit too similar perhaps to the tea served in the first course, herbal trilogy.
The fourteenth course, silk road, was my favourite of all. I imagine the name, silk road, references an indian influence to this dish, served with what was described as a miniature naan bread. I must say, the naan bread did not taste much like the naan bread I am used, it being much too crunchy. However, the mix of the lighlty seared bison with the crusted parmesan and mustard ice cream was amazing. And, I know to most people, mustard ice cream seems unappealing but in this combination, it just worked, perfection!
The fifteenth course, called scottish perfume, started with our waiter asking us to smell a scent, on one of those paper perfume swatches. My boyfriend and I were unable to place the scent, and that scent was whiskey. We were then served, in a whiskey glass, some wapiti with brussel sprouts, over which our waiter poured some beef consommé. This was served with some small bread rolls with pieces of boar bacon in them, and some meat butter. The presentation was interesting, but the taste was not very special, and the taste of the wapiti was discreet, not gamey. The meet flavoured butter was interesting over the rolls, but at this point, my stomach was starting to protest the amount of food I was ingesting so I did not finish the roll.
The sixteenth course was called the volcano. It was a piece of foie gras pâté, served with a small bread crouton, some watermelon, honeydew lemon, a stalk of safran and some gellified prune cubes. The gellified prune cubes were what stood out for me most with this dish, the small cubes were sweet and balanced the lush taste of the foie gras perfectly. As well, there was a hint of fleur de sel which made the final complement to this blend of flavours.
The seventeenth course, called already breakfast?, was some eggnog, with some caremlized onions at the bottom, served with a small twist of flaky bread for dipping. This was delicious, the creamy frothiness of the eggnog, and the caramelized taste of the onions were a nice mix.
The eighteenth course, called a midsummer night’s dream, was the first dessert course, we were approaching the end. It was cheesecake made with goat’s cheese, served with a raspberry sorbet. The cheesecake was decadent, with the goat taste barely noticeable. However, the raspberry taste was the highlight of this, it was so sour as to be almost painful, but a perfect balance for the richness of the cheesecake, delicious!
The nineteenth course was called sous-bois, and had probably the most intriguing ingredient of all, candy cap. Candy cap is a type of mushroom which grows in Gaspé and western Canada that tastes like… maple syrup. Yes, you read right, a mushroom that tastes like maple syrup! By this point, I was very full, and this plate proved to be too sweet for me at this point. What with the creampuffs, chocolate mousse, candy cap flavoured ice cream, chocolate crumble and some confit berries, it was a bit of a sweetness overload.
The twentieth (and final, oof) course was called gourmandises végétales and was a series of bites with a vegetable base; that is, a small shortbread topped with some caramel corn, a carrot flavoured macaroon, some potato and pistachio candy and some chocolate and beet flavoured marsmallow. Luckily, these were small enough that I was able to finish them, though at this point I was completely stuffed and tired. However, while clever, none of them stood out to me as being particulary tasty.
One thing I especially liked was that once the meal was over, the waiter left us a cylinder which held the detailled menu before we left, signed by the chef.
In the cylinder were also some biscotti and some fruit jam, to continue the experience into the next day… a nice touch!
All in all, this was an exceptional once in a lifetime kind of meal. It was incredibly long, we started eating at 7:15pm and finished around 12:00am, that’s almost five hours of eating! They do offer other experiences though, so you can choose between 12, 16 and 20 courses, but be warned, there is no à la carte menu. Luckily, we had also taken a taxi, despite the restaurant being on a lonely country road, because with the wine pairing (even with smaller portions and not all courses with wine pairing), we were both left feeling a bit tipsy. The staff was professional and courteous but not overly friendly. The ambiance was a bit reserved, and definitely not for kids.
In conclusion, I had a delicious and inventive culinary experience, that I recommend to all, but not as a regular experience. If you have a special event, and have both the time and the budget, this can be a great meal.
Bon apétit, Enjoy!