Saturday, 6 April 2013


290 John St E, Niagara-on-the-lake
Friday March 8, 2013

For my 32nd I decided I didn’t want a gift I just wanted a lavish dinner with lots of delicious wine.  And that’s exactly what I got at Peller Estates.  It was a clear cold March night and the winery seemed quiet and a bit eerie when we pulled up in the parking lot.  We were pleasantly greeted by the hostess at the entrance to the restaurant.  Our coats were taken and we were escorted to our amazing table for two right beside the fireplace.  It was dim and warmly lit throughout the whole space.  Crisp white table linens, sparkling glasses and shiny cutlery set the mood for a special and romantic evening ahead.

Our waitress came promptly with the menus and we pretty much knew we wanted the 5 course meal mine with the suggested wine pairing and my husbands without.  The menu is at the mercy of the chefs creative juices that day and therefore a  surprise for its guest.  We had no allergies or special requests, but they were willing and able to accommodate anything should you request it.  Our meal went as follows:

Amuse Bouche: potato salad with capers.  It was fresh, bite sized and flavourful.  All the things necessary to amuse the mouth and get it ready for the adventure ahead.

Course 1:  cold smoked duck breast, pink pickled beets atop arugula leaves and dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.  Paired with 2011 Ice Cuvee Rose.  This first course was all very crisp and fresh and the wine was bubbly, pink and slightly sweet.

Course 2: Double smoked bacon with clams and roasted corn floating in an ice wine chowder.  Paired with 2011 Sauvignon Blanc private reserve.  The small bites of salty bacon, briny clams and sweet corn worked so well with the grassy wine.

Course 3: fried cat fish cake accompanied with garlic aioli and tomato jam.  Paired with 2011 Riesling.  This was our favourite dish of the night and by far my favourite wine, as Riesling always is.  The fish cake was super meaty, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and the aioli and jam just enhanced the flavour tenfold.  You can’t go wrong with Riesling.  It’s always crisp with slight apricot and peach notes and easy on the palate. 

Palate Cleanser: mixed berry, black peper and gamay noir homemade soda.  This was so interesting, came in a shot glass and was a lovely cleanser.  I could’ve drank a whole glass of it for sure.

Course 4: Goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with sautéed greens, chicken stock boiled potatoes and mushrooms. Paired with 2011 Pinot Noir.  This was a generous main course and the chicken was super moist.  Goat cheese is my bacon…everything is tastes better with it in my opinion.  The potatoes were so simple yet so good.  I’ve never had slightly mushy potatoes taste so good.  I will definitely try this technique at home.  The wine was big and bold and delicious.  I always like my reds to along with food and they both complimented each other nicely.

Amuse bouche: Niagara cherry and apple crumble.  Perhaps to get our palate ready for sweet, this was a divine little bite of food.  The only downfall in my opinion was there wasn’t enough of it.  I could’ve had a whole bowl.

Course 5: Thyme infused ice cream with a hazelnut pear fancier and baby poached pear.  Paired with 2011 Riesling ice wine.  The ice cream was smooth rich and subtly flavoured.  The fancier was soft and sopped up the sauces nicely and the poached pear was tender.  Turn Riesling my favourite grape into the other liquid gold of Canada (maple syrup being the original liquid gold) and you’ve got magic in a glass.  Again the only downfall of this last dish was that there wasn’t more of it.

The server was so courteous and really made us feel special throughout the whole dinner.  The timing of each course was impeccable and I couldn’t find one thing to improve on in the whole experience.  It was by far the best meal of my life, the most romantic and extremely memorable.  We lucked out in the price, since they had a march break special.  The 5 course meal with wine pairing was $90 and without wine it was $60.  It was absolutely worth every penny and I’d even go back and pay the undiscounted price in an instant.

Food: 5.0*, Value: 4.5*, Service: 5.0*, Décor/Ambiance: 5.0*

Overall: 4.8 This was absolutely the best meal we’ve ever had.  It’s expensive, but worth it for a culinary experience and any special occasion.  The portions were decently sized, none of this teeny weeny fine dining portion.  I was extremely full and partially drunk.  Okay really drunk.  5 full glasses of wine will do that to ya, but that’s where lots of the yummy comes in.  I will be back, perhaps not frequently, but I will be back! Peller Estates on Urbanspoon

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