It was rather fitting that we chose to go to Saint Crispin in Collingwood only a week after I received the 2014 Good Food Guide from my kris kringle (awesome present – I don’t think my wallet will be too grateful later though:)). It won the New Restaurant of the Year award and it certainly is new – I tried looking at streetview on google maps and it wasn’t there according to that!
The restaurant itself is easy enough to find if you have the street number with the front being stylish but rather minimalistic in terms of signage. We of course being eager diners booked in advance by a week to ensure we had a table and we saw the odd customer turned away after trying to try drop in for a table on the Sunday night we dined there.
Their menu must change quite a bit to justify it being printed out daily – a wonderful sign that they truly stick to seasonal ingredients.
Our starter were little cubes of something made with chickpea – my friends and I all felt it tasted similar to little squares of deep fried tofu. Also we didn’t say no to good bread!
The menu at Saint Crispin is a set one – the choice is between $50 for 2 courses, $60 for 3 courses and a degustation. We all opted for the three course meal – $10 for an extra dessert/entree is too good to pass up.
For our entrees, two of us chose the Atlantic salmon, shaved calamari, oyster, squid ink and saffron. Plating wise it was beautiful and very generous, portion wise. My friend remarked she had read some reviews stating that the serving size was small – I doubt anyone would be able to complain about a piece of salmon the size of your palm served as an entree. It was beautiful – ever so lightly cooked and went well with all the elements on the dish. The only part that left me a little puzzled was the oyster – this was raw and of course, without being in the shell no doubt would look poorly on the plate so I can see why they chose to hide it on the plate. Mine was under the salmon and of course, the end result was that when cutting into it, the poor oyster got rather squashed. It tasted nice but I’m not sure how it tied in together with the other ingredients.
My friend had the wagyu bresaola which she thoroughly enjoyed – the waitress luckily took a while explaining the dishes on setting them down on the table. If she had not, my friend might not have had time to recognise the salady entree put in front of her was indeed a dish meant for another table.
Worrying that three courses just might be a bit filling (with portion sizes like the entree, a justifiable concern), I opted for a seafood main as well – the seared swordfish served on top of mashed potatoes. This was enjoyable enough but one part of the fish had an odd mushy texture – in cantonese cooking we often avoid adding certain sauces/flavours, notably ginger, to fish to avoid this but I’m not sure what happened here. I have only read fantastic reviews of this dish so hopefully it was my bad luck.
My friends had the Greenvale pork served with curried raisin and heirloom carrots. They both enjoyed it though found the pork belly a bit fatty to finish it all off.
Desserts wise, we were all a little disappointed the blood orange parfait and the carrot dessert mentioned by other bloggers were not available. Our waitress raved about the coconut and mango panna cotta so we ordered two of those and their earl grey chocolate cake. Visually all the desserts were stunning. My friend and I were a little disappointed by the panna cotta unfortunately – while the concept and the flavours were fantastic, the key to the dish – the panna cotta – was grainy and certainly not the wobbling goodness we all craved. My friend who opted for the chocolate cake was very happy with her choice and commented she would order it again if coming back.
They also gave us complimentary blood orange jellies which we loved – surprisingly sour and just the right thing to cleanse the palate after the three courses.
Overall, I felt there were a few hiccups here and there but it could be that their entree put my expectations too high for the rest of the meal. On the whole though I can see quite easily why Saint Crispin has scored such rave reviews and accolades. Well deserved and I’m sure more stunning dishes will emerge from such a talented kitchen.