Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Feasting Room

The Feasting Room (Twitter: @thefeastingroom, Facebook: The Feasting Room) is not a restaurant, but rather a weekly pop-up that occupies The Orbit Room (@OrbitRoomTO) from Thursdays to Monday nights. A six-month project designed to encourage Torontonians to "eat the whole beast", The Feasting Room focuses on a different animal each week by offering a six course blind tasting menu for $65 ($105 with wine pairing). Conscientious and sustainable eating practices is The Feasting Room's core belief and philosophy. 

The Feasting Room is a joint venture between Noah Goldberg (chef / owner who has worked at Lee in Toronto, DB Bistro Moderne in NYC, St. John in UK) and Mathieu Dutan (general manager who has worked at Bistro Bakery Thuet, Gamelle, La Palette and also trained as a sommelier in Paris) and it serves as a test to gauge the city's enthusiasm for nose-to-tail, off cuts and offal cuisine. A test for what, you ask? Well, a test before they actually dive in and invest in a permanent restaurant location! Smart. Very smart.

Dinner on the patio.

The Feasting Room always provides a diagram of the featured animal with the numbered parts corresponding to the course. Why is #5 floating in air?

Amuse: Rabbit liver parfait

Amuse: Kale soup w/ confit rabbit leg

Course 1: Orecchiette with rabbit ragu

Course 2: Rabbit shoulder braised with eeks, shallots & bacon

Course 3: Cassoulet with rabbit, sausage, baked beans, bacon & sage

Course 4: Rabbit stuffed saddle with eggplant purée

Course 5: Welsh rabbit with Montgomery cheese, Guinness, cayenne, mustard & Worchestershire sauce

Course 6: Rabbit belly fritter with nutmeg Belgian waffle and Ontario strawberries

I think The Feasting Room is doing something really great; they are utilizing the whole animal, reducing animal wastage and presenting off-cuts in unique and interesting ways to diners who may not have had a chance to experience these less popular cuts of meat before...all in one single meal! You gotta's a pretty cool concept.

My favourites that night were the rabbit shoulder (extremely tender and juicy), the rabbit stuffed saddle and the rabbit belly fritter / waffle dessert (how they were able to incorporate rabbit here blew me away.. it was so yummy too!) The kale soup amuse was also fantastic...I wanted more of it...a lot more :D

Soooooo what's with course 5, the Welsh Rabbit, being in the "air" on the diagram? That's because the dish "Welsh Rabbit" does not contain any rabbit! From Wikipedia...

"Welsh rarebit, or Welsh rabbit, is a dish served hot, made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and other ingredients poured over slices of toasted bread. The name of the dish originated from 18th century Great Britain. The first recorded use of the term Welsh rabbit was in 1725, but the origin of the term is unknown. It may be an ironic name coined in the days when the Welsh were notoriously poor: only better-off people could afford butcher's meat, and while in England rabbit was the poor man's meat, in Wales the poor man's meat was cheese. It might also be understood as a slur against the Welsh: if a Welshman went rabbit hunting, this would be his supper."