Nearly three years ago we ate at Eigensinn Farm, Michael and Nobuyo Stadtlander’s place in Singhampton, and reckoned we’d never probably never go back. Then, a few months ago, a plan formed with our friends Brian & Mandy to book a dinner (their first time) along with their friends who live nearby. After a lot of follow-up emailing we got the date we wanted, and after some wine planning last week and some road-tripping yesterday we arrived in beautiful Grey County at the friends’ place. It was great having a home base nearby; doing the trip up and back in the same night last time was a little much. Plus, their place is beautiful and they have a dog and a cat, so I was happy. The cat hated me though.
As for dinner, I didn’t think it could possibly live up to my memory of our first visit. I was so wrong. Here’s what we had:
Amuse geule. This was a collection of six or seven things on a horseshoe-shaped plate: a Malpeque oyster, a bit of perch in butter and hazelnut, a bit of pig head cheese, a white fish in a dill sauce so good we licked it off the shell it was served on, something that looked like prosciutto, some kind of cured meat wrapped around a chunk of pear, another cured (and smoked) meat on a triangle of toast, I think one other thing that I’m forgetting. We were handling the wine pairings for the first half of the meal, so we paired this with a 2005 Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve — a hit, it seemed, with all those who hadn’t tried BB before.
Lobster soup with asparagus. Until we got there we didn’t know what kind of soup this would be, so we brought wine options. Once we found out it was bisque-y we opted for the 2009 Hidden Bench Tête de Cuvée Chardonnay, and it didn’t disappoint. Neither did the soup — great buttery chunks of lobster and asparagus, and the broth was so good we (nearly) all tipped the bowl up and drank every last drop.
Composition of Eigensinn Farm piglet. I mean…seriously. It was so succulent and delicious I almost cried. The wine we paired it with — a 2009 Maison Roche de Bellène Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot — was something I’d been holding onto for a special occasion, and this dish certainly qualified. It was goddamned amazing. All of it.
Pickerel with sugar snap peas. Delicate, flaky but still meaty…just perfect. The wine was another game-time decision since we didn’t know how the pickerel was prepared, so we went with a 2015 Five Rows Sauvignon Blanc.
Black currant sorbet. I was glad to see the palate cleanser is still served in the upside-down bottoms of broken wine bottles.
We went for a short walk around the garden before the main course, during which Brian took over and opened his sparkling: a dry & delicious 2009 Trius 5 Blanc de Noirs. Palates: cleansed.
Eigensinn Farm lamb with garden vegetables. Madre de dios. It was so delicious we (who had been pretty boisterous all night, probably to the annoyance of some of the other guests) went quiet and just made moaning noises. Enough. Mercy. No mas. For this Brian broke out a 2007 Southbrook Poetica Cab Merlot, which I think I would have loved a little more had it been a little less Merlot-heavy. But that’s my thing. We quickly finished that bottle, though, and opened another special one: a 2012 Ravine “Stadtlander” Reserve red blend, which had been signed by chef himself. It put a nice little personal signature on the evening, and how amazing of Brian & Mandy to share that with us.
Cheese with walnut raisin bread. There were three cheeses: a Grey Owl (my perennial favourite), a mild blue (Benedictine from Quebec, I think?), and a third which I can’t remember but which was delicious. They all were. We finished off the rest of the Stadtlander reserve.
Dessert with strawberries. Uh, yeah. We expected a small dessert. Out came three desserts on the plate which, to be totally honest, I don’t quite remember. Nellie says there was a crumble of some kind and some sage ice cream. I just remember being really full. I also remember that we had it with the friends’ Colaneri late harvest Riesling. Oh, they told us while we were eating that one of the desserts had hand-written fortunes inside. That explained the over-chewy bite I had just pulled out of my mouth and had attributed to their first miss of the evening. Needless to say I could not read my fortune.
Petit fours. Sure, okay.
All in all, this meal was significantly better than our first visit, and probably ranks in my top ten of all time. We left feeling very fat, and very happy.
This morning the friends fed us a grand feast (bacon, eggs, french toast done in a waffle-maker, and enough coffee to waterboard my hangover) and we were on our way back to the GTA. Brian & Mandy were headed elsewhere so they dropped us at the GO Train to Union Station, which afforded us an excuse to check out the food vendor market on Front Street. I had an excellent brisket sammie from Carbon Bar, and Nellie had a lobster roll. We’ll be headed back there in some upcoming weekends.