Really cool, locally sourced brunch at Newfoundland's Mallard Cottage
The fun, creative cooks at NL's Mallard Cottage
Quidi Vidi Village's Mallard Cottage for brunch (Newfoundland, Canada)
Imagine if you were friends with the hippest chef around. Such a forward-thinking chef would be all about locally sourced ingredients in a combination of recipes with a modern twist and grandma- type comfort food.
This would be especially true if you were spending a leisurely Sunday at a place that felt like the chef's cottage on the coast. There would be a cornucopia of treats, served with breakfast cocktails and coffee, in the most laid-back of atmospheres. No chef's friends would be sent home hungry and no taste sensation -- sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami -- would be left unloved. That's what it's like to go to Mallard Cottage, in Newfoundland's Quidi Vidi Village, for brunch! I was happy to be hosted to experience it.
The restaurant is housed in a warm, homey Irish-Newfoundland style 18th c. cottage that's considered one of the oldest wooden structures remaining in North America. Right outside is a vegetable garden. Mallard Cottage also highlights the wild game and fresh seafood of the area.
Their brunch menu -- understandably quite seasonal -- had such things as smoked pork tenderloin and duck. Rich, fatty, crisp-skinned and luscious!
Local fried duck eggs were served, but as such eggs can go from mild to stronger (and I had a long set of flights home that day), I regrettably passed on them.
Mixed terrines of meats showed that typical "NL" side: frugality and innovation with what's available. House cured meats included belly bacon, sausage made with local (well, yeah! It is Canada!) maple, breakfast sausages, pea meal bacon -- what we call in the States "Canadian bacon". These were served with house-made ketchup as well as locally harvested sea salt.
I see that parsnips are coming back into vogue -- after disfavor for many decades. These veggies, when roasted, will completely change your mind about them! They're so sweet and flavorful, I immediately went to the store and bought some for the same treatment. Now, Mallard Cottage's breakfast casserole also had potatoes, breakfast sausage and duck fat. Comfort food at its most indulgent!
To sprinkle on things, there was house-made Lester pepper hot sauce.
What else? Monte Cristo sandwiches with Gruyere. Pork quiche with veggies. And then, a bounty of iced dessert cakes that could only have been baked at the most raucous pajama party the night before!