About the meal
Auberge avec Canoe is a collaboration between two well-known Toronto restaurants: Auberge du Pommier and Canoe. The joint effort sees Canoe’s chef Ron McKinlay and Auberge’s chef Tim Schulte teaming up to create a multi-course tasting menu that changes each week.
Both restaurants are owned by the Oliver and Bonacini restaurant group, with the new partnership between the two restaurants serving as a way to keep both teams working amid the pandemic. Initially launched for takeout only, the tasting menu can now also be ordered on Auberge du Pommier’s pretty garden terrace, which recently began serving dine-in guests again when Toronto moved into phase two of reopening a few weeks ago.
We sampled the takeout version of the tasting menu, which sees a five-course meal packaged up to reheat and enjoy at home. Available on Fridays and Saturdays only, the tasting menu can be pre-ordered online (from either restaurant’s site) and picked-up at Auberge du Pommier. There’s also the option to order a la carte dishes, which are available from Thursday to Saturday.
Priced at $70 per person for five courses, the tasting menu comes packaged in biodegradable containers. The dishes are fully prepared, with a small amount of assembling and reheating required to get everything ready at home.
The takeout package includes a traditional menu outlining the ingredients in each dish, as well as a secondary menu with preparation instructions. All of the containers are lettered and numbered, making it easy to follow along with the steps of putting your meal together.
The containers are also oven-safe, so you can pop them in the oven without needing to transfer the food to another dish.
Auberge avec Canoe brings together Canoe’s emphasis on local ingredients with Auberge’s French culinary approach. Although the tasting menu changes each week, you can expect homegrown ingredients prepared with traditional European techniques.
Most meals begin with pain au lait, which comes with a savoury fennel pork butter and briney fennel piccalilli.
Highlights from our menu included the green bean salad, which saw the punchy flavour of a lobster vinaigrette softened by sweet green strawberries.
The main was the Tamarack Farms Lamb Duo with ratatouille ragout, herb polenta, amaranth, and ras el hanout jus. The lamb was tender with a nice crispy exterior. The polenta, too, had just the right amount of bite.
Of course, takeout can never fully replicate the experience of dining at a restaurant but Auberge avec Canoe’s heat-at-home menu manages to sidestep the soggy, lukewarm food experiences you might have had in the past with takeout. The textures are remarkably just-right once everything is assembled, and they’ve also replicated the artful plating that both restaurants are known for.
There’s an extensive selection of sparkling, white, rose, and red wines that you can order for pick-up with your meal. Bottles are mainly French and Italian, plus plenty of local options from wineries like Tawse and Rosehall Run.
Prices range from about $20 to $200 for full bottles, but they also offer a sizeable selection of half bottles.