For a limited time only, during the month of August The Carbon Bar is offering the Cottage Life Experience menu, done in partnership with Cottage Life Magazine and Corona. On Tuesday July 28th, we previewed Chef Hidde Zomer‘s cottage-inspired four-course menu, which consist of some classic cottage fare, re-imagined and elevated in new ways.
The BBQ Dusted Chips & Guac and Smoked Wolfhead Salmon were up first. The barbecue flavouring of the chips breathes new life into this classic snack, offering a nice heat to contrast with the creaminess of the guacamole. The smoked salmon was served on butter brushed saltines and topped with a dill crema. Eating saltines was nostalgic – who hasn’t eaten these at a cottage? This too was a delicious snack.
The appetizers came next. We were served two refreshing salads – the Summer Shrimp Salad and the Heirloom Tomato Salad. The shrimp salad had some nice components, including some sweet compressed watermelon, juxtaposed with the tartness of the pickled shrimp and the saltiness of the feta. The tomatoes in the other salad were very fresh and had a nice crunch, complementing the herbed cottage cheese very well. Everything in these salads worked beautifully together.
Next came the dishes that The Carbon Bar specializes in – grilled and smoked meats, and their accompanying sides. Lets first talk about the pièce de resistance – the Cottage BBQ Platter, consisting of four different meats. There was the Jalapeno Pork Sausage, Grilled Chicken Skewers, St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs, and the Cumbrae Farms Slider. The ribs and the sliders have never disappointed at The Carbon Bar, and these were no different. Tender and flavourful, these were my favourites. The sausage and the chicken skewers were flavourful and quite juicy. The sides shone as well – the Corn on the Cob was a standout, done Mexican style with tajin, lime, and cotija cheese. Note all of the dishes are served family style, to be enjoyed with your dining companions.
Finally came the dessert. Anyone who has ever gone to the cottage or camping has made s’mores. Chef Hidde gave this old favourite an inventive twist by having the chocolate ganache inside the marshmallow. For the chocolate to not melt while the marshmallow was being torched, the s’mores had to be frozen first. This dessert was perfection – easy to eat, decadent, and delicious. The Niagara Peach Pie was no slouch either. With a side of vanilla ice cream and a cappuccino, it was heaven.
The food on the Cottage Life Experience menu was awesome, and we finished our meal quite happy and satisfied. However, I can’t end without mentioning an essential part of the cottage life, and that’s the drinks. With cottage-inspired drinks like the Camp Fire Lemonade, the Dockside Sangria, the Corona Cocktail, and the Cottage Life Caesar, there’s a cocktail to suit anyone’s tastes. The regular drink menu has been updated as well, with Waiting for the Sun and the Snap Dragon being the new additions. Of course, there’s also Corona available for those who prefer beer.
The Cottage Life Experience Menu is available at The Carbon Bar for the month of August at the price of $59 per person plus taxes and gratuities. The Carbon Bar is located at 99 Queen St. E, just east of Church St.
Photos by John Tan