“I can pretty much guarantee that this is the only place in the world you’re gonna get a cod cheek po’boy.”
Stephen Lee, Sommelier & Co-owner, Mallard Cottage
Cape Spear National Park, St John’s Newfoundland
I was lucky enough to enjoy 5 days in North America’s easternmost AND oldest community, St John’s, Newfoundland a few weeks ago. It is all at once the most quaint and charming place while contradictorily also being the LEAST subtle from a landscape point of view.
I cannot say enough about how enchanting I found this part of the Maritimes; the people, the scenery,the history and the food, OH THE FOOD!
The locals were without fail friendly, interesting and helpful; pointing us to all of the pubs, clubs and bars on George St, assuring us all the while that getting ‘screeched in’ did not require kissing a cod if we were willing to kiss a puffin’s arse (I kid you not, nor do I paraphrase) where to find the best fish and chips (Duke’s if you’re curious!), which sights were ‘must-sees’ and most enchantingly, their patient and generous nature which included stopping when we jaywalked, waving us through in a MOST insistent manner. Coming from a part of the country where you take your life in your hands even when crossing on your signal it was peculiar and comforting in equal measure.
And now on with the tour!
Quidi Vidi Fishing Village – home to the Quidi Vidi Brewing company and Mallard Cottage
I ate in so many excellent restaurants and rather religiously stuck to seafood (well except for the moose sausages because honestly, how often do you get a chance at that!) and as local as possible everywhere.
I couldn’t possibly share all of my experiences so I’ve narrowed it down to my top three; Mallard Cottage, Raymond’s and Adelaide Oyster House. Each standouts, not just for the food (which was truly drool-worthy) but also for all the important factors which make restaurants memorable.
Raymond’s is unexpected and elegant in the extreme, yet it must be noted that the service lacks any hint of pretension (can I get an AMEN!) The restaurant itself is housed in a stunning example of Newfoundland and Labrador classical architecture, built in 1915 overlooking St. John’s harbour and is regarded as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Yup, I can get behind that.
White linen service at Raymond’s in St. John’s
Scallop Crudo with Horseradish Snow
House-Made Tagliatelle (which has inspired me to up my game on my own pasta)
Lobster with the most perfectly roasted root vegetables which I will be attempting to mimic for you here on Be Still & Eat in a couple of months.
Cod with Pork Belly, Carrot Puree & Smoked Onion
Next stop, The Mallard Cottage, located in Quidi Vidi Village, a quaint fishing hamlet of St. John’s, was a private residence for the Mallard family, local fisherfolk who resided there from the late 18th Century until the early 1980’s. Friendly is expected but barely contained enthusiasm is abundant and quite contagious.
The menu is inventive and local without any of the altogether too common (in my opinion) questionable affectations. (translation: not a single “infused with” menu item to be seen). What a breath of fresh air!
You had to know I would order the Cod Cheek Po’boy
Maritime Canada at its most picturesque
Storybook perfection around each corner
Adelaide Oyster House, what can I tell you about this little gem… Our first glimpse was rowdy, to say the least. An oyster virgin was being loudly and lovingly taunted by patrons and staff alike.
We found out later that treating the kitchen staff to a round of beers was greeted with similar reverie, the kitchen staff overpowering the soundtrack to pound out their thanks on the walls of the open kitchen. It’s not the kind of place you soon forget. Nor were the offerings from the kitchen.
No Description Required me thinks – Simply Gorgeous
Sticky Tamarind Wings
…and now a few of the sights I so enjoyed and long to re-experience as soon as I’m able.
I noticed this tucked in a corner of Petty Harbour – I wasn’t brave enough to knock on the door and COMPLETELY regret that now.
Charming Petty Harbour
Turns out that 20,000 year old iceberg water makes some pretty delicious beer!
The provincial flower is indeed an excellent representation of the province itself, beautiful, sturdy & resourceful.
Farewell Newfoundland, I will most certainly be returning.
Cheers & Namaste!