In this refined wood–lined dining room, a commitment to local and sustainable ethics takes centre stage.
Our bearded, apron–clad server’s food and wine descriptions are so detailed that after our first bite of a creamy, crunchy and tangy salad of cooked and fried yellow peas napped with a cucumber vinaigrette, dill and chives, we feel like we’re practically friends with the Rastafarian organic farmer who grew the cukes.
Chef Tim Moroney has embraced the sustainable, locavore ethos absorbed during his time at Blue Hill in New York and Relæ in Copenhagen, and the wood–clad, meditative feel of his Quebec City neighbourhood place is a nod to those former homes – even down to the Relæ–style utensil drawer hidden in our tables. Only ingredients sourced from within 150 kilometres are considered fair game for Moroney’s kitchen (ethically produced salt, yeast, milk and cream are the exceptions). So he’s swapped in a yellow pea polenta for the emulsifying qualities of olive oil in the vinaigrette, and lacto–fermented those cucumbers to make them zing.
This is no dour scolding for gourmands with big carbon footprints, but a joyful, meticulously prepared celebration and snapshot of what’s in season now on the fields and farms of the surroundings – or alentours. A potato and celeriac dish, spiked with a fresh, dried and pickled jalapeño salsa and a caramelized corn cob broth–based beurre Nantais, unlocks new vegetable dimensions. Optional wine and cider pairings provide another alluring layer of Quebec terroir: A honey– and yellow flower–scented Saint–Pépin 2020 from Domaine Le Grand Saint–Charles with the salad course, and a buttery, quince–nosed Vignoble Camy Reserve chardonnay with the potato.
So no, this tour of the provincial alentours is not penance, but pure pleasure, where necessity is the mother of invention, and sustainable dining takes a thoughtful leap forward. Quebec City, and the food community outside its walls, are the better for it.
Don’t miss: The chance to go deep and wide in exploring local producers – the team here is happy to geek out with you.