2 minute read

This pearl is a gem!

Tucked away at Jordan Station, in the heart of the Niagara Region’s wine country, you will find Pearl Morissette Winery, with its signature Restaurant Pearl Morissette.

By Martine Mackenzie

And in this restaurant, you will find Chefs Eric Robertson and Daniel Hadida, the dynamic duo who together have raised the bar on Niagara wine country dining. These cutting-edge culinary experts hail from Ontario but received much of their training in Europe. Eric tells the story, “Daniel and I worked together in Belgium briefly. We kept in touch as expats overseas and when we both found ourselves back in Canada, we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We had both worked at great regional restaurants abroad which highlighted exceptional product and exemplary growing practices. We couldn’t find anything similar in Canada. Daniel had been working at Pearl Morissette Winery and the two of us got together and opened the restaurant in 2017. We had great support with the name of the winery behind us as it already had an engaged clientele.”

So, what can one expect when dining at the Restaurant Pearl Morissette affectionately known as RPM? Well, it won’t be a traditional menu by any means. “Niagara offers a great bounty of ingredients. There is a great diversity of products and seasonality of things,” says Eric. The ability with which these two gentlemen take the literal garden to table and farm to table ingredients and turn them into a different daily tasting menu comparing to nothing else around, is truly admirable. “We hope that we are putting Niagara on the food map as a destination for great food,” adds Eric.

Whatever you happen to be served on any given day, you are sure to enjoy every part of the experience all the while enjoying the beautiful view of the grounds and landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Every chef has a favorite ingredient to work with. When asked which ingredient he likes the most, Eric has a great answer. “I really like working with celery root. It can be used in so many unexpected ways. But I also love the bumper season – September with tomatoes and warm temperature fruits like peaches --- mixed with fall root vegetables – I love the hot summer carry overs that blend into the fall. We get two seasons at once.”

Eric approaches every day in the kitchen with a spirit of adventure. He credits coffee for getting him through the busiest of days and admits to working better under pressure with time restraints. “It keeps things interesting!” he laughingly says. “Trying new things is what it’s all about –that and not overthinking.”

Eric admits to lots of trial and error and relying on his intuition when it comes to creating new dishes with the sometimes very limited ingredients that show up on any given day. Apart from seafood, everything that is sourced at RPM is local. “We have a great team and there are lots of checkpoints along the way. We have our sommelier, our chef de cuisine --- there is a great environment for open feedback which is essential to the success of a restaurant. Our sommelier, Svetlana is very flexible when it comes to off-the-cuff menu changes and product coming in the door a bit late. She tastes our dishes and gets the best flavour combos that react with our wines. Sometimes, it comes as close to our guests arriving.” he laughs.

No matter what is on the menu, you can count on the food and its wine pairings to be inventive and delicious.