Inspiration at Ruby Watchco
As an aspiring chef and avid Food Network viewer, I first fell in love with Chef Lynn Crawford on Restaurant Makeover so down to earth and genuinely passionate about helping others refine their craft or reignite their passion for cooking, inspiring them through fresh local ingredients. When Pitchin’ In launched I was truly inspired…what better way to connect with your food and where it comes from than going out and working the land and sea to experience what our farmers and fisherman do before turning it into a five star meal! I would watch, adapt, and recreate in my tiny loft kitchen… true bliss and joy. However the best was yet to come….
Setting up my thefashionistafoodie business, I was getting myself connected on all the social media networks and found Chef Lynn on twitter which is how I discovered her new restaurant Rubywatcho. As someone passionate about eating locally, I frequent different farmer’s markets throughout the week and have connected myself to several local wineries to both know where my food comes from and to help ensure that local food production is sustained by supporting our local farmers. To find a restaurant that’s very concept echoes that passion was truly a dream come true.
While there are other restaurants that feature local fare and more coming on board, a couple of things make Ruby Watcho stand out from the rest.
It is a gorgeous space designed by Cherie Stinson (also of restaurant makeover fame but who has an impressive list of design credentials) it is both comfortable and homey and glamorous at the same time. A bank of beautiful antique mailboxes on the wall behind the hostess station greet you, followed by an elegant bar stocked with Ontario’s finest wines, the glittering Ruby watchco sign from a watch company invoking memories of days gone by, and the focal point of the restaurant a chef’s station manned by Chef Lynn Crawford and Chef Lora Kirk.
The food is a set menu which is posted daily on their website (I must have checked it every day since I made my reservation a month ago to get a taste of what was to come and to be inspired of what I could create in my own kitchen at home) and is served family style at your table in Le Creuset dishes. This is what was on the menu last night.
Our dining experience was fabulous right from the beginning as the bubbly hostess complimented us on our shoes and shared how she was trying to convince Cherie and Chef Lynn to let her take some of the antique mailboxes to use as a glamorous shoe rack in her home. Our server was friendly and I asked permission to take pictures of my food to post on my blog he enthusiastically replied that the chef would love that and would even oblige a picture of me with her after if I wished. Before we started our meal he asked if we would like a “girls picture” even though one of my friend’s hates her picture being taken it was Rubywatcho…we had to!
The wine list was impressively loaded with fabulous Niagara on the Lake and bench wine finds. We started with a bottle of Foreign Affairs cab and then I moved on to a Rosewood Estates Merlot, which I later found out from Krystina at the winery was some of the last to be had.
The meal started with a stunning baby red romaine ceasar salad with brown butter croutons, shaved parmesan, and a creamy confit garlic dressing accompanied by the most delicious cheddar chive biscuits you have ever tasted. Light an airy on the inside and crispy on the outside we could have made them a dinner on their own.
The next dish was a slow roasted pork loin & jerk pork shoulder with sweet potato roti, rice and pigeon peas and a fennel, carrot, and crispin apple slaw. Transporting you to the islands with carribean flavours this was perfectly executed. Soft pork and potato roti and crisp colorful slaw with bread to wrap it in on the side you could practically feel the sun and hear steel drums. I should also mention that the featured drink of the night was the Billy Ocean which was a combination of ginger beer and rum. We definitely were feeling like Carribean Queen’s eating this beautiful feast.
The cheese course was outstanding. Featuring a beautiful fromagerie Le Detour from Quebec, their Le Marquis was soft, delicate, and runny like brie and was complimented perfectly with slightly bitter country bread and sweet truffle honey made from honey locally sourced by Chef Lora. A highlight of the night not to be missed and definitely something I need to express to the chefs.
The meal finished with a perfect chocolate peanut butter tart with spicy peanuts and Hewitt’s sweet cream. Despite the fact that most of us are trying to watch what we eat to fit into our bikinis for our upcoming Vegas trip, we could not help but devour this beautiful desert. Dark chocolate and velvety peanut butter topped with delicate whipped sweet cream and sprinkled with the spicy nuts, this dish was decadant and rich without being overly sweet.
Just when I thought the evening could not be any more perfect, our server cam by and asked whether I still would be interested in having my photo taken with the chef and having a menu signed for my mom. He led me up to the chef’s prep station and Chef Lynn was exactly as I expected friendly and down to earth as we talked about the honey, spot prawns from tofino, her brother’s upcoming visit to Toronto etc. I have to say that I was so impressed that she took the time despite the restaurant being packed to chat so candidly with a fan and fellow foodie. Cherie Stinson and another server inquired about my shoes and we all joked how the spatula Chef Lynn gave me to pose with for our photo matched them perfectly and it is this personal touch and everything I have mentioned above which will keep me coming back and will ensure Ruby Watchco’s success for a long time to come. If you have not been please make sure you do, you will not be disapointed.
730 Queen Street East
(416) 465-0100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (416) 465-0100 end_of_the_skype_highlighting