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Eat & Drink

The Feasting Room wants you to get to know an animal

Posted by Guest Contributor / October 18, 2012

Feasting Room TorontoOften when we think about ethical eating, it lies somewhere in the spectrum of vegetarianism. We think about all the things we should be eating, like quinoa and almond milk. Rarely, do we think "conscious" and visualize eating a deer. The Feasting Room changes our preconceptions of eating, and does so in such an elegant way, you will wonder why we don't use more parts of an animal.

On the night we went to the Feasting Room, situated right in the Orbit Room and happily quiet at 7pm, we were ready to enjoy one of the last seven weeks of this pop-up restaurant. This is a six course extravaganza that cannot be rushed, and hence your reservation will not be later than 8pm. A couple who tried to come in for bar snacks were politely ushered to another restaurant.

As we were interested in exploring red meat, we decided to try "venison week." Mathieu Dutan, General Manager and self-proclaimed "wine dude" talked us through the process. Our menu was wrapped in brown paper, like a hunk of meat at a butcher's shop. It contained a picture of a deer. Each course was numbered with the part of the animal we were going to eat. I struggled to hold back from asking for crayons.

Before the six courses began, we had two snacks. Noah Goldberg, the chef and owner, butchers the meat himself on the premises to waste as little of the animal as possible. We began with dehydrated venison jerky, which gave our teeth a bit of a workout. The soy sauce and hoisin it was marinated in was suburb. We decided to splurge on the $35 per person wine tasting menu, in which every wine was brought out by Mathieu with each course. Either we got drunker, or the amazing wines got even better, course by course.

Feasting Room TorontoSnack two was venison scotch quail eggs with truffled aioli. When the very cultured Mathieu and Noah weren't looking, we may have licked the aioli from the plate. And this wasn't even our official eating time - this was the warm up.

Feasting Room TorontoCourse one, according to our diagram, would involve liver. We were presented with venison liver pate in a mason jar with a sprinkling of sea salt and homemade blueberry compote. We hesitantly placed the pate on big hunks of toasted bread. The second piece was a different story, the sweet and subtle venison pate being fought over with tiny pate forks.

Feasting Room TorontoWe were a little frightened about the second course, but life is about trying new things, and with Noah and Mathieu's international experiences, we were in good hands. Heart salad was presented with pickled walnut vinaigrette. The heart was so thinly sliced, I would dare anyone not to think it was the best steak salad of their lives.

The remaining parts were traditionally eaten from other animals, like the ribs, served with brussel sprouts and bacon infused cornbread. To anyone who complains of game meat always tasting "tough" this was an example of the opposite. So tender, so sweet, and we were only half-way through. I joked with Mathieu that we could take it; trying to man up in my stilettos.

Feasting Room TorontoFourth course: leg of venison with seasonal squash: spaghetti and butternut. Microgreens, juniper sauce and more incredible wine that we couldn't pronounce. When we bathed the two men in compliments they would humbly speak about the next course to come. Each portion was small and appropriately spaced. We had time to digest, to talk, and to enjoy.

Feasting Room TorontoFifth course was a puff pastry, venison pot pie with button mushrooms and red onions in a thick sauce. Without the bottom crust, it didn't feel too heavy, but it was easily the highlight of the night. Noah's cooking confidence shined in his food, showing his ability to transform any ingredient into someone's new favorite meal.

Feasting Room TorontoBut a venison dessert - is it possible? Surprisingly, yes. Mincemeat and spice cake with a cheeky reference to the "meat" part. Like a beautiful warm Christmas cake, it was sopped up with a dessert wine that was slightly dry.

Easily, easily, one of the best meals of my entire life. There are seven weeks left, each week a different animal, and then afterwards the plan is for Noah and Mathieu to open their own place. This will be a popular restaurant, if anything is right in the world.

Writing by Courtney Sunday. Photos by Jesse Milns



GG Allin / October 18, 2012 at 10:18 am
And how much did this fiasco cost?
Courtney / October 18, 2012 at 10:39 am
The cost per person is $65.
EEKEEKBIJEEK / October 18, 2012 at 10:57 am
I went last week and this "fiasco" was a steel at $65 a person
Danny Paradise / October 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm
That is a crazy looking fiasco of goodness. Reso made for Nov 1st and the Cow-Beast. Noyce.
Jen / October 18, 2012 at 02:00 pm
Whom exactly is this "we" that the writer keeps mentioning? Either there was more than one party contributing to this review or the Queen has become a writer for BlogTO.
Amir / October 18, 2012 at 04:37 pm
I love the idea, the description of everything was done very well, and the photos look AMAZING. Sold. Going there in the next few weeks, and I wont bother even looking up which animal is the star of the night, cause THATS how confident I am.
Courtney / October 18, 2012 at 05:05 pm
Sorry, Jen, you are right. I should have been more clear - I went with my boyfriend. Unfortunately, I am not yet queen.
bob / October 18, 2012 at 08:58 pm
Sorry, but there is nothing ethical about slaughtering an animal and gourging yourself in a multi-course feast of dead animal parts. Go ahead and eat it, but don't call it ethical.
Well paid...Not Wealthy / October 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm
Ethics, ummm how about it is not as annoying as listening to someone say it is not ethical, Blah blah blah.

Food looked amazing that venison answer squash looked delicious for all the wrong reasons.
Tuli replying to a comment from bob / October 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm
Ohh there's something slightly more ethical about eating meat this way than just buying 200g of thinly sliced ham that comes in a plastic bag/package
Tuli replying to a comment from bob / October 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm
Don't get me wrong - both are good, booth I enjoy but one is slightly more ethical
Alex / October 19, 2012 at 05:00 pm
"The soy sauce and hoisin it was marinated in was suburb." I think you meant superb? Or are we using urban sprawl to define food now? Maybe I don't get it.
Alex replying to a comment from Tuli / October 19, 2012 at 05:06 pm
Agreed. Nitrate filled processed crap or carefully crafted wild game dishes made from all parts of the animal and almost none gone to waste. Hmm, tough choice.
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