REVIEW: Laurie Raphaël «Brunch de la Chasse»

Brunch de la Chasse at Laurie Raphaël
Brunch de la Chasse at Laurie Raphaël

Until November 16, the restaurant Laurie Raphaël (LR) is offering a «hunting» brunch. A five-course meal inspired by nature and the wilderness of a forest. I was invited to taste this creative and rustic culinary adventure that appeals to all senses.

The LR is a four-diamond CAA/AAA rated restaurant in the Old Port of Quebec City. It’s near the antiques district of Quebec City and close to most of the downtown tourist attractions, like the Musée de la Civilisation or the Marché du Vieux-Port farmer’s market. It’s also just a few steps away from two of my favourite Hotels: the Germain-Dominion and Auberge Saint-Antoine.

People come from all over the province to enjoy a meal at LR, because it is owned and operated by star chef Daniel Vezina (and his family). His son Raphaël is slowly but very surely getting ready to take over his father’s kitchen. Daughter Laurie is partly in charge of communications and marketing with her mother Suzanne. LR is a family affair.

And so was the brainstorming and conception of this limited edition «hunting» brunch. Presentation, condiments and accessories were assembled by all four family members: red and green plaid placemats, mini wood logs and fir as plating accessories for a menu presented on butcher paper, tied to a piece of veneer with pork roast rope. Clearly, they are trying to remind me of my grandfather’s hunting lodge. And it works. Even the staff’s bowties and scarves carefully match the occasion.

The menu is a clear inspiration of the Quebec boreal forest and it’s wild products: boar, deer, bison and trout accompanied to wild mushrooms, seabuckthorn, beetroot and pumpkin. All ingredients are in season and carefully selected from local producers.

Menu de Chasse

LR's hunting trout head
LR’s hunting trout head

The Vezina family found the perfect introduction to set the tone for the meal: a seabuckthorn and orange mimosa served in a cognac glass where the bottom recipient is filled with lichen smoke. As I lifted the top glass to take a sip of my mimosa, the smoke evaporated from the bottom recipient. How clever. The smell instantly transported me into a forest. Seabuckthorn can be pretty astringent, but in this case, the orange and sparkling wine turned it into a delectable, delicate ingredient.

1-The first serving: scrambled eggs with wild mushroom and dehydrated dear. It was served in the egg’s shelve. Original, and quite delicate. I could have eaten a full bowl to myself.

2-The mini béné disappeared in one bite. The quail egg was cooked perfectly, but unfortunately, the smoked trout and «wintergeen» tea didn’t have enough attitude to shine through.

3-I loved the simplicity of the pumpkin cream with smoked duck and cedar-infused ice cream (frozen with nitrogen). A velvety, soft and flavourful pumpkin cream (felt like a Thermomix texture) that melted the cedar ice cream and blended perfectly with the duck. This soup was served in a hand-made bowl by Pascale Girardin. So beautiful.

4-Then came my main course, a shoat stew (baby boar) served with polenta and asparagus rolled in bacon. This dish was a little salty for my taste, but the meat was tender and savoury. Boar is lean meat that needs to be cooked gently. Definitely the case here.

My partner Marie-Eve ate the trout, served in its entirety with the flesh made in dill infused mousse. LR can serve trout with the head since it arrives alive in the restaurant. The chef slowly puts the trout to sleep by adding ice to the water. It can then be cooked and served to the customer with the head. It’s impressive and so fresh. I hadn’t seen a full trout in a plate since my grandfather sold his fish farm in the mid 90s.

5-To finish things off, a crabapple lollipop filled with foie gras and then dipped in crystallized maple sugar. Crazy good! The Brunch de la Chasse is available weekends until November 16.

Laurie Raphaël
117 Dalhousie Street,
Quebec City, QC
G1K 9C8
418-692-4555

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