Dinner Out: McGill’s Fabulous Flashback Dinner
By Scott Campbell
What an awesome trip back to the sixties and seventies with the fantastic crew at McGill’s in New Minas. This incredible idea for a themed dinner was done perfectly with the serving staff and the kitchen staff all wearing tie-dyed apparel. The cocktail menu for the evening evoked a lot of nostalgia for many of the diners. Original recipe Singapore slings were coming out on trays alongside the crowd favourite: “The Lost Annapolis.” The delicious drink has roots in Canada’s oldest settlement. You don’t get much more “retro” than that. But let me tell you about the food.
Under the expert eye of Chef Richard Harmes, the evening began with a fresh Waldorf salad. Gilbert, our very learned server for the evening, also explained the lineage of the Waldorf salad. The tart green apples, crunchy walnuts, and the incredible house smoked dressing culminated to create this amazing beginning to our dinner.
The next course was a beef Wellington. Fluffy pastry wrapped around perfectly roasted beef, all accompanied by a Bearnaise sauce, Brussels sprouts, and pickled mushrooms. This classic was reproduced perfectly.
Next up was a cucumber veloute. This small portion treat was a glass of chilled cucumber soup. Its fresh flavour was enhanced by the slight notes of curry in the background – a great bridge to our next course.
The fourth course was a creamy, piping hot coquilles St. Jacques. Chef Harmes outdid himself again with this masterfully recreated classic dish. The scallops were plump and sweet and cooked perfectly. The silken texture served to enhance the flavour of the fresh scallops.
Our final course, before dessert, was a fun fondue. This sharing dish included a medley of chicken, fish, and shrimp all simmered in broth in the classic fondue Chinoise style. It had been ages since I’d shared a fondue at a dinner table and I’d forgotten just how much fun it can be.
Dessert turned out to be the most spectacular presentation of all our courses. We knew we were in for something truly special when the servers turned the lights down in preparation for the entrance of Chef Harmes’ baked Alaska – on fire. The rich blue flames that encased the delicious meringue hinted at the rich wonderful flavours that were waiting for us inside.
A toast to Chef Harmes, Gilbert, Judy and the rest of the talented team at McGill’s for putting together such a fun, engaging and delicious evening.Treat yourself and take in one of the upcoming themed nights at McGill’s in New Minas. Cheers.
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