[attach]3881[/attach]The sign outside proclaims the ethos at Globe Earth: Think global, eat local. And the menu is changed seasonally to reflect this. Chef Kevin McKenna makes the best of seasonal ingredients and carefully lists their local provenance on the menu.
We study it over a glass of Bonny Doon Sangiovese ($11) for me (chosen from an extensive list of wines by the glass) and a draft brew from Granite Brewery ($5.95) for my guest. To accompany these, we nibble buttermilk and thyme scones, which are the chef’s light and flaky alternative to bread rolls.
I start with the soup of the day — a creamy celeriac puree topped with a crumbling of Stilton ($6). The tang of the blue cheese makes a nice contrast with the delicate flavour of celeriac. And, hurray, the soup is really hot!
My guest opts for plump P.E.I. mussels in a hearty broth of Granite beer with pieces of pancetta ($6). I usually prefer my mussels in a wine/shallot broth, but I have to confess, this is so good I just have to double check with a couple more tastes.
Yup, this is definitely delicious.
[attach]3882[/attach]My guest’s Prince Edward County lamb shank ($24) is served with lentils and what I can only describe as rutabaga cloves (picture this root vegetable cut into ovals the size of elephant garlic cloves).
“I’ve never had rutabaga done this way, but it’s so good I could have done with another half dozen!” my guest laughs.
And he comments on the mildness of local lamb: “I think I’m usually served Australian lamb, which seems to have a stronger flavour. This really is a beautiful meat.”
The lamb — and there’s generous servings of it — is so tender it forks off the bone.
The skin on my black cod ($25) has been crisped and the flesh is cooked to perfection: it hasn’t had a second more on the flame than required. But the brandade (a mash of salt cod and potatoes) that accompanies it, although tasty with pieces of green onion, is too salty for my taste. As is the fried kale on which the cod is served. The three sweet potato discs make a nice contrast to the saltiness — and perhaps that’s the idea — but it proves too much for my palate.
It’s the only false note all evening.
For dessert, I simply can’t resist homemade ice cream ($7) with caramel and bacon.
Yes, you read that correctly. Its creamy texture and sweetness are deceptive: every so often a little bit of salty bacon gives the taste buds a surprise. It comes with a chocolate chip cookie so laden that it’s half melted chocolate and half chewy cookie in equal proportions.
My guest’s pumpkin pot de crème ($7) tastes like pumpkin pie without the pastry. Rich and silky, it’s topped with crème fraîche and three little caramelized pumpkin seeds.
He begins with the words, “I’m so full, I doubt I’ll be able to eat all this,” and ends with a clean bowl. Then he polishes off the little pepper shortbread fingers that accompany the dish.
Now these really are a surprise: they start off smooth and buttery and finish with the bite of black pepper.
I love the way this chef gives the ordinary a unique twist, awakening the palate with an unexpected sensation.
Two really good cups of coffee are the final bonus ($2.50).
It’s noteworthy that the water in Globe bottles is tap water. A pet peeve of the chef’s is the myth that tap water is somehow bad, says the waitress. It’s also bad for the environment, she might have added, but I note that real bottled water is served at the next table.
Also noteworthy, the cheese menu actually names the four Canadian cheeses available by the ounce, and gives the characteristics of each. Bravo!
A gorgeous interior in the prevailing espresso and cappuccino colour scheme is lifted with stone and reclaimed barn boards. Some interesting light fixtures and plenty of candles create a warm ambience. This spot is a wonderful find.
Globe Earth (sister to Globe Bistro), 1055 Yonge St. 416-551-9890. [url]www.globeearth.ca[/url].