The Drake Devonshire: quaint yet modern, beautifully decorated but not too much, thoughtfully laid out and incredibly charming. I can’t say enough about this lakeside restaurant and boutique hotel in Prince Edward County owned by Toronto’s ultra-cool The Drake Hotel.
It is quite the trip from Kingston — located on the west side of Picton in Wellington — but if you appreciate good taste in decor and food – you’ll appreciate this tucked away gem.
Approaching the Devonshire is like visiting a rich family’s country home, a wooden deck leads the way to a bright yellow door. As soon as you walk in and look left, the floor-to-ceiling windows filled with views of the crystal blue Wellington bay capture your eye. The space is bright and sprinkled with quirky decor details like mismatched olive green and yellow chairs and big vintage lightbulbs. From the floral, metal and olive green plates to the fresh cut flower centrepieces – they’ve thought of every detail.
Drink Choices: On both occasions, I’ve had the white sangria (tromba blanco tequila, cointreau, watermelon, white wine) and I appreciate that it’s legitimate sangria. When you get a bite of watermelon you can tell that it’s been soaking in alcohol. I find restaurants will often throw the fruit in at the end and it is more wine-with-fruit than sangria. Also, I’ve had the Lavender Lemonade at the Toronto location and it’s one of my favourite cocktails – sweet, sour and a subtle floral flavour all at once.
Food Choices: I’ve had the pleasure of trying a few items over a couple of visits so I’ll tell you about my favourites.
- The Popcorn Shrimp, $14 (appetizer): this light tempura battered shrimp is perfect if you want a little something before you eat but don’t want to fill up. It’s all about the kimchi aoli – amazing! It comes with three shrimps so keep that in mind if you’re sharing.
- The Charcuterie, $12 pp (appetizer): an array of cured meats with seasonal spreads, this is a great dish for two to share. The downfall for me is that it doesn’t include cheese (there’s a dessert cheese plate,though).
- The Drake and Bake, $9 (appetizer): A friend described it perfectly, “It is one of the few place where you don’t mind paying for your bread.” Each time they have different seasonal spreads. Most recently, sundried ricotta, lime/cilantro/pablano and a salted butter. The bread is still warm when it reaches the table and this is a good size app to share with two other people.
- Lobster Nachos (appetizer): Lobster + nachos. There’s not much more I can say about this other than it is as delicious as you would imagine. It is a special item (not listed on the menu) but they seem to have them often. Perfect size for two to share before a meal.
- Devonshire Burger, $18 (main): This burger has very simple ingredients (cheddar, crispy bacon, pickle, lettuce, onion and a mayo-based “russian sauce”) that give it a sense of nostalgia in the sense that many gourmet burgers these days are stacked with ingredients. This burger is basic but the ingredients are high quality – I would eat the milk bun by itself and be happy. They’ve admitted that it’s a favourite among guests and a friend exclaimed after her first bite, “Holy shit. This is the best thing I’ve ever had.” Need I say more?
- Crispy Eggplant Parmesan, $19 (main): I didn’t order this but stole a bite and it is incredibly light for anything that is breaded with cheese. I am told that it didn’t leave the bloated, full feeling that is commonly associated with a Parmesan. Bonus.
- Sundae: This is unlike any “sundae” I’ve ever eaten. Vanilla ice cream with lime, rhubarb and a streusel crumble on top. Some bites resemble a key lime pie. I’m into it.
$$$$: This is not a cheap date. Did you read where I said you have to pay for the bread? The entrees are between $18-$36. But I promise that if you appreciate a good meal and nice scenery, you won’t bat an eyelash at your bill. Well, maybe you will but I think it’s money well spent.
BONUS: After you’re done eating there is a little pebble beach with lounge chairs overlooking the water. There are always kids skipping stones down here and it’s also a good place to take screaming babies for a walk when they’ve had enough of their high chair.
Keep up with Drake Devonshire: The Drake is all about the social media. They print their preferred hashtags on the receipt – #drakedev #drakedevonshire #drakebythelake. You can follow them along with their other locations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.