Turn off one of Kingston’s busiest roads and onto a dirt path framed beautifully by large trees, pass a well-manicured house and you’ll see a turquoise exterior topped with the words “Bayview Farm Restaurant.” At first, it feels as if you’re visiting a friend’s country home – expecting a golden retriever named Duke to race towards you. But the restaurant sign is a reminder that you’ve made a dinner reservation and you’re here to enjoy a five-star meal prepared by skilled chefs and served by them, too.
Yes, the chefs will serve you. A very innovative concept by owner Clark Day, a seasoned Kingston chef and restauranteur. Day is passionate about local food and loves the idea of servers having full knowledge of how the food is prepared. During my visit, a table next to me has a gentleman with a garlic allergy and Day takes pride in knowing that his chefs/servers can accommodate accordingly because they are responsible for preparation.
With menu items like Garam Masala Maple Duck Breast, Seafood Risotto and Sweet Potato Gnudi, it’s easy to identify influences from all over the world. And after a conversation with our chef/server, Sarah Jane Macdonald, it’s obvious why. Sarah is a Kingstonian who has found home in places like Italy and Ireland learning about different cultures’ approach to food with a Masters of Food Culture and Communication at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in northern Italy and working with top chefs in Ireland.
After we order, Sarah says, “I’ll start making those for you.”
I can’t wait to dig in.
Drink Choices: The menu is filled with local wine and beer. I choose a Ontario Riesling and notice many sparkling wines are also available. I flip through a couple of pages of drink choices but to be honest, I am here for the food. My glass of Riesling is delicious, though.
Food Choices: If you’re looking for a daily off-menu special, look no further than what you see listed because everything is special due to their access to fresh produce from the farm – the menu is ever-changing.
Apps: I have the Butter Pastry Onion Tarte, Back Bacon Jam & Lankaster to start and a friend gets the Squash Soup with Smoked Char Topped with Crisp Leeks. The soup is a generous offering with big bites of char (fish) – I steal a few slurps. It’s very good.
The onion tarte is incredible. Described to me as a deconstructed “french onion soup,” that is pretty accurate. Rich caramelized onions and a flakey pastry make for a satisfying start.
*A nice touch to the soup presentation: the bowl has a lid which creates a fun “reveal moment” when it is unveiled at the table while keeping the soup piping hot.
Mains: It is very difficult to choose the main course because I want to try more than one item. Enright Filet Mignon, Pomme Anna, Yorkshire Pudding Alium Demi Glace sounds incredible but so does the Garam Masala Maple Duck Breast & Udon Noodles in Thai Coconut Broth and Seafood Risotto with North Atlantic Shrimp & Salmon.
If you like expensive proteins, this is the place for you.
I settle on the Seafood risotto. The salmon is perfectly cooked. Juicy and flakey. The risotto is also the texture I like – creamy but not mushy.
A friend gets the Chicken with Sweet Potato Gnudi (like a gnocchi – dumpling pasta) in a chicken broth. I steal a bite and the gnudi is amazing and the chicken has a scrumptious crispy skin. Her favourite part of it is the clear broth as it balances the gnudi.
Dessert: I am not sure how we even have room for dessert. Somehow we manage. Splitting three desserts, we try the Belgian Chocolate Mousse, Maple Creme Caramel and Almond Spice Cake. All three are delicious but our favourite is the Maple Creme Caramel because it’s not too sweet and the maple syrup is made in-house.
$$$$$: This is not an every night type of meal, unless you’ve got Kimye money. With locally grown food, chefs who skillfully prepare your meal AND serve you – attentively, might I add – a higher bill is expected. The apps are between $10-$16 and typically serve one, the mains are $30-$42 and the desserts are $10. #treatyourself
BONUS: It feels like you’re in someone’s home with the nice formalities of fine dining. They will take your coat, place your napkin in your lap, refill your water before it’s half-drunk and refresh your cutlery before each course but when you look around at the cozy atmosphere, it doesn’t feel formal or stuffy.
*Note: You will need a reservation to dine here. Call: (613) 389-4419.