Raymonds is one large rectangular room filled with large, well-spaced tables appointed with padded armless chairs, white tableclothes and large white napkins. Three wrapped chandeliers and real candles provide the lighting when the sun goes down and the 3 sides of windows no longer let in light. The windows looks out over St. John’s harbour and passing boats. The floor is carpeted and the high ceiling is decorated with heavy crown molding. The room feels elegant and the crowd is more dressed up, many celebrating special occasions. However it is noisy when the room fills up. The building dates back to 1915 and previously was home to a cable company. They opened 9 years ago after a couple years of extensive remodeling. The menu offers 3 tasting menus (3, 5 and 7 courses) with the 3 course one having a la carte size portions and the others appropriately scaled. All the menus had optional wine pairings available and the server said they would accommodate allergies or aversions. We chose the 7 course tasting with the wine pairings.
We tried their version of an Old Fashioned cocktail and munched on some slices of fresh, hot sourdough bread while we waited for the tasting to start. It was served with house cultured salted butter that was smoked. The bread had a wonderful crisp crust and the doughy interior was dense and moist. You could definitely taste the smoke in the butter. It was all good.
The menu started with snacks of oyster and scallops. A Prince Edward Island oyster was in fermented honey and rhubarb with rhubarb jus. The honey helped the tartness of the crunchy rhubarb and worked well with the plump tasty oyster. The scallop crudo was with radish, white turnip, dill oil, scallop chips, lovage and fennel powder. The plentiful scallops were accented with freeze dried crispy scallop chips. The vegetables were all really fresh and nice but overall the dish was underseasoned. It was great stuff though.
Tonnato was made with smoked and sliced pork neck with an oyster emulsion, tatsoi (greens), preserved yellow tomato vinaigrette and mushroom powder. The amazingly tender pork was really good with the fresh green leaves and tasty sauce. The sauce was mayo like with just the right amount of brine to work perfectly. A very good dish.
Pasta Gargati was made with wilted kale and tatsoi and plated with ricotta then garnished with pea shoots and radish sprouts. The little rolls of pasta had grooves on the outside edge that soaked up the sauce. They were dense and tasty and the sauce terrific. Some crispy crumbs added a nice bit of texture to this wonderful, well balanced dish.
Halibut was steamed in sauce of whey butter and plated with white turnip, corn lily in fireweed oil and a fennel, dill, green garlic & scallion green oil. The nice sized slice of fish had a good stick to the texture in a really good sauce. The flavors were mild but very pleasant and left a great aftertaste. The turnips were from Newfoundland and so incredibly fresh that they were sweet. This was a good dish.
Newfoundland Cod loin was pan seared with sea urchin beurre (sauce). Alongside were pieces of cod cheek and tongue. All were perfectly cooked and went well with the sauce.
Partridge breast was served with a carrot purée, onion petals and partridge jus. The bird was hunted in Newfoundland and cooked nicely rare. It was very tender and the texture was not at all mealy. The seared onion was dotted with the partridge jus and lingonberries. It was good.
A profiterole filled with roasted dandelion butter cream served as a transition to the dessert course. It was lovely, buttery and fun. Yum.
Dessert was rhubarb on a graham crumble all sitting on a pineappleweed and salted carmel cream cheese mousse. The rhubarb was poached in blackcurrent leaf kombucha syrup. The creamy mousse was sweet enough to offset the tartness of the rhubarb and also provided a textural contrast. The crumbs added another bit of texture to the nice dish.
The sommelier was nice enough to give us a glass of an older red wine as a birthday gift. It went well with the final treat of a black and white sesame seed macaron filled with buttercream and something blackened purée. It had a good chew and a wonderful amount of sesame flavor. It was a very good end to the meal.