Mastard is owned and run by Chef Simon Mathys and his wife Viki Brisson-Sylvestre. They offer a 5-course tasting menu of local and seasonal items with an array of cocktails and natural wines. Opening in Jan. 2021, it feels like a neighborhood restaurant but can accommodate 54 people. They made #55 on the 100 Best of Canada list. Windows look out onto the street and the lights are lowered. The tin ceiling was opposite the very wide plank wood floor. The bar, which makes many of its own fruit infusions was set with 5 chairs and the long wall opposite had bench seating that was a higher level than the chairs on the opposite side of the marble table. Two of the walls had paintings on the wall and otherwise, the decorations were plants. Chef Mathys was in the house and brought food out to some but not all the tables. Optional pairings are available with the tasting but we chose our own bottle of wine and started with a cocktail. The food was mixed but the service was first-rate.
We started with the “Drupe” cocktail which contained Gin Madison Park, peach, mélisse (lemon balm) and agastache (mint/anise). It had a Luxardo cherry on a stick at the top. It was a beautiful color and a refreshing drink that wasn’t too sweet but was filled with flavor. The server said the bartender made his own peach juice to put in it.
Broccoli, maitake and clam made up the first course. Some broccoli puree was on top of the broccoli pieces surrounded by foamy clam sauce and decorated with a bit of trout roe. The bottom broccoli was cooked to fork-tender and the mushroom and clam made a tasty sauce to go with it.
Bread service was slices of brown sourdough with softened butter. The bread was from a local bakery, not house-made. The thick slices were tasty with a good crisp crust and dense doughy interior.
Scallop was with corn and marjoram. The scallop in a browned butter sauce was next to creamy corn pie, and cooked perfectly. It was luscious in the rich butter. The delicate pie had a lovely buttery, flakey crust with a yummy corn filling. Wonderful course.
Halibut, Nduja and tomato were served alongside smoked pasta. The halibut was from Quebec and cooked nicely in a rich creamy sauce. Plated with it was a thick and seasoned slice of green tomato with a pork sausage in between. After you ate that you were to use the smoked pasta, which did really taste smokey, to soak up the last of the sauce. I cheated and ate some with the others and it was divine. Another winner.
Beef, black bean, salsify and oyster made up the last savory course. The beef was from the strip and in a salsify purée. On a separate plate was a waffle chunk topped with an oyster. Here the waffle had been fried to a crisp and tasted too much of oil – it didn’t work. The beef was fine and the black beans were cooked to a tender state with something crunchy, like toasted breadcrumbs on top. It was the better half of the course but paled compared to the previous one.
Cantaloupe, tarragon and marigold were the listed dessert ingredients. Tarragon ice cream was topped with rum-treated marigold and marigold jelly and then surrounded by sweet melon pieces. Next to it was a buttery sponge cake stuffed with foie gras cream. It had the slightest crispiness to the edge and it was delicious. The ice cream was well flavored and the melon was nicely ripe. Good ending to a nice meal.