Meeno Meijer, National Post
Chef Michael Stadtlander uses his
own vegetables, duck, rabbits and pigs at Eigensinn Farm.
Ontario's most unlikely gourmet
restaurant has been named one of the top 10 in the world.
Eigensinn Farm, near Collingwood,
offers a decidedly different dining experience, according to
Restaurant magazine, which is aimed at gourmets. It was ninth on the
list, just behind a famous London eatery.
You won't need a jacket or tie to dine
at Eigensinn Farm, but it's a good idea to wear rubber boots because
the path to the front door is speckled with chicken droppings.
There's no air conditioning, they don't take credit cards, and the
restaurant does not have a liquor licence. (But you can bring your
own bottle of wine.)
However, the farm/restaurant belongs to
a renowned chef, Michael Stadtlander, and reservations must be made
months in advance.
The restaurant only serves dinner twice
weekly to a maximum of 12-15 guests.
Eigensinn Farm is named for an obscure
Herman Hesse novel. The name translates roughly as "find your own
path," which is what Mr. Stadtlander has done.
Mr. Stadtlander, who is German-born,
has cooked at some of the finest five-star restaurants in Toronto.
But 10 years ago, he and his Japanese
wife, Nobuyo, decided to leave the city and raise their family on a
100-acre farm close to Creemore, a 20-minute drive from Collingwood
on the shore of Georgian Bay.
The restaurant began to attract
attention in 1997 when a glowing review appeared in The New York
Mr. Stadtlander uses his own farm
vegetables, fruits, Muscovy duck, rabbits and pigs.
Dinner is a no-choice, six-course menu
that costs $90 a person, not including tip and taxes.
A typical set menu offers raw tuna,
foie gras, pigeon and rack of venison.
Clients who have landed a reservation
must call three days before coming. Mr. Stadtlander then tells them
exactly what the meal will be, so they can chose appropriate wines.
Critics and reviewers have sometimes
criticized the rustic nature of the restaurant, but have often been
effusive about the fare provided.
"Having warned you of the rough edges,"
one reviewer concluded, "I can also say we had a great meal."
The restaurant is currently closed,
while the family is on vacation.
In compiling its list, the magazine
asked 50 people with an inveterate interest in food and travel,
including several chefs, to name their best-in-the-world
Most avoided New York and Tokyo in
favour of far-flung places well off the beaten track.
El Bulli, the magazine's top-rated
restaurant, is in a small village in Spain's Costa Brava. The
waiting list for a table at that restaurant is said to be a year.
WORLD'S TOP 10:
Restaurant magazine's picks were:
1. El Bulli -- Rosas, Spain
2. Gordon Ramsay -- Chelsea, London
3. The French Laundry -- Napa Valley,
4. Rockpool -- Sydney, Australia
5. Spoon -- Mauritius
6. Auberge De l'ill -- Alsace, France
7. 1884 -- Mendoza , Argentina
8. The Ivy -- London
9. Eigensinn Farm -- Collingwood, Ont.
10. Tetsuya -- Sydney, Australia