Secret Diners: Culinaria Restaurant

Secret Diners: Culinaria Restaurant

Last month, a couple of gourmets from west Mississauga chose to revisit a heritage site and report on this charming restaurant’s succulent offerings.
Words by Tara Pepper

Many years ago, Bobby and I enjoyed a great dinner at The Elliott House restaurant. We wondered recently whether we would have a similar experience considering the business has been around for so many years.

When we first went for dinner at The Elliott House, it was not much more than an old stone dwelling in a field in the Kennedy/Matheson area. Today, while the farmhouse is the same – only a bit bigger thanks to several additions over the years – the area surrounding it has morphed into a headquarters for a variety of businesses. And although the surroundings have changed, the renovated, colonial stone farmhouse remains uniquely charming: built sometime between 1836 and 1850, in 1981, The Elliott House was granted official historical designation for its heritage value.

Formerly known as The Elliott House Restaurant, the building is now home to Culinaria as well as the Culinary Arts School of Ontario. I thought it might be fun to go to a dinner at Culinaria, assuming our meal would have been created by the students of the chef school but according to our server the two operate completely independently, with a separate catering operation that has extensive menu offerings.

We were seated in the main dining room, which is reminiscent of an old-fashioned formal dining room in someone’s private home. The walls were decorated with black and white photographs that had been taken in and around Elliott House. The photo over our very table depicted two gentlemen in coats and soapbox hats holding wine glasses and it made me wonder what they were celebrating. There was also a picture of a man and woman sitting on the grass in their Sunday finery. What tales these walls could tell!

Culinaria’s wait staff is exceptional; in fact, we had no fewer than three servers ensuring that we were very well taken care of. Even though there were other diners in the room with us, the space seemed very private and quiet. We overheard other diners expressing that they hadn’t been there in years either and we were excited to find out what was in store for us!

Culinaria Restaurant

The wine list had a good selection of wines divided by country – California, Australia, Italy, and others. There was definitely something for everyone and in all price ranges. Because we love California Zinfandels, we chose the Edmeades Mendocino County 2008 offering, one that cannot be purchased from the LCBO. It was delicious fruity, peppery, full-bodied – everything you would want in a Zin.

The menu choices would feed even the most finicky eaters and included a full list of yummy-sounding specials. Two different soups were offered as well as several types of salad ($6 – $9). The starters ($9 – $14) were mostly seafood choices. I opted for the steamed mussels and was thoroughly enamoured with the plump, succulent, expertly cooked bi-valves, served in a gentle, creamy sauce that let the sweet flavour of the mussels shine. Bobby had the calamari; rings cooked perfectly tender with a gently spicy tomato garlic sauce that imparted a slow tingle on the lips. Delicious!

For our main meal ($21 – $25), Bobby chose the Five-Point Lamb Rack and it came to the table fanned out in a perfect presentation. The lamb was nicely cooked and very tender, served with roasted potatoes. I chose another seafood dish: Grilled Shrimp, Scallops and a Lobster Tail served on a bed of earthy quinoa. The shrimp were massive and delicious; the scallops sweet and tender. As an accompaniment to our meal we decided on the fresh asparagus and succulent exotic mushrooms ($2 each), a nice addition to our meal. It was easy to tell that the quality ingredients had been very well prepared.

There were many offerings on the dessert menu ($8 – $9) and Bobby opted for his favourite, Crème Brulee. It arrived with a thick, rich caramel candy topping that when shattered exposed the wonderfully creamy, smooth custard beneath. A perfect dessert. My “Apple Pie” was a unique presentation of apples with butterscotch topping, in crepes served with vanilla ice cream; an interesting combination.

To end the meal, an excellent selection of speciality coffees, ports and premium scotches were on the menu. We opted for my favourite specialty coffee, the Monte Cristo and were very happy with a perfectly blended version. Scrumptious!

The Culinaria Restaurant at Elliott House caters to the business community with four separate rooms that can be booked individually for events, business meetings or executive lunches or dinners. It would be the perfect venue for that special meeting or a quiet dinner. Enjoy!

Culinaria Restaurant @ Elliott House (905) 890-7330
5732 Kennedy Road in Mississauga

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