Rich Uncle Tavern & Red Circle Brewing Co - A Perfect Pairing
Enjoy a night out at The Rich Uncle Tavern with this unique dinner series featuring local craft breweries and food.
Walking into The Rich Uncle Tavern is like stepping back in time. As soon as you step through the door, a full suit of armor stands guard and suspender clad wait staff greet you. From the exposed brick walls, to the framed photographs of old generals hanging on the walls, to the cigar boxes containing your drink menus on the tables, it is an experience for the senses. Located at the back of the restaurant is their open kitchen. The smells and sights they create there are a feast for the eyes and stomach! So when the Rich Uncle launched a ‘Prohibition’ series, it seemed only fitting. This is a series of five, 5 course meals featuring pairings from local breweries and, of course, amazing food prepared by the team at the Rich Uncle Tavern led by Executive Chef Benjamin Lillico.
I had the privilege of attending the first dinner in the series with special guest brewery Red Circle Brewing Co. Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were welcomed into their front alcove to enjoy snacks before the meal started. The first sample of beer, Red Circle Pilsner, appeared to accompany the soon to arrive snacks. First up, a flight of the Rich Uncles spicy nuts. These little morsels of delight were followed by cheese toasties, (think adult grilled cheese made with superior cheese and house made bread). Scotch eggs followed the toasties. My first time and it was a very positive experience! The final dish was lamb ribs. A really unique twist on your classic rib. At this point I wished I had fasted a little longer before this event.
We were welcomed by Chef Benjamin Lillico and brewmaster Brett of Red Circle Brewing Co. Each course was introduced by this talented team. The food plates were described by Chef Benjamin and then provided some unique history on beer by Brett. First course was the Ploughman’s Board including smoked prosciutto, pork terrine, pork rillettes, pickled eggs, smoked cheddar and toasted bread made in house. I was pleasantly surprised by the terrine. With chunks of fresh apple and finely chopped cabbage, it was a shame I hadn’t tried it earlier. The rillettes was a perfect pair with the smoked cheese. This course was paired with Red Circle’s Iron Horse IPA. Red Circle creates their IPA with a mix of citra, mosaic and galaxy hops.
Second course started with a quick history lesson on Belgian saisons. The Sand Hills Farmhouse Ale was the pairing for course number two. It is one of Red Circle’s core beers. Brett described it as light, fruity and favourful with undertones of clove, pepper and banana. I was following him until he said banana. I love beer, though wouldn’t consider myself a connoisseur, but banana?!? It intrigued me. I took a quick sip when the sample arrived. Very flavourful and fruity but no banana per se. We received our second course of Potato Leek soup. A creamy soup topped with dehydrated ramp (wild leek) powder. After a few mouthfuls I decided to take another sip of the beer. Bam! Bananas. I have always been a fan of saisons and this one moved quickly to the top of my list.
Third course was my favourite of the night. Fresh, wood fire grilled Atlantic salmon on a bed of root vegetable slaw, on a bed of mussels and white beans in a carrot and ginger broth. The flavours were perfectly intertwined. It was fresh, colourful and flavourful. This course was also paired with the Pilsner which had started off our evening. To say I was full was an understatement! I ordered a peppermint tea, in hopes of making it to the end of the evening.
Fourth course kicked off with some fun facts from Brett about beer. Did you know that there are about 200 different malts to select from when making beer? The first record of beer was about 13,000 years ago! I was happy to get this little reprieve before starting the next course…The Beef Duo. As a beef farmer, it is one of the dishes in restaurants I am most hesitant to try. Chef Benjamin nailed this. The beef duo comprised of braised short rib with an arugula pesto, accompanied by a house made beef sausage with a beer and mustard bordelaise. This was paired with grilled parsnips and a Miatake mushroom. I’ll admit, I asked for a takeout container as there was no way I was able to finish this course. I needed to leave some room for dessert, right?
So, after a couple hours of eating and drinking we arrived at the final course. The night ended off with Red Circle’s Coffee Porter. We were told this was a perfect dessert, and potential breakfast beer. This porter is another one of Red Circle’s core beers. The porter originated in London in the 1700s. They mixed 3 different beers together creating a new beer experience. This beer was most popular with the working class aka the porters. Five different malts go into this particular coffee porter. Red Circle cold steeps fresh roasted espresso for 24-48 hours. This is more for the flavour and aroma over caffeine content or bitterness. Between the porter and the dessert it was paired with, they made a perfect combination to finish off the night. A triple chocolate cake with raspberries 3 ways…match made in heaven. The chocolate cake had a toasted walnut bottom, topped with a super fluffy chocolate cake topped with a rich chocolate ganache. The cake was accompanied with a raspberry sorbet, raspberry sauce and a few fermented raspberries. If you haven’t tried a fermented raspberry, I recommend you do so!
This was definitely an experience I would recommend. There are four more dinners coming up. There is still a little room left. Be sure to contact the Rich Uncle soon so you don’t lose out on this opportunity. Located on King Street right across from The Museum, The Rich Uncle Tavern is a local gem worth visiting.