Friday, 24 August 2012

Restaurant review: Cellars (Elora)

This is a review based on two visits this month to this pricey but charming river side gastro pub in the former mill town of Elora, Ontario which is about three miles west of Fergus where my mother is staying in a nursing home. Elora is about a hundred kilometres North East of  Toronto and in the middle of Wellington county. The pub is on the north side of the Grand River that flows westerly through the center of both Fergus and Elora. You can see a photo of the river taken from the middle of the Elora bridge below with the restaurant just through the trees on the left.

The town of Elora was founded in 1832 by a Captain William Gilkinson and the name came from the Ellora caves near Aurangabad in India where the name of  the Captain's brother's ship originated. The river has a well known waterfall called the Tooth of Time just east of the restaurant. In order to reach the back patio by the river, you have to walk down a brick path on the west side of the building and pass some very attractive flower arrangements.

On my first visit, I had as an appetizer the Baked Goat Cheese which was baked in a phyllo pastry with mango beet chutney. Very good. Tasted like more.

And for the entre, fresh salmon on a spinach salad with poached pear and tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette topped with spicy walnuts and blue cheese. The wine was a Niagara region vidal.  Also very good. Portion controlled.

 On my second visit this month, I had the Grilled Calamari which was tossed in a tomato vinaigrette served on a warm bed of greens, peanuts and craisins ( dried cranberries), and topped with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Excellent and the calamari wasn't chewy which is the sign of a properly prepared dish and not over cooked like a lot of restaurants. The pink colour comes from the sun shining through the red umbrella which you can't see in the picture. Good presentation. The wine was an Argentine shiraz.

For desert, I had the lime cheese cake with fresh coffee. Acceptable. Could put more lime in the recipe.

The service was slow but then I find that most of the restaurants in the country have slow service. The view was certainly entertaining while I was waiting for the food to arrive.

I would have to say that the wine was moderately priced but the selection was mediocre for the quality of the food. I only tried the lunch menu.  Overall quite good and right in the middle of town on the south side of Mill Street. Within a short walking distance of most downtown stores.

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