Dining Review: Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge in Chatham-Kent, Ontario

Dining at the Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge is a Culinary Adventure, Chatham-Kent, Ontarioopens IMAGE file

Dining at the Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge is a Culinary Adventure, Chatham-Kent, Ontario

A friend of mine told me about Canary Wharf’s best Italian restaurant and it got me thinking about other places that would like to visit and places that I have visited. “Deliciously eclectic” is how I simply describe the opens in a new windowChilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. Located in the fab opens in a new windowRetro Suites Hotel the restaurant’s menu includes a mix of seasonally fresh local fare, exotic notes and modern twists on traditional and familiar flavors crafted by opens in a new windowExecutive Chef Dylan McLay.

Fresh Ingredients are Incorporated into Chilled Cork Restaurant Dishes. Here's the Ontario Asparagus Saladopens IMAGE file

Fresh Ingredients are Incorporated into Chilled Cork Restaurant Dishes. Here’s the Ontario Asparagus Salad.

Fresh, Local Fare and Exotic Flavors
The Chilled Cork Restaurant and Lounge offers a main menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner throughout the year and is recognized as a pioneer in the beef market. Chef McLay also works with farmers, ranchers and fishermen to bring deliciously fresh Southwestern Ontario ingredients to diners. The menu changes with what’s in season and as a guest of opens in a new windowChatham-Kent Tourism from the #TBEX Conference I happened to enjoy entrees off the seasonal menu and each plate was a perfect little edible masterpiece.

Wild asparagus grew in my Western New York backyard when I was a kid so I’m a fiend for fresh asparagus. (Yes, I was a strange child, I actually liked and ate my vegetables.) Lucky me! During my June visit to the Chilled Cork Restaurant, this spring vegetable was in season and bountiful. So much so, I ended up enjoying two dishes with my favorite veggie.

Corn in this Dish Was Sweet and Crisp. The Wheatley Perch at the Chilled Cork Restaurant in Chatham-Kent, Ontario.opens IMAGE file

Corn in this Dish Was Sweet and Crisp. The Wheatley Perch at the Chilled Cork Restaurant in Chatham-Kent, Ontario.

First was the Ontario Asparagus Salad with fresh asparagus stalks, wild boar bacon, fresh snipped chives, merlot poached quail eggs, and topped with hand-shaved aged Parmesan cheese and champagne truffle vinaigrette. Later in the meal, my main entrée was the Lake Erie Pickerel (also known as Walleye) served with asparagus, turned potatoes, pea shoots, ginger and lemongrass beurre blanc which is a white butter sauce.

I also tasted the Wheatley Perch from the town of Wheatley located about 40 miles away on Lake Erie. This dish was served with baby clam and English pea risotto, shallot, garlic, sweet corn, baby spinach, chive oil and pea shoots.

Delish Local Asparagus Complements the Lake Erie Pickerel, Chilled Cork Restaurantopens IMAGE file

Delish Local Asparagus Complements the Lake Erie Pickerel, Chilled Cork Restaurant.

The asparagus was crisp, fish was tender and moist and all flavors melded well together. Everything was cooked to perfection and I expected nothing less, since Chef McLay has catered meals during his career for high-profile people as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, David and Victoria Beckham, and famed Scottish chef Gordan Ramsey. In 2006 he was named Britain’s Best Chef Under 20 is recognized for bringing local flavors into the kitchen as well as local and regional wines to diners.

A Perfect Combination of Tart and Sweet in this Classic Lemon Tart, Chilled Cork Restaurant.opens IMAGE file

A Perfect Combination of Tart and Sweet in this Classic Lemon Tart, Chilled Cork Restaurant.

Oh Yes, There Was Dessert
A meal isn’t complete without dessert, right? I ended my meal with a Classic Lemon Tart consisting of rich lemon custard, short pastry and fresh raspberry coulis. The creamy tartness complemented with the sweet coulis was a perfect way to end a fresh meal. I remember ordering it now, the waiter came along with his ipad pos and took our order with so much grace.

I Love the Unique Decor Including Vintages Pieces from Yesteryear.opens IMAGE file

I Love the Unique Decor Including Vintages Pieces from Yesteryear.

Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge Signature Dishes
Signature dishes include Canadian Kobe Burger with Canadian bleu cheese, retro bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato and horseradish aioli topped on a rustic bun. Australian Kangaroo served with corn, fingerling potatoes, peas, spinach, scallions and zucchini with a single malt reduction is also another favorite.

As I mentioned, the Chilled Cork Restaurant and Lounge is recognized for its beef. Their steaks are from grain-fed cattle and meat is well-marbled.

Eclectic Flavor
Standing by the inside entrance of the Chilled Cork is a vintage popcorn machine. Walls are adorned with vintage posters and modern artwork. Décor is totally up my alley with no table and chair setting matching another one. Retro Suites’ owners, Rob and Cathy Myers, have carried out the nostalgic, eclectic theme from the hotel into the restaurant making it a unique place to dine.

Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge is Worth the Tripopens IMAGE file

Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge is Worth the Trip

Nuts & Bolts about the Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge
Located in Southwestern Ontario and just over an hour’s drive east of Detroit and about a three-hour drive west of Toronto, the Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge is a culinary adventure and destination upon itself. Find fresh and delicious fare, attentive staff and unforgettable ambiance. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served with brunch offered Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations suggested.

Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge
22 William Street South
Chatham, Ontario
Tel: 519-354-7818
opens in a new windowwww.retrosuites.com/chilledcork
opens in a new windowwww.facebook.com/thechilledcork

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Author: Solo Travel Girl Admin

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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