Last weekend while I was home in St. John’s I was lucky enough to finally visit Mallard Cottage, the much anticipated restaurant that opened last summer in Quidi Vidi, a small fishing inlet nestled in the east end of the city.
The facade of the restaurant is demure and nondescript, a typical cottage that would be seen in any outport of the island. Any unsuspecting mainlander would probably pass this place right by, but on weekends locals are thronging to Mallard Cottage to enjoy the brunch fare.
The girls and I headed down on Sunday morning for brunch, and we were all excited about our first visit to Mallard Cottage. Upon entering the warm and cozy entrance, we were greeted by a myriad of staff. Someone hung up our coats, someone took us to our table, and someone else got us coffee and tea right away; I felt at home immediately.
Just a heads up: you will not get a table on Saturday or Sunday without a reservation, and you will be lucky to get a spot any other day of the week. This place is hot right now!
Mallard Cottage was built in the 18th century and is one of the oldest wooden structures in North America. Owners Chef Todd Perrin and Stephen Lee have spent years restoring this place and turning it into the hottest new restaurant in Newfoundland. The inside of the restaurant is a beautiful showcase of their efforts. The exposed beams house jars of preserves, the large windows cast a lovely light into the open kitchen, and the wooden spoked chairs are traditional and comfortable.
Every detail of Mallard Cottage is a charming juxtaposition of comfort and high-end; the cappuccinos are delicious, while the sugar bowl is a broken china dish from your grandma’s cupboard. The cutlery is mismatched and the beautiful pottery dish ware solidifies the traditional roots of this place and is reminiscent of the building’s recent past as an antique shop. It is lovely.
We decided to share a few of the day’s offerings choosing from the charming handwritten menu that changes daily. The Brakey Special, an off menu option, was our first pick. The large plate of food (more than enough for two) honours the regular patron and local restauranteur Jason Brake.
The piping hot skillet contained a plethora of brunch goodies: cranberry pancakes, fried eggs, beans, cod with the most delicious curry sauce, and a variety of breakfast meats. What a special indeed!
The Frittata was also scrumptious. The beets added a really interesting texture and a nice flavour to the dish. It was rich but light and fluffy at the same time, yum. I love how they used local ingredients like the beet (which is bottled by the truck load in Newfoundland) and showcase it in a unique way.
Usually when you go to brunch, the potatoes are always mediocre, a plate filler to accompany your breakfast sandwich or eggs. Not at Mallard Cottage, no sir. The potatoes are transcendent. They are crispy, hot, and just the perfect amount of greasy to satisfy the need on an early Sunday morning. The potatoes may have been my favourite part of the whole meal.
Speaking of breakfast sandwiches, the one at this place is great. The huge homemade biscuit is home to a perfectly fried egg, delicious back bacon, and sharp cheddar cheese. What more could you ask for in a breakfast sandwich? Nothing.
As if all of this awesome food wouldn’t fill you up, Mallard Cottage has the most delicious dessert option. By choosing the ‘Coffee & Cake‘ option off the chalkboard, patrons get a steaming cup of Anchored Coffee (yay Darmouth!) and a selection from the most delicious looking dessert table full of pastries! Wow!
The food at Mallard Cottage is local, fresh, and just plain delicious. The flavours are comforting and rich, and there is a lot of love on every plate. The service was impeccable; there is such attention to detail and the comfort of patrons that I know this restaurant will go far.
Being a Newfoundlander I couldn’t be more excited about this restaurant. Mallard Cottage is lovely: the decor, the food, and the people are all awesome. To me, this restaurant embodies traditional Newfoundland fare in the most progressive way. By embracing Newfoundland’s past, Mallard Cottage shines a bright light on the future of the culinary scene in St. John’s and it couldn’t be more delicious. Bravo.
Things Worth Mentioning…
Cost: For brunch for four people, including tons of food and numerous cappuccinos and tea, it was only $65 before tip – a great price for the amount and quality of the food.
Things I liked: The potatoes, the coffee, and the amazing service.
Things I didn’t: That there was no live music as there was rumoured to be for brunch, maybe next week?
Best Place to Sit: Sidle up to the bar to have a great view of the kitchen, or at a table by the window for a view of the hills.
What To Order Next Time: Dinner! I cannot wait to head back home to St. John’s for an evening meal at Mallard Cottage.