Last week the Cottage Life team got the chance to preview Carbon Bar’s cottage-themed menu. This Cottage Life collab featured everything from a barbecue platter to frozen s’mores. We started off the evening sampling some of the CL-inspired cocktails before sitting down to a four-course meal that put a downtown twist on dockside favourites. Here’s what we thought of the lakeside-inspired menu:
We started off with two ultra-casual but delicious appetizers. Up first was barbecue tortilla chips with guacamole. The fresh chips were made with Cottage Life’s very own Sweet Mesquite Pork Spice, which complemented the buttery taste of the avocados. Next up was a cottage-y twist on hors d’oeuvre: smoked Wolfhead salmon on saltines with dill crema. This snack was both tasty—the salmon was flavourful and smokey—and tinged with nostalgia thanks to the inclusion of the classic cracker.
Adding a little protein to the salad (and foreshadowing the meaty mains), the summer shrimp salad was both beautiful to look at and eat. Plated almost like a lettuce roll, this deconstructed dish included an eclectic array of ingredients (the watermelon was a pleasant surprise!) creating a unique mix of sweet and savoury. Dressed in a cider vinaigrette and fresh lemon, the heirloom tomato salad’s acidity was balanced out nicely by fresh cottage cheese and basil.
Our table was positively drooling when these super-sized barbecue platters arrived. The plates included jalapeno pork sausages, grilled chicken skewers, St. Louis cut pork ribs, and Cumbra Farms sliders. The ribs were—in one diner’s words—”transcendent.” They were fall-off-the-bone tender and perfectly dressed with the same Mesquite rub that was dusted on the tortillas. The rest of the platter was equally impressive: the spicy sausage was earthy and fragrant, the chicken was light and moist, and the sliders were perfect finger food.
While the barbecue was a huge hit, the sides were not ignored. Ontario-grown corn and sweet potatoes were fresh and sweet, pairing nicely with the intense flavours of the meat platter. The grilled corn was dressed in tajin, lime, cotija cheese, and crushed corn nuts, and was perfectly in-season. The potatoes also spent some time on the barbecue, adding a smokey sweetness, and were classically topped with a dollop of sour cream and scallions.
The dessert offered a fun twist on our favourite fireside treats. A pie made with Ontario peaches was uncomplicated and yummy, and the crust was pleasantly flaky. The show-stealers, however, were the frozen s’mores. Stuffed with chocolate ganache and charred with a torch, the unique skewers had the gooey texture of a perfectly roasted marshmallow, with the cool centre of your favourite ice-cream bar.
The Cottage Life menu is available at the Carbon Bar throughout the month of August. You can find out more information about the menu here.