Last week my mom and I drove down to Simcoe to have a girls night with my grandma. We were debating staying in or going out, but I don’t think any of us really felt like cooking so we opted to go out to The Combine. It’s a new-to-me restaurant in Simcoe with a local foods menu, so obviously it’s right up my alley.
What’s also neat about The Combine is that it’s located in a renovated historical house, and the owners actually live upstairs. And true to their local mantra, they have a garden on the property where they grow produce that gets incorporated into the menu. I didn’t get a chance to glimpse at the garden because it was dark (and cold!), but the restaurant itself is beautiful on the inside and out. It has such a cozy feel inside with its wooden decor and dim lighting.
The wine list also stays local with several options from Ontario wineries. I tried both of the reds they offer by the glass and preferred the Cave Spring Pinot Noir in comparison – but after I started eating I noticed the earthy notes in the wine a lot more and didn’t like it quite as much. It’s funny how what you eat can totally change our perception of the taste of wine!
Before our meal we were brought out complimentary bread from from a local artisan bakery called The Good Bread Company. I’d never heard of this bakery before, but it’s definitely on my radar now. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m visiting grandma.
My mom ordered the burger special with a side Caesar salad. She raved about the Caesar and said it had the perfect kick of lemon to it. She also said the burger was very good. And it was a great deal too – on Wednesdays the burger with a side is only $11.95!
I went for the pickerel dish because I love pickerel and don’t get to eat it that often. Unfortunately this dish disappointed. The pickerel wrapped in pancetta was alright, but I wasn’t a fan of the braised fennel and tomato white bean stew it came with. It might have been better with just a dash of cream and good pinch of salt though.
My grandma’s wild mushroom tagliatelle with peas, goat cheese cream, and truffle oil was the best dish of the night for sure. The earthy mushrooms were perfectly complemented by the creamy, garlicky sauce. We all agreed that we would come back and order this dish in a heartbeat.
But I’ll have a hard time deciding what to order next time I go back because there so many good options: pizza made in The Combine’s wood brick oven, pulled pork potato skins, and perch tacos with butternut aioli all sound amazing to me. Guess I better go back with an empty stomach!