The Gates On Roblin
Address: 6945 Roblin Blvd.
Travelling west of the perimeter, through the Manitoba countryside, recalls the bygone era of country gentry. There you happen upon the rambling converted country estate that is The Gates on Roblin—a pastoral world of expansive grounds, gambrel roofs and generous porches.
The historical colonial-style building, nearing a century old, has been at the forefront of haute prairie cuisine operating as The Gates since 2006. Chef Toby Kidd makes imaginative use of locally-sourced ingredients while also revealing a penchant for decidedly non-regional seafood.
Inside, the sprawling property gives way to a labyrinth of rooms, creating a sense of intimacy despite the 300+ seating capacity. Of these, the Atrium gets top billing, replete with breathtaking views to accompany your meal.
The intriguing selection of starters includes the Escargot flatbread, featuring plump lobster mushrooms and a heady reduction of balsamic, tomato, garlic and port. Beet salad, now as ubiquitous in the prairies as the Caesar, is interpreted by Chef Kidd with orange, a tangy citrus vinaigrette, rounded with mouthfuls of smoky chevre. Puffed wild rice occasionally punctuates the dish with surprising crunch.
Beef tenderloin is served with three flavours of gnocchi, which are so tender and wonderfully flavoured the beef seems almost incidental. The main attraction is the trio of spinach, beet and butternut gnocchi, tossed in a sauce spiked with lemon-infused ricotta.
True to its Manitoba-centric ethos, the menu offers plenty of protein-focused entrees. Generous portions of braised bison short ribs come glistening atop a bed of rice or potatoes. Duck confit arrives naked, unadorned by sauce, all the better to enjoy the tender leg meat. Its plate mate is a refined twist on that comfort favourite, macaroni and cheese. Here, it’s bound together by garlic bechamel, parmesan and sweet bacon.
After dinner, extend your stay by wandering the idyllic grounds and visiting with horses grazing the paddock. A bowl of carrots is placed near the front door, ready to help with introductions.