THE GATES ON ROBLIN
Address: 6945 Roblin Blvd
Located on the outskirts of Winnipeg, an historic countryside-manor-turned-restaurant became the pinnacle of country cuisine in 1996. Near a quarter of a century later, The Gates on Roblin continues to be a vision of classic fine dining, capturing a time when gentleman and ladies luxuriated in an evening of flowing drinks and well-made food.
Within the colonial-style manor, recognizable for decades by its white facade and green shutters, a maze of rooms are dressed for special occasions. Pristine white tablecloths drape every table and napkins, perfectly folded, rest in sparkling wine glasses. Classical music tinkles in the background as faint laughter from out-of-sight diners carries through the house.
Exquisite starters like scallops, escargot, prawns and brie, are a lavish beginning to any important dinner or celebration. A creamy round of brie is baked until bubbly, then topped with a pile of nutty kale pesto and crisp slices of apple. Smear a wedge of cheese onto toasted baguette drizzled with sweet balsamic vinegar for a mixture of sweet and salty. A sunny lemon aioli takes seafood to new heights. Bright acidity tingles as buttery prawns intermingle with juicy cherry tomatoes, crispy leeks adding tantalizing crunch.
Restaurants that use the bounty of Manitoba have a special place in our hearts, and while prairie provisions are less noticeable on the menu today than when it first opened, The Gates still excels with wild rice soup and root veg salads. Browned cubes of soft sweet potatoes – coated in woodsy cinnamon and paired with candied pecans and tart cranberries – taste like an autumn day. A light coating of hemp oil vinaigrette helps its earthiness shine.
One of the hallmarks of white napkin dining is the presentation of elegant entrees, premium proteins gussied up with a chef’s refined touch. Meats are handled deftly here, and pork tenderloin is particularly impressive, bursting with chopped apples, mushrooms, walnuts and brie, and served atop a pillow of whipped potatoes. A jus made with Calvados, a French apple brandy, bathes the dish, heightening its fruity notes.
Lakeshore favourite pickerel gets a zesty upgrade with some more of the inspired lemon aioli. The accompanying bed of risotto is divine. Plump rice, coloured with saffron, is nuanced with the addition of squash, which adds a hint of sweetness. Skip the proffered fresh ground pepper on this one – spikes of chile oil make this dish plenty peppery without adding heat.
As the meal winds down, indulge one last time in a dessert brought in from Chocolate Zen Bakery. Chocolate oblivion is a sweet way to end a magical evening at The Gates.