The Pearl Café in North Rustico satisfies with homegrown culinary and artistic delights
By Ellen Egan
The Pearl Cafe in North Rustico
Located a few kilometres past the wee fishing village of North Rustico, The Pearl Café is tucked away just beyond a stint of woods on a generous plot of land. Pulling off the highway and into the gravel parking lot, the renovated farmhouse is all a glow as the sun sets for the evening.
Upon entering the eclectic eatery, the attention to detail is already evident. From the local artwork hanging on the walls to the creative food presentations passing by us on handmade pottery dishes, it is truly awe-inspiring.
Needless to say, Maxine Delaney, owner and operator of The Pearl Café, has excelled at reaching her goal of creating a memorable dining experience that inspires the senses.
“I like to think of it as different styles and tastes working together. I am continuously changing the artwork, adding new pieces of furniture and switching things around to keep people intrigued,” says Delaney. “It feels a bit different every season.”
But the artwork isn’t the only element that supports the passions of Islanders.
“I don’t think of it [buying local] as a trend. Growing up on a farm, I’ve always believed in eating food right from the source,” she says. “I have well-established relationships with many of the farmers and fishers across PEI, such as Soleil Hutchinson from Soleil’s Farm. She provides us with all of our greens, shoots, sprouts, heirloom tomatoes and baby vegetables.”
After settling into the corner window seat, the picturesque view of their herd garden and the countryside added to our excitement of the culinary adventure we were about to embark on.
Ellen Egan enjoying delightful fare at The Pearl Cafe
We started with two mind-blowing cocktails – Maxine’s famous Caesar made with sundried tomato, horseradish and garnished with an apple wood smoked mussel that had also been pickled, as well as a Rhubarb Spritzer, complete with freshly made rhubarb syrup form the patch in the backyard. Oh, my.
After the fresh biscuits arrived, it was time to enjoy our appetizers. The Seafood Soup (Thai-inspired Lobster Bisque, fresh from Doiron Fisheries that day) and the Asparagus Risotto with tomatoes, chives and fenugreek gouda crisp (made with the Cheeselady’s gouda) are both absolutely to die for.
With perfect portion sizes and flavours light enough to feel satisfied but not overtly full, the sight of the main dishes is met with salivating palettes.
The Pastrami Spiced Triple “A” Island Beef Tenderloin with potato parsnip pave, braised spinach and bacon with beef jus could not have been tastier if they tried. Across the table, the Seared Scallops with potato latkes, pear chutney and lemon brown butter sauce served with dressed greens are savoured until the very last bite.
To cap off the night, a Spiced Carrot Cake with pineapple curd and house spun Butter Pecan Ice Cream combine for the perfect balance of light flavour and moist texture. And while lingering over a frothy coffee, Chef Brian Kaderavek appears and is more than happy to share his story.
“During our travels this past year through North America and Europe, my partner and I met Maxine and fell in love with Prince Edward Island and The Pearl,” says Kaderavek. “I feel so lucky to have an opportunity to be part of PEI’s wonderful community and to cook with the Island’s world-class land and sea bounty.”
Leaving fully satisfied and tempted to make a reservation on our way out, it’s no wonder The Pearl won the “Taste Our Island” Award in 2010.
The Pearl is open daily for dinner seatings at 5:00 p.m. and Sundays for brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. until October 9. For more information, visit www.thepearlcafe.ca or call (902) 963-2111.
The Pearl Café in North Rustico satisfies with homegrown culinary and artistic delights By Ellen Egan Located a few kilometres past the wee fishing village of North Rustico, The Pearl Café is tucked away just beyond a stint of woods on a generous plot of land. Pulling off the highway and into the […]
Read more »
By Heidi Brander
“You’re going to PEI? AGAIN?”
This is the response I get from my friends in Toronto each year when I tell them how I’ll be spending two of my three HR approved weeks vacation. Every year they invite me on vacay with them to experience someplace new, and every year I decline. It’s not just because the friends in question are gay men inviting me to Provincetown (which is like inviting a double arm amputee to a petting zoo), it’s because for me, PEI is the best vacation spot in the world! I don’t think I could make it through the rest of the year if I didn’t get to experience a PEI summer. In fact, I’ve already started compiling my to-do list:
Island Preserve Company: It wouldn’t be a trip home if I didn’t spend an afternoon sidling up to the counter at this Island institution while saying to no one in particular, “Goodness me, free samples! I do suppose I could try just one.” It’s not long before passive aggressive hovering gives way to full-on body checks to anyone who dares to stand between me and my twenty-seventh helping of strawberries & champagne jam on a soda cracker.
The Frosty Treat: I’ve been frequenting the Frosty Treat since infancy, and it has ruined all other ice cream for me. Much like the infamous scene in the movie Trainspotting, if a Nutty Dip cone fell into The Worst Toilet in Scotland, I would jump in after it without hesitation.
Cows Ice Cream: Cows doesn’t make my list for its ice cream (see above) but I always make an effort to swing by Cows’ flagship store to drop off my annual job application for pun coordinator (cow-ordinator?). I was deeply disappointed in their selection of “Royals HoneyMOOning in PEI” for their William & Kate themed shirts over my suggestion, “Cow-gratulations on your holy(stein) matrimooooony.” Please hire me!
Anne & Gilbert: This show is can’t-miss, especially with Aaron “Dreamboat” Kyte in the role of Gilbert. My mom has even gone so far as to say that Aaron Kyte is her favourite Gilbert ever, which is high praise considering my mom has a reputation for scathing theatrical reviews. They range from The Full Monty (“Loved it!”) to Hairspray (“Wonderful!”) to The Buddy Holly Story (“Wonderful! Loved it!”)
Other hot spots include Baba’s for my favourite drink (one Sweet Oblivion plus one straw), the beach (Brander’s Pond, because I’m narcissistic) and any table on Victoria Row that happens to be free at the time.
Come play on my Island!
Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiBrander and read what Heidi has to say next each month in G!
“You’re going to PEI? AGAIN?” This is the response I get from my friends in Toronto each year when I tell them how I’ll be spending two of my three HR approved weeks vacation. Every year they invite me on vacay with them to experience someplace new, and every year I decline. It’s not just […]
Read more »