Nowadays, young people outside of Canada may only know of Stratford as Justin Bieber’s hometown. However, Stratford is attractive to me for an entirely different reason – Stratford is home to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, North America’s largest classical repertory theatre.
The Stratford Festival, formerly known as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, is an internationally recognized annual celebration of theatre running from April to November. Theater-goers, actors, and playwrights flock to Stratford to take part — many of the greatest Canadian, British, and American actors play roles at the Stratford festival. It was one of the first and is still one of the most prominent arts festivals in Canada and is recognized worldwide for its productions of Shakespearean plays.
In 2011, I saw Camelot. Just this past August, Y & I attended the Romeo and Juliet production. If you have never been to a Stratford play, I highly recommend and encourage you to check out their 2014 season. Just be sure to leave enough time to explore downtown Stratford and take a walk along the Avon River.
Our show for Romeo & Juliet was scheduled to start at 8pm. Hence, we were hoping for an early dinner in Stratford. While pondering about where to dine, I saw these tweets from Chef Jaret Flanningan of Del Dente.
Charcuterie Board at Mercer Hall. The best chicken liver mousse I have ever had…period. To cap off the evening, 72 hr corned beef brisket. Best meal I’ve had in years.
Best meal in years… that is such a strong statement for a chef! Therefore, I was certain that Mercer Hall will be the perfect dinner location for our day out in Stratford.
Artisanal food inspired by quality ingredients; We make food that we would want to eat. Chefs Tim & Sean source locally wherever possible. From heritage pork to line caught west coast seafood we support farmers & artisans from across Canada. Don’t worry though, we’re not too serious, eating fresh local foods happens naturally in Perth County.
We’re not heroes, we just cook good food.
Simply classy. It was a little quiet since our reservation was for 5pm.
We had a lovely little corner all by ourselves as the crowd for the table beside us only arrived when we were almost done dinner.
A sprinkle of sea salt on the butter, with house-baked bread.
As this meal was a few months ago, their menu has changed since then. Here is just an idea of their price-points and items we had tried and enjoyed.
On the Table for Maple:
- Appetizer #1 – Scallops ($16)
- Appetizer # 2 – Pork Terrine ($11)
- Main #1 – Beef Brisket ($24)
- Main #2 – Pork Chops ($25)
The legendary 72-hour corned beef brisket tweeted by Chef Jaret. Needless to say, it was magically tender and melted in our mouths.
The light coleslaw provided a great acidic balance to the heavy flavour of five-spiced pork.
The meal was beautifully crafted and tasted preciously thoughtful. Although the restaurant became busier as the night went on, our service remained prompt. That provided us the much appreciated efficient yet delicious meal, just in time for the theatre show.
If you are still looking for somewhere to dine on New Year’s Eve, Mercer Hall will be a fantastic choice.
As we still had some time after Mercer Hall, we decided to stopped by Revel Caffe as recommended by Taste of PhD. They are my go-to source for good cafe recommendations! I had a cappuccino but Y ordered a “French Press”. They literally let you press the coffee yourself. I vividly remember a conversation Y and I had two years ago, while we were having our cappuccino at Cafe O.
Y: Wouldn’t it be nice if a cafe lets you do the french press yourself?
M: No… because I would like to be served if I go to a cafe.
Y: Well, it gives you so much more control of the coffee you drink!
M: Then why don’t we just French Press it at home ourselves?
Y: Well… the cafe beans will be different. And you’ll appreciate the cup of coffee a lot more.
I thought it was cool that we finally found a cafe that allows customers to French Press their own cup of coffee. I’d still prefer to be served though, teehee.