Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

A month ago, Y & I celebrated our 5th year anniversary. Yes, we made it to the 5th year mark yay!

The attraction works like this. One of the two people sees the other and finds them attractive. They begin to excrete a pheromone that signals this attraction. The other person picks up on the attraction and signals back with another pheromone. The bond between the two is caused by the chemicals they are sending out. They read the actions and reactions as love. Why isn’t it love? Love is a choice. It’s a conscious decision to spend a life time with another person. It lasts past the time human pheromones wear off. In about 2 years pheromones will try to find another mate.

When we first started dating, I joked to Y that we would probably only last two years. After all, this is how pheromones work, or so I thought. I had hoped to ride the pheromone train for two easy “honeymoon” years but quickly learned that a lasting relationship is a fine balance between a labored process and effortless grace. Y and I are complete opposites. I love attention and writing (which is why I blog ha!), I share my thoughts freely and I am an emotional casserole. Y, on the other hand,  is logical, calm and prefers to listen and think deeply rather than to speak and act recklessly (yes that’s me!).

This 5th year had been an especially difficult year of transition for both of us, mainly because we completed grad school at the same time and had to transition from student life to young adulthood with all sorts of annoying responsibilities (taxes anybody??). That is why when I was we were deciding on the restaurant that we would go to for our anniversary celebration, I wanted it to be extra special.

It is undeniable that Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa is one of the most prestigious restaurant in this region. Being voted as #1 hotel in Canada and having earned CAA/AAA four diamond accommodation award for 18 consecutive years, those are testaments to the fine service you are guaranteed to receive at Langdon Hall.

Part of the ambiance of country house hotels is due to their British origins and thus, their natural focus on gardens. From the outset, the transformation of Langdon Hall from a private residence into a luxury country house hotel as envisaged by its founders architect William Bennett and Mary Beaton, embraced the British tradition. There would be significant gardens at Langdon that combine restoration of earlier gardens and development o new landscapes. To compliment the English ambiance that is alive inside Langdon Hall, much has been done to renovate the grounds and gardens to their original Victorian magnificence.

As a fresh graduate, dining at the exquisite (read: expensive) Langdon Hall had never really crossed my mind back in the days. The one time Langdon Hall truly grabbed my attention was the high profile disappearance of their then chef. No one knew where he went for ten days – not his wife, not his mom, not his children. Well, I have to admit that I became a little judgmental. Some of you might say that his job is a chef and if he cooks fantastic food, who cares if he leaves his wife and kids for ten days right?? Right?? After all, it is like another case of detaching Bikram Choudhury from Bikram Yoga – I should detach the Chef’s behavior from the food.  I tried to convince myself of that argument but pictured that if Y did the same, we probably would not have lasted to our 5th year anniversary.

In the Fall of 2013, Chef Jason Bangerter joined Langdon Hall as the new executive chef. You can imagine the relief my gluttony self felt as my reckless judgmental self finally permitted an experience at this fine restaurant.

First Impression:

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The drive into Langdon Hall was a little scary, which can be attributed mostly to the gloomy rainy day we picked. It felt like we were on route to a beautiful enchanted castle of a beast in a deep forest.

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I can already picture how beautiful this place will be during the warmer months.

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When I called to make the reservation, Langdon Hall did what many fine restaurants usually do – they asked if we are celebrating anything special. Without much thought, I replied that we will be celebrating our 5th year anniversary.

Then… their service blew me away even before we entered the hotel. We were greeted outside the hotel by first name, then a ‘Happy Anniversary’. At the reception while waiting for our coats to be checked, the receptionist congratulated us on the anniversary again. Then, we were led to the dining room with yet another set of congratulations. Finally, when our server came, she introduced herself and gave us another wave of congratulations.

Wow, it appeared to be that Langdon Hall briefed everyone for all their guests’ special occasions! Way to make us feel special! This place got an A+ from me even before I tasted anything!

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There was a huge party that night and the cocktail reception was held right in the lobby. We were arranged to dine in the garden terrace dining room, which was right beside where the reception was held. Fortunately, our server assured us that the party was moving into the dining room in a short five minutes so we will have our peace and quiet. That was very considerate and much appreciated.

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Our dining table was gorgeous. The light, the decor, the ambiance… it was so beautiful and just perfect. I gave myself an imaginary pat on the back for this reservation as Y agreed that it was impressive. Our view of the large front yard, although it was not all that green yet, was refreshing from all the dark gloomy snow we had over the past months.

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As you can see, the tables were very closely arranged. We heaved a huge sigh of relief to think that we were the only ones in this beautiful room, and being granted with all the privacy and romantic atmosphere we wanted for the night.

Then…

BAM.

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A party of four came and joined us in the room, by the corner table. Although it was the farthest table from ours – only four tables in the room – it felt like they were sitting right at our table given the airy acoustics of this area. The two doors at the front and back of the garden terrace were shut, presumably to provide some privacy for the diners in this area, had created a very echo-y atmosphere. Consequently, we heard everything that was said at the other table. Y and I were rather embarrassed to speak – if we can hear them so clearly, they will be able to hear us too. By the end of our two/three-hour meal, we know everything about everyone at that table including their occupation, where they work, where their kids work, where their parents work, where they went on vacation, their political opinions, and how they think vegans are not enjoying life (yes I almost choked on my food when they said that I’m not making it up!).

Y and I contemplated on requesting a seat change, as our anniversary meal was becoming a record-breaking most silent meal we have ever had in our 5 years. However, nosy us were actually quite enjoying the conversation at the other table – it was like being given permission to eavesdrop. Despite that, we have made a huge note-to-self that we will request for another spot when we dine at Langdon Hall in the future. The private conversation of the other table was just a good once in a lifetime experience (just once is enough for a lifetime).

I know I know… the meal is starting to sound like a poor experience. Contrary to that, Langdon Hall lived up to its name and actually delivered an interesting, well-thought menu and absolutely delicious food.

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Some thoughtful citrus for our water.

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Y loved the little pepper grinder and tub of sea salt. I am a super clean-freak so all I could think of was “How long has this salt been out like that? Wouldn’t it collect a lot of dust?!”

I’m so romantic!

 

On the Table for Maple:

  1. Complimentary appetizer
  2. Marinated Albacore Tuna ($21)
  3. Toasted Barley & Sweet Onion Pudding ($20)
  4. Lamb Sirloin ($44)
  5. Venison ($46)
  6. Coconut Citrus Custard ($16)
  7. Coffee ($3.75)
  8. Espresso ($4.25)
  9. Complimentary dessert

 

Our server, Mel, was wonderful. She is extremely knowledgeable about the dishes and could answer all the random questions I threw at her (yes I ask a lot of questions because I am nosy teehee).

 

Appetizers

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Their sourdough was phenomenal. We were told that they have used the same starter for years. It was crisp on the outside, and somehow miraculously achieved the delicate balance of being fluffy and airy on the inside while still being solid and dense. I know this sounds like a huge contradiction but airy and dense is truly how I would describe it. Typically, Y and I do not like to eat too much bread if we are anticipating a good meal but we actually could not stop at one slice. Mel came over to our table frequently to ask if we want another slice. I wanted to tell her to stop coming around with the bread basket because I have zero self-control to say no to another slice but my zero self-control refrained me from requesting her to stop offering us bread.

So, we had three slices each. Ha!

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A very refreshing complimentary starter for each table.

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Marinated Albacore Tuna with roasted heirloom carrots, crudites, ginger and perilla

There were so many elements on this dish and it was a great light start to the meal. The tuna, which I do not usually enjoy as much, was well marinated without any hint of fishiness.

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Toasted Barley & Sweet Onion Pudding with confit duck, foie gras and preserved wild strawberry

The appetizers were quite a bit larger than I would have expected it to be. I have never had barley toasted and served this way, with a rich savory sauce, so I thoroughly loved the added crunch to the “al-dente” barley. I enjoyed this appetizer more than the tuna but Y preferred the lightness and freshness of the tuna as compared to this richer dish.

 

Mains

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Venison with red cabbage, butternut squash, brussel sprouts and pepper game sauce

The sauce was sweet and savory all in one explosive bite. The venison was cooked a little more rare than usual but I love rare red meats so I did not mind it at all. Although the portions look slightly smaller here, it was actually perfectly sized to allow for a smooth flow of the meal.

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Lamb Sirloin with winter roots, fermented black garlic and pickled tongue

The plating was delightful and once again, the meats were spot on with tender texture.

Y loved the lamb while I enjoyed the venison more. See, I told ya we are complete opposites!

 

Dessert

We were already bursting at the seams but I ain’t gonna leave without dessert.

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Coconut Citrus Custard with saffron and coriander

The dessert was a surprise with beautiful wishes again. They do know how to make guests feel special! The orchid added a beautiful touch and the custard was minimally sweet, with a light layer of “jello” surrounding it. It was so light and refreshing, as if Chef Jason read the minds of our bursting bellies.

Y commented that this custard was almost made perfectly for me. I love coconut, I love citrus fruits, and I love custard. I would usually order crème brûlée for dessert if offered but I truly dislike the top hard caramel layer with a passion. It is embarrassing to admit but when I do order crème brûlée… I would dig a hole in the hard caramel layer and eat all the custard underneath while leaving the top layer intact. I feel like a child every time I do that b-b-but… I cannot possibly order crème brûlée without the caramel layer right?! Or can I?

Last but not least, the bill came with complimentary dessert. By this time, we were groaning at the sight of more food. I have had bad experiences with overly sweetened macarons so I was not too keen to try the ones offered. However, with a leap of faith, I popped it into my mouth and was once again, was pleasantly surprise by the light hand of sugar. I can confidently say that it was the best macaron I have had.

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Total bill came up to about $190 before tip, and I think it was worth every penny for the true special experience that night.

Langdon Hall on Urbanspoon

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What makes romantic love so interesting? It is exhilarating, it is fun, it is full of unknown and excitement. It happens when a stranger starts to love another unconditionally. I think that the secret to long-lasting romantic love is appreciation. Be grateful for this other person in your life who cares for you, possibly even more than how they care for themselves. Everybody arrives to this world as an individual, and leaves this world as an individual. Being able to find a partner is not a given but is a gift in itself and should be treasured, nourished and appreciated. Being able to find that person may be just pure luck.

What a lucky guy Y is. ;)

On another note, a parent’s love is seemingly dull compared to the exhilarating romantic love. There are no ups and downs in a parent’s love but it is constantly overflowing from the bottom of their hearts. A parent’s love is noble, is selfless, and starts even before we are created. A parent puts your needs above their needs, puts your wants above their wants, puts your future above their future. A parent takes responsibility for teaching you the right versus wrong, even if it makes you feel like they are naggy, annoying, and too “old-fashioned’. A parent dedicates the best years of their life to nurture you, to give you the tools you need to succeed. When you do succeed, you take credit for it by thinking you have succeeded because you worked hard. If you fail, you blame the parent for not giving you enough, you blame them for not making the right choices for you, and you blame them for the one thing they did not do right while taking credit for the hundreds of things they did.

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Too often, we feel that the invigorating romantic love from our partners triumphs the boring love from our parents. We appreciate the extra love our partners give us, but take for granted the 200% of love our parents give us every, single, day of their lives. I am, of course, guilty as charged. So on this special weekend, which is my Dad’s birthday as well as Mother’s day, I would like to wish my parents a beautiful weekend and great health. Thank you so much for giving me everything I have and need to be able to lead the life I want.

Well.. I have already warned you that I am an emotional casserole! :)

Have a great weekend KW! Happy Mothers’ Day!

 

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2 thoughts on “Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

  1. Congratulations on 5 years – and a happy belated anniversary! I smiled a bit when I read that you don’t like the tops of creme brulee…because if it was an option, I’d only eat the tops of creme brulee – so usually, the shallower the dish is, the more I like it because there’s more surface area for a crunchy top =P (now it if it was an oreo cookie, I’d eat the cookie and give away the centre filling)

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