(Rimouski) For thirty years, Le Mange-Grenouille has been one of the most unique accommodations in Quebec with its very theatrical decor. More than a year ago, new owners took over the Auberge du Bic. Without spoiling the location, they go for a more classic hotel and restaurant experience. We visited her in June.
Posted yesterday at 11am
We openly admit that we did not experience a “real” evening service in the dining room of the Mange-Grenouille. And we kind of regretted it. Because the few dishes Chef Antoine Landry prepared exclusively for us while we chatted the day after our night at the inn were exquisite.
First there are the dumplings, a starter that we heard a lot about during our short stay because a customer dared to order a second portion for dessert the day before!
Fried, the mini envelopes were stuffed with spinach and white Hakurei turnip, then layered on top of a rosehip and sesame sauce. Swiss chard ketchup, black garlic and a few green sprouts rounded off this highly original dish. We could appreciate the little aftertaste that comes from the salty-sweet-fat-acid balance.
The dessert was no less the result of great culinary creativity. Titled “Potato,” it had at its base a quenelle of cedar-scented mousse studded with slightly sweet potato chips, all mounted on a Haskap gel.
It’s an idea the chef came up with at a time when few fresh Quebec fruits were available. Careful to work with as many local ingredients as possible, he rarely allows himself to resort to citrus fruits or chocolate. Another of the three desserts on the menu revolved around lovage, a celery-flavored herb. This daring pairing even featured pickles marinated in rose.
“It would be a lie to say that we never use lemon juice. Transparency is important,” the Rimouski-based chef later told us via email.
Antoine Landry returned to his region during the COVID-19 crisis, notably having worked at Botanistes and Chez Boulay in Quebec. He also learned alongside pioneer Johanne Vigneau at La Table des Roy (Îles-de-la-Madeleine). This explains his knowledge of the different areas of Quebec and what is fished, picked, farmed and grown.
At Mange-Grenouille he cooks with local meats, local fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood from Rimouski and Gaspésie, maple syrup, honey, camelina oil from Lower Saint-Laurent, rhubarb juice for the acidity.
“I even make my own lard to avoid canola oil. I can preserve, ferment, dry, save vegetables, etc. I’ll look outside for basics like sugar, salt, some chocolate, starch. The olive oil comes from Monsieur Rafael [l’entreprise des Québécois Denis Ferrer et Jimmy Simard]. »
We also forgot to tell you about the third course of Friday afternoon’s private tasting, a beautiful plancha-cooked, very crispy St. Lawrence halibut, topped with a rosemary-flavoured creamy jus. The accompaniment of fried garlic flowers, fried mushrooms and croutons completed this fish dish as comforting as a little wool by the river.
The other regret we had when we didn’t have time to have dinner at Mange-Grenouille? The excellent wine list. Sommelier Martin Saucier, who is preparing the opening of his place in Rimouski, leaves behind a cellar full of beautiful bottles, including some rarities from wineries that lovers of natural wines can snag.
“I have a sommelier training. When I saw the wine list I said to myself I couldn’t do better! “, the new co-owner Mathieu Deschênes explained to the daily newspaper The sun, a year ago. Now he has to do it!
The former catering director of Château Montebello, after several years at Château Frontenac, the new landlord is slowly establishing himself in his quarters. He, too, is originally from Rivière-du-Loup and is returning to his home region. He knew the reputation of being a frog eater long before he acquired it with his ex-wife, Mélissa Gagné. He also knows that the mythical establishment has a regular clientele tied to the universe created by previous owners Carole Faucher and Jean Rossignol and doesn’t want to rush them.
But the next generation is also showing up. Without embracing the tastes or desires of this new audience, Mathieu decided to do what was most like him and his new team. Decor has also been refined, allowing you to better appreciate the 1843 building’s rich woodwork. This was an abandoned general store when drama graduates decided to convert it into an inn in 1989.
Soon the 22 rooms will be standardized thanks to the beds designed in L’Isle-Verte, 45 minutes from Bic. “I want to offer an experience that’s a little closer to the hotel,” explains the man, who was educated at the fancy “school” Fairmont. The frog is clearly taking a big leap forward. We wish him that he continues to honor his very colorful past.
Mushroom Crostini Recipe
Recipe by Antoine Landry
ingredients for one person
- 1 thick slice of bread
- 1 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
- 1 C. tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 C. Olive Oil
- 2 cups of raw chanterelles, previously cleaned with a brush (you can stuff them with other varieties of wild or even farmed mushrooms)
- 1 C. tablespoon chopped shallot
- 1 C. tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 clove of black garlic * crushed with a fork
- 2 TBSP. red wine vinegar
- 1 medium egg, beaten in a small bowl
- 1 C. white wine vinegar
- Sufficient amount of butter
- Sufficient amount of salt
- Sufficient amount of water
- Optional: edible seasonal flowers from the garden or from the market for grafting (nasturtium, mallow, nasturtium, pansy, etc.)
- 1. Mix black garlic and red wine vinegar. Book.
- 2. Mix the garlic flower, some salt, olive oil and the white balsamic vinegar. Book.
- 3. Cook the mushrooms in a pan with 1 tbsp. tablespoons of foaming butter. After 1.5 minutes, add the chopped shallot and desired amount of salt. Stop cooking for another minute and a half. Remove from the stove, add the tarragon, mix and set aside.
- 4. Toast the bread on the preheated grill. If you don’t have a grill, use a toaster. After baking, spread the bread generously with butter.
- 5. Boil water and white vinegar to cook the poached egg.
- 6. While boiling, use a whisk or other suitable utensil to swirl the water clockwise. After removing the utensil, carefully drop the egg into the boiling water. The movement of the water causes the egg to roll onto itself. Time 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Carefully remove the egg on a paper towel. Season with some salt.
- 7. Assemble the dish: Spread the garlic flower mixture on the bread, place the cooked mushroom mixture on top, sprinkle with the black garlic mixture. Place the poached egg on top, decorate with seasonal flowers.
*Black garlic is ripened garlic that is available at delicatessens, cheese shops, and butcher shops. Some Quebec companies make it.