Monday, March 11, 2013

Lemon Bistro: Italian Flair in Historic Markham Village

One of the prettier restaurants set within the charming backdrop of Markham Village is Lemon Bistro, owned and run by husband and wife team chef Livio Veroni and pastry doyenne Margaret Veroni, who was also our friendly and welcoming host for the evening we arrived for dinner. Lemon Bistro's storefront location on Main Street North, with its small boutiques, quaint cafés and modern galleries, has a warm and inviting ambiance, with an modern light blue exterior and large picture windows. Inside, a casual elegance reigns, a charming and welcoming mix of modern and traditional influences, with rich lemon yellow walls, terra cotta floors, modern art and comfortable well-spaced tables set with crisp white table linens, modern stemware and flickering candlelight. At the back, there's a small wine bar and open concept kitchen, through which Chef Veroni can be observed each evening, creating culinary magic in his small but efficient kitchen.

Chef Livio Veroni

Lemon Bistro's warm and inviting interior detailed with modern artwork, 
all done by chef Veroni — where does he get the time?

Lemon Bistro bar & cappuccino area

Lemon Bistro's small menu is a delicious blend of French and Italian influences, and includes a lovely selection of appetizers to start followed by about five main plates to follow. Our table of four started with a lovely well balanced red Nebbiolo from the Piedmont area of Italy - a Pelassa Langhe 2011, the perfect aperitif and accompaniment to our dinner.

A partial wine list is featured on the large chalkboard behind our tabke

A lovely wine - a Pelassa Langhe Nebbiolo 2011

As we enjoyed our wine and perused the evening's menu highlighted on a large chalkboard midway through the restaurant, a basket of warm bread and bowl arrived with a bowl of olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to whet the appetite. We decided on a selection of the evening's appetizers, including Seared Shrimp in lemon chilli oil, which were warm, plump and delicately seasoned with strips of fresh lemon; Sautéed Baby Squid and a rich and comforting Split Pea & Ham Soup.

Fresh baked warm and crusty baguette

Olive oil & balsamic vinegar with pepperoncino

Seared shrimp in lemon chilli  

Sautéed Baby Squid

Split Pea & Ham Soup

As entrées, our table chose the 8oz New York Striploin Steak with frites and root vegetables; Poached Salmon Fillet finished with sautéed ginger and onions, broccolini and mashed potato in an aromatic broth; and the Pork Tenderloin which was served with bok choy, sautéed pears and potato gratin.

8oz New York striploin steak with frites and root vegetables

Poached salmon fillet with sautéed ginger and onions, broccolini and mashed potato  

Pork tenderloin with bok choy, sautéed pears and potato gratin

The dessert menu, although short but sweet, featured White Cheesecake with a three berry sauce, Lemon Dacqoise, a wonderful zesty lemon pie topped with meringue, and Pecan Pie topped with vanilla ice cream, in addition to a tempting list of after-dinner coffees including Irish Coffee, Monte Cristo and a delicious sounding Banana Hazelnut. Showing great restraint, we all ended up sharing the White Cheesecake topped with a full flavoured three berry sauce.

The short but sweet dessert menu

White Cheesecake with three berry sauce

Warm, friendly and inviting, Lemon Bistro is a open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00pm until 10:00pm and closed Sunday and Monday. Reservations are recommended, as are any of Margaret's decadent desserts.

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