Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Historic Old Mill Inn: Lunch Buffet on the Humber

Nestled along the thickly wooded slopes of the Humber River Valley, the historic Old Mill Inn offers a full-service spa and elegant fine dining with Executive Chef Martin Buehner at the helm. The iconic 4-star Tudor-style mill house hotel set amid beautiful gardens and just minutes from downtown Toronto, is famous for its traditional English afternoon tea which has been served since 1914 and features the customary cream, jam and scones. The Old Mill underwent a series of renovations in the early 1970s, with great attention made to authentically restore the original Dining Room, Garret and Humber Rooms. The old Print Room was restored and a new Tea Room added. Present-day proprietor Michael Kalmar took ownership of The Old Mill in 1991, and after significant restoration and reconstruction, The Old Mill reopened in 2001 with over 50 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites. During the week, The Old Mill serves an impressive luncheon buffet in the Inn's historic dining room, with restored flagstone floors and high wood beamed ceiling. With a wide selection of appetizers, salads, hot dishes and desserts, the Old Mill's luncheon buffet has something for everyone, including hot and cold seafood, smoked fish, pasta and carving station featuring a roasted pork loin and handsome prime rib of beef. Also featuring a fine à la carte menu, the prettiest spot to dine is in the bright and sunny Terrace Room overlooking the Inn's picturesque garden patio and gurgling water fountain. 

The Old Mill's outdoor garden patio

The bright and sunny Terrace Room overlooking the Inn's picturesque garden patio

Red Begonia Centrepiece

The Old Mill Grand Luncheon Buffet

Tomato and Bocconcini Salad

Chilled Poached Mussels

Smoked Salmon with capers

Poached Shrimp

Calamari with Asian Slaw

Selection of Fresh Fruit

Cheese Board

Plum and Streusel Tart

Shepherds Pie
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Martin Buehner

1 onion peeled and chopped
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lb minced beef
1 tbsp of bovril, dissolved in a little hot water
3 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of thyme 
1 tsp tomato purée
3 carrots, peeled and diced
14 fl oz chicken stock
1 handful chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

3 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
7 fl oz single cream
4oz butter
1 large egg yolk 

In a large pan, gently sauté the onion in the vegetable oil for about 10 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the minced beef a little at a time and cook until browned. Then add the Bovril water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, tomato purée, carrots, stock and season with some salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 50 minutes, then transfer to a pie dish ready for the mashed potato.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well, then return to the pan and add the cream, butter, egg yolk and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Mash well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover the mince mixture with the potato and run a fork over the top for decoration. Place in an oven preheated to 350°F for 20 minutes or until the potato is nicely browned.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. You can prep this dish in advance, leave to cool and then reheat later, although will need more time in the oven — about 40 minutes.

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