Fresh and local are headlining at Norca, the Germain family’s pride and joy at their not-so-long-ago opened capital city flagship hotel.
With the resto’s name chosen from the first few letters of “Northern cuisine and Canadian ingredients,” its mission is to create community, bringing locals and travellers together for an edible adventure. An edgy farm-to-table menu paired with newly chic organic wines awaits—yes it’s muse-worthy.
Starting with “bites” from the smalls menu, a sense of terroir spills through with Norca’s hearty back-to-the-land cuisine. Duck-fat fries with Fleur des Monts powder and a sprinkling of herbs, seared mini cabbage avec mostarda, a poached Silkie egg served with smoked ham chips or roasted bone marrow with onion, gruyere and house-made sourdough. Charcuterie here is also an inside job.
From the larger plates dinner menu a soul-pleasing vegetarian coprin mushroom and ricotta agnolotti with beurre blanc and a dash of juniper powder just trumps the crispy skin sable fish that dances in a vanilla sauce with broccoli, peppers and an almond emulsion.
Curating loveable ingredients from regional growers and producers that are adjust to daily and seasonal availability is the kitchen’s culinary forte. They’ve even assembled a collective of likeminded passionista suppliers that makes for dinner time storytelling.
First, there’s Ferme et Forêt’s golden maple syrup. F&F’s no- footprint farming and gathering are trademarks. Nestled amongst the arable fields and temperate hardwood forests of the Gatineau Hills, they’ve perfected the secret of harvesting wild apples for cider-pressing. Norca also counts on them to forage juicy wild plums and forest-growing shiitakes.
O’Brien’s Farm of Winchester is le Germain’s fourth-gen family operation supplier of hormone and antibiotic free beef. Dan, the current O’Brien is a passionate crusader for supporting the good old family farm and locally raised “happy” cows. Here here!
Ex city slickers with a love and passion for food, Juniper Turgeon and Alex McKay-Smith, who started Juniper Farm in Gaspésie, deliver most of the hotel’s organic produce. The duo now grow over 60 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables. They also raise sheep who are fed seaweed.
Travel tip: Juniper Farm and farm store are a must-visit.