My husband insisted on the title of this post. Mostly, because he’s been calling random friends, colleagues and acquaintances left and right, using this exact phrase:
“I’m down for drinks but only if we’re going to Bier Markt Square One. Dude! The Bier Markt is in ‘Sauga now! It’s the newest hot spot. Meet you in 20??”
Okay, so *maybe* he doesn’t use those exact words. And *maybe* the only reason I’m poking fun at him is because since Bier Markt opened its Mississauga location, I’ve seen less and less of him. Truthfully, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think he preferred beers from around the world, signature gastropub fare and gorgeous bar chicks over staying home and folding laundry with me. Huh.
Nevertheless, I shall take responsibility for his introduction to the city’s newest hot spot, as I was once again treated to Executive Chef Michael Cipollo’s culinary genius at a recent visit to the resto-pub. I want to find something I don’t love about this joint – if only to provide a complete and debatable critique – but the truth is, I can’t. Every element, from carefully orchestrated contempo-chic decor to game-day friendly outdoor televisions, simply works. Actually, it does better than just work – it elevates Bier Markt to the best option any time of day, or season, for residents west of Toronto.
At Bier Markt Square One, they have invented a new religion: Charcuterie. Unique to this location is the Chef’s Charcuterie Bar, which is tucked away in plain sight, offering guests a semi-private “chef’s table experience” while seated in the charcuterie kitchen. A market-style menu boasts the age of the salt-cured, brined and smoked delicacies, promising patrons “a delightful smorgasbord”.
So what of the charcuterie platter? It is thoughtfully presented with finesse and flair. Complemented with Markt pickle jar, house mustard, preserved fruit compote and grilled bistro bread, included in the 9-meat sampler is:
12-month Prosciutto ~ Saucisson Rustique ~ Saucisson Tirolese ~ Gennaro Salumi ~ Viande Des Grisons ~ Guanciale ~ Red Chili Calabrese Salumi ~ Juniper Pancetta ~ Porter & Espresso Candied Bacon. But first, the beer pairings… Stiegl, Goose Island Honker’s Pale Ale, and perhaps a fruity drink to spare, wink.
The rich, salty earthiness of a good charcuterie platter cannot be denied, and Bier Markt’s offering is no exception. In truth, the candied bacon deserves its own review; should I ever have the misfortune of ordering a last meal, I will insist on a bowlful of the sticky, crispy goodness. The prosciutto, which I assumed from the get-go would be my favourite, did not disappoint – however, it was red chili calabrese salumi that had me closing my eyes with relish. The Markt pickle jar added a necessary acidic, briny balance to the rustic appetizer, and was likely the only forgettable portion of the platter.
Next, in a tribute to surf and turf, Bier Markt style, we dined on the Bouillabaisse and 72-hour short rib. The bouillabaisse, with lobster tail, PEI mussels, sea scallops, red snapper, cod, aromatic vegetables, fondant potato, braised fennel, orange saffron rouille, shellfish & Pernod broth and grilled bistro bread – exhales after saying that in one breath – was just short of perfection; in an ironic twist, the savoury stew bordered on slightly too fishy for my taste. However, as I speared the perfectly cooked scallop, pulled the lobster from its tail and pried the mussels from their shells, I can assure you I was not complaining. While I am a seafood fanatic, I am not a fish lover. Hence, that is my full disclaimer for reviewer bias.
Now certainly you don’t have 72 hours to cook a short rib, so let Bier Markt do it for you. The 72-hour Leffe Brune Abbey Ale braised beef short rib is fork-tender and flaunts the “comfort food meets gastro pub” vibe perfectly. The main is complemented with heirloom baby carrots, grilled asparagus spears, roasted cauliflower purée, caramelized turnip and of course, Leffe Brune Abbey Ale demi-glace.
The main dishes were artfully paired with an Erdinger Weißbräu and Leffe Brune Abbey Ale.
To finish, we once again visited the world of charcuterie – with a whimsical flair! The Dessert Charcuterie featured Milk Chocolate “Country Paté” ~ Red Velvet “Boudin Noir” ~ Chocolate “Ryebread” and Banana “Crostini” ~ Peach and Apple “Terrine” ~ Cherry and Almond “Tapenade” ~ Poached Pear ~ Strawberry and White Peach Prosciutto ~ Compressed Melon ~ Sweet Yogurt
Above: the strawberry and white peach prosciutto, also known as the most tasty homemade fruit roll up ever. I took several photos of the dessert charcuterie, but the reason I will not post them here – and the reason why I’m leaving this portion of my review deliberately vague – is because I really do want you to experience it for yourself. It’s a feast for the eyes and senses, and will satisfy your sweet tooth with ease and refinement. Quite honestly one of the most posh desserts I’ve had recently – and I’ve had a lot.
So, go forth to thy watering hole, fair husband! I completely understand his fascination with Mississauga’s newest hot spot. With its seasonal patio, endless selection of fine beers, enviable Square One location and of course, formidable menu presented by Executive Chef Michael Cipollo, I confidently predict Markt domination.
Special thanks as always to Bier Markt for hosting us on date night. Want to bring the kids? Swing by the patio this summer – on weekday afternoons, even kids can control the remote for the patio television.