Bridie Molloy’s / The Celtic Hearth Doubly Won The Overcasts’s Poutine Challenge as Both The Critic’s Pick and the People’s Choice

The critic and the people have spoken ... and they've spoken in unison!

While the traditional canvas for poutine in St John’s is a well stretched day to night boil, it has now been shown up to snuff outside of binges, hangovers and festivals. The Five Brothers cheese curds, used in all the poutines of the challenge, were fresh and soft and chewy and a nip squeaky; in other words, just right.

Bridie Molloy’s / Celtic Hearth (Winner)

The Poutine:
Irish breakfast poutine with Five Brothers ‘Bergy Bits’ Cheese Curds, bacon, tomatoes, blood pudding and a sunny side up egg

Emily Deming’s Review:
Sometimes you cannot lose banking on tradition. Poutine’s magic partially derives from when and how it is consumed. This gives the 24 hour poutine of the Celtic Hearth an inherent leg up on the competition. Their massive Irish breakfast poutine takes circumstance and location into account. With a true generosity of spirit, the fried egg and black pudding topping opens its arms to any alcohol or anxiety or regret your stomach may be holding after a night in Sin City and crushes it with a brunch-y bear hug. The egg was cooked to perfection, crisp at the white’s edge, soft in the yolk’s centre. The whole was cohesive with the chopped tomatoes sharing the work of the gravy to keep any bite from dryness. A volcano of potato and melted curds getting hotter and more liquid toward the centre. But that egg was the king maker.

Chinched (runner up)

The Poutine:
“Poutine au Têté de Cochon with triple cooked frites, Five Brothers ‘Bergy Bits’ Cheese Curds, pork gravy, crispy têté presseé, and pickles.”

Emily Deming’s Review:
Once again, Chinched gives us a fantastic smaller plate option at the lowest price. Though a smaller helping than the others, it is still enough to fill you up. The tete pressee (think of this as chicken fried terrine) makes it a very rich dish, but, as it is well portioned and prettily cut, it is a crisp and epicurean richness versus a gluttonous one. The gravy was the best of the meat gravies with a lighter colour, higher viscosity, much lower salt load and more robust flavour than the others. Finished off with bread and butter pickles in a smart bid to add tang without playing flavour hard ball, this was the most elegant of the poutines and would go perfectly with their chipotle infused caesar, though it did not ruin or overpower a more delicate champagne based cocktail either.  Classy Chinched. Very classy.

The Club

The Poutine:
 “Roasted Duck Poutine with Five Brothers ‘Bergy Bits’ Cheese Curds, kimchi, gochujang mayo, bone marrow gravy, spring onions, and sesame.”

Emily Deming’s Review:
 “The kimchi, duck and spicy (gochujang) mayo would do well as their own dish. The mayo in particular hit the “hot-but-comfortably-savoury” note so well it could make raw broccoli a treat. But the basic poutine beneath did not match the promise of the toppings. The gravy was as salty as soy sauce but not applied as sparingly. This saltiness kills me about The Club. Sometimes I feel like McCrowe is a genius who doesn’t think much of his audience. Like a comedian who crafts the perfect joke and then ruins it with explanation.”

The Sprout

The Poutine:
“A base of brown rice and oven roasted home fries, with black beans, peppers, and corn, topped with Five Brothers ‘Bergy Bits’ Cheese Curds, herbed mushroom gravy, and finished off with dollops of guacamole and salsa, and a sprinkle of cilantro.” 

Emily Deming’s Review:
 “The most seasonally appropriate poutine in the challenge. Satisfyingly thick and complex gravy. This was a creative side-step from the “brownness” of standard poutine. This was a celebration of poutine. A fiesta of comfort food. This large portion with generously piled, and texturally bountiful toppings, with sides of guacamole and salsa, was equal parts hearty and refreshing. Though not as memorable as their superior burger challenge entry, a fun and well worthy poutine.

Relish

The Poutine:
“Jewish Deli Smoked Meat Poutine w/ Five Brothers ‘Bergy Bits’ Cheese Curds, crispy onions, and cranberry habanero chutney.”

Emily Deming’s Review:
“The idea of this poutine took smart advantage of a real local ingredient gem. The Jewish Deli’s smoked meat is a boon and it was great to see it championed outside the basic sandwich. This was also one of the prettiest poutines when served. But, sadly, it became clear that the ingredients had not been looked after. The lovely cheese curds were not even melted among the fries; the “crispy onions” were stale and soft rendering impotent their “crispy” status; the smoked meat was dried out and curled at the edges as if left under a heat lamp. The advertised “cranberry habanero chutney” was simply absent with a thin, very average, brown sauce in its stead. No coherence; no melody, no accompanying harmony. Just a squandering of nice things.

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