Fine dining at Kettle Creek Inn in Port Stanley, Ontario is something one must do if in the area. Originally built as a summer home in 1849, the building is not only an inn but also THE spot to dine when visiting this small town on Lake Erie.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this part of Southwestern Ontario has all the right ingredients to become a new food tourism destination in Ontario. The Kettle Creek Inn restaurant is currently one of the few dining establishments in the region that is stepping up to the bar that has been set high by other food-lover destinations such as Prince Edward County or Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Kettle Creek Inn’s Chef Mike Robbins has ensured that ingredients from local fish suppliers and farmers, as well as Ontario-produced pork, chicken or beef are used in each and every dish. And more importantly, how the dishes are prepared is with an understanding of how to blend flavours, textures and scents together to produce mouth-watering food.
The restaurant offers a fine dining atmosphere – white linen tablecloths, upholstered chairs and polished cutlery set the tone. This is a place where the older set will feel at home having dinner here. You inevitably feel under-dressed if wearing jeans here, but you can still get away with it.Waitstaff is dressed up in black pants, white shirts and black vests. They are friendly and know the menu inside and out. There are no big attitudes here, just small-town charm and smiles. You feel welcome (despite wearing jeans!).
The appetizers are varied – from salads to sweet potato fries and samosas. Kettle Creek Inn’s take on the Caesar Salad with a slightly garlic vinaigrette and bacon. The vinaigrette is on the light side with only a hint of garlic flavour mixed with oil. It could use a touch more of garlic or a hint of wine vinegar to bring out the flavours.
When in Port Stanley, it only makes sense to try the local fish. With the Blackened Pickerel Filet with the fish coming directly from Lake Erie (Jackson Market, just down the street from the Inn supplies it), you have a winner. Elegantly presented with a crimson edible flower for decoration, the fish is slightly covered with spicy Cajun spices that take the edge off of the slightly fishy taste. You know it’s fish by the flakiness of the meat but the flavours take it to new level. Paired with rice, seasoned and cooked in a flavourful chicken broth, along with fresh local vegetables and a simple tomato salsa, the Blackened Pickerel Filet is the star of this dish. For those who aren’t crazy about fish – try it. You will love it.
The Steak is another good choice on the menu – Farmgate Market’s Ontario raised beef steak is grilled as you like it (in this case medium) and paired with fresh vegetables and an slightly salty au jus. The steak is grilled to perfection with just enough spices to bring out the flavours.
Kettle Creek Inn is a romantic spot for a quality dinner in this area of Ontario. The menu offers a great selection of seafood and meat dishes – most of which are traditional favourites but made and presented in an elegant, delicious fashion. We’d like to see at least one or two more innovative menu selections coming from this restaurant – hopefully next time!
Kettle Creek Inn
216 Joseph Street
Port Stanley, Ontario
Tel: (519) 782-3388
Hours: Call ahead to make a reservation to confirm. Their website does not include dining hours. During the evenings, after 7 p.m. it’s best to make a reservation as the restaurant serves not only those staying at the Inn but tourists from other surrounding inns without dining facilities as well.