Local food focused on enticing the locals
Haisai is always evolving and adapting, says Chef Michael Stadtländer.
“With an emphasis on going forward,” he said. “When we re-open we have to re-feel the whole thing.”
Haisai has been open on and off in past years but since June Chef Min Young Lee is helping to establish a new concept for the Singhampton restaurant.
Although the emphasis on fresh and local hasn’t changed, in its latest incarnation, Haisai is highlighting its gourmet wood fired pizzas on Thursdays with a full menu on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday brunch. Lee is heading up the kitchen while working in collaboration with Michael and Nobuyo Stadtländer, and the rest of the team. Lee began his career as an apprentice at Eigensinn Farm. He has been there six years and this is his third stint at Haisai.
Guests arrive in Singhampton to find Haisai tucked behind a naturalized berm. On the path to the front door, beside a stone patio is the pizza oven built by Stadtländer a few years back. It is constructed of local and reused material, just like the entire restaurant, furnished with pieces made by Stadtländer himself. The ceiling is finished with clay from the pond at the family’s home, Eigensinn Farm, and beautifully and artistically adorned with dishes and bits of glass – the bar is made of empty wine bottles.
On this day, Lee and Stadtländer are prepping a batch of chanterelles foraged from the Bruce Peninsula. The mushrooms will inspire that weekend’s menu, which one day out has not yet been set in stone.
Lee said much of Haisai’s clientele is from Toronto and it is hoped the pizza will appeal to a more local crowd. The weekend menu will offer three appetizers, three mains and three desserts, all inspired by what is in season. Most of the food is sourced from Eigensinn Farm and other local growers. They are always on the lookout for the best ingredients, which form the dishes, which Lee describes as simple yet complex.
This menu will include piglet, later chickens and perhaps venison after that. Haisai serves exclusively Ontario wines and Creemore Springs beer.
“Often people drive two hours to eat here so they are not rushed,” said Lee. “It’s a whole experience.”
Visit www.haisai.ca for reservations but the menu may not be updated.