Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia with the restaurant’s sheep.
One of the most gratifying effects of traveling the world is to learn about the different cultures that share the planet with us, the people, their music, art, and of course, their meals. In recent times, we have seen a resurgence of chefs who apply gourmet techniques to traditional, almost forgotten recipes using autochthonous ingredients. Raymonds Restaurant, on the island of Newfoundland, in Eastern Canada, is a perfect example of this new trend.
Jeremy Charles is the founder and head chef of this great establishment; and his partner, Jeremy Bonia, acts as manager and sommelier. In just five years, the restaurant has built its success using the island’s typical ingredients and preparing gourmet culinary dishes Nordic style.
After working for renowned joints in the United States, Canada, and Europe, both owners decided to return to their native Newfoundland, to bring all their knowledge to the local cuisine. They started working at Atlantica Restaurant, which was voted the best New Restaurant in 2009. The success prompted them to open their own space in 2010: Raymonds Restaurant.
Raymonds is housed in an old building in around the harbor. It offers moderate luxury with decorated wood paneling, papered with dark cream accents. Classic tables are dressed with immaculate white table linens, and simple chairs clad in black leather. Tableware and silverware are also quite refined. The creative presentation of the dishes features tree bark, wild pebbles, and plates made out of logs.
But the real secret of Raymonds’ popularity is the use of ingredients found in Newfoundland. Through a special license, the restaurant can offer wild game and fish; exotic birds such as partridge and Canadian rooster, plus scallops, sea urchins, moose ch’arki (In-house cured meat), seal meat, and fish from the nearby oceans and local rivers, and even lichens, edible seaweed and wild mushrooms of excellent quality.
The restaurant sources its products from organic vegetable producers, livestock breeders, fishermen, hunters, and independent purveyors who have become invaluable in obtaining the best and freshest ingredients in every season. This gourmet philosophy inspired by local culinary traditions is fast becoming a relevant international gastronomic movement.
While all the dishes on the menu are tempting, for those who want to learn about the chef’s personality, we recommend you order the tasting menus with five or seven dishes including a variety of eccentricities, such as elk sausages, snow crab salad and caviar—or Canadian hedgehog. These typical treats from Newfoundland are paired to perfection with an excellent selection of wines by the sommelier, whose cellar contains more than 2,000 bottles.
Raymonds offers authentic products from Newfoundland.
Raymonds is an unforgettable experience that brings us closer to the ancestral traditions of Canada’s Maritime provinces through a contemporary proposal of the highest level. Dining at this restaurant is worth the trip to this beautiful Canadian Island. ■