Mallard cottage is the hidden gem in a tiny fishing community minutes from downtown St. John’s, NL, Canada. Driving by, you wouldn’t think it is a restaurant since it looks like a little cottage. Don’t be fooled by its appearance, Mallard Cottage is one of the highest rated restaurants in St. John’s, and with good reason! This was my 7th time dining here, and I have dined for both brunch and dinner, with large and small groups. It truly doesn’t matter when you’re there or with how many people, your experience doesn’t change. For the purposes of this review, it was my partner and myself dining for brunch.
Being an old cottage, it isn’t the largest restaurant, which means reservations are a must!! I would not recommend trying to get in without a reservation, as it is always extremely busy. Although they are small, they make great use of the available space. There are 2 separate dining areas, one with wood fireplaces (which are always burning) and the other where you’ll find a small bar and the open concept kitchen. Each dining room has a large chalkboard where you’ll find the menu for that day, and artwork by NL local artists.
The menu that is offered is small, however it packs a big punch! The chef tailor the menu to items they are able to make themselves or local items available at that time. Because of this, the menu changes on a daily basis. The few times I’ve been there for brunch they tend to have a breakfast sandwich, a daily soup and the style of potato side dishes are the same. I LOVE this about Mallard Cottage, since (clearly) it is one of my favourite places to eat at home, you can go as frequently you want and you won’t run out of menu items to try.
For a starter we got a side of the potato wedges, which are to die for. Plus when you dip them in the homemade ketchup or homemade hot sauce (or mix the 2 together for extra yummy flavour) they are almost hard to describe the flavour is so fantastic! Crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside, perfect potato wedge! Even though I ask every time I visit, they have yet to sell me a bottle of their hot sauce, fingers crossed that they will eventually cave!!
It was extremely cold on this wintery Saturday afternoon so I decided to have the soup & homemade biscuit. The daily soup was curried carrot & chickpea. It was puréed with added chickpeas for texture. The ones on top were toasted nice and crispy. The biscuit was absolutely delicious, I could live off these biscuits and butter! At first glance I wasn’t sure it would be enough food for me, but I was stuffed by the time I finished it.
My partner had the brunch platter (I’m not sure if that was exactly what it was called), which included house smoked turkey, homemade crackers, homemade coleslaw, cheese, everything cream cheese, house pickled beets, side dish of the curried carrot & chickpea soup and cheese. It was a very large portion, probably would have been good to share with a few people, but he sure put a large dent in it! The crackers were crunchy but then melted in your mouth. The turkey had so much flavour packed in it that it didn’t even taste like turkey (in a good way). The coleslaw was crisp and fresh tasting, as were the pickled beets. The cheese was yummy too (but that’s always the case)!
The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about the menus. They interact with each other as if they were family. It is a really cozy and causal atmosphere, not somewhere that you need to get dressed up to go. It makes it feel as if you’re in your own cottage being served the most fantastic food you could imagine!
If you hadn’t figured it out yet, I would 100% recommend trying Mallard Cottage. Whenever I have guests in town it is my first reservation to make. Hands down, 5/5 stars. I would give 6/5 stars if they would sell me some hot sauce!!
Until next time,