July 1, 2020: For Canada Day, we decided to venture out of the Greater Toronto Area on a short road trip to Barrie for our first patio lunch of the year (which also signalled the first time we had dined out since March when the COVID-19 lockdown began). This was also when restaurants were able to operate in the Stage 2 capacity meaning that patrons could dine in at restaurant patios.
I did some research of the restaurants in Barrie the day before our road trip and found that The Farmhouse Restaurant had a nice patio with a view of the Lake Simcoe bay along with a nice menu focused on a farm fresh ingredients. I called the restaurant to make a reservation and was informed that they didn’t take reservations. Customers would be served on a first-come first-served basis. I was also informed that their patio was fairly large so even if there was a wait, it shouldn’t be too long to get a table. I actually liked this because it meant that we didn’t have to rush on our hour-drive up to Barrie to make sure that we were there for our reservation time but that we could just stroll in and likely get a table.
On the day of, we arrived at the restaurant a little bit after noon. The restaurant has a large parking lot reserved for their customers. I was actually a little afraid that we would have to wait for a table considering it was the prime lunch hour but to our pleasant surprise, there were still plenty of tables available on the patio (they have patios on the second floor of their restaurant which overlooks the bay as well as a ground level patio and also additional tables under tents extending into the parking lot area).
At the hostess table, there was a small list of rules detailing physical distancing procedures for behaving inside the restaurant. All patrons would have to wear a mask when going to the washroom (one person at a time) and otherwise remain seated at their tables. There were hand sanitizer dispensers at the hostess table as well as near the area where we sat.
We were given a large table that was right under the roof of the restaurant which was perfect for us. I liked our table better than if the hostess had given us a table with just an umbrella for shade. It meant that even when the sun moved across the sky, we would be fully protected from the rays and direct heat.
It was such a nice summer day to enjoy lunch on the patio. There were many patrons already enjoying food and drinks on the patio too.
The menu at The Farmhouse Restaurant wasn’t very large but there were enough items that appealed to me. After placing our order with our server, the food arrived in a very reasonable time.
We first had the Dill Pickle Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken as an appetizer. These were small morsels of fried chicken with blue cheese aioli, smears of Farmhouse hot sauce, and a juicy slice of pickle on top of each fried chicken. This was so nicely presented on the plate and so delicious as well. The fried chicken was crunchy and went well with the juicy dill pickle and hot sauce.
For our mains, we had the Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower Steak and 7 oz Grilled Beef Tenderloin. Each entree came with two sides (which was so generous). The sides included a choice of roast garlic mash; feltis farm fries; baked potato with three cheese bacon butter; mac n’ cheese; Swiss chard salad; romaine salad with bacon and Parmesan vinaigrette; and raw veggies and dip. There were also daily sides of vegetables and salads which our server explained to us.
The Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower Steak came with an herb pesto. Ken chose the Swiss chard salad with fries as his sides. The cauliflower steak is essentially a vegan form of “steak”. It was baked and seasoned with herb pesto. I thought that the taste was all right, but it could have been a larger size considering it was just a slice of cauliflower. The Swiss chard salad and fries were good.
I had been craving beef steak so the choice of the 7 oz Grilled Beef Tenderloin just came naturally. Unfortunately, as I was with child, I couldn’t eat the steak done medium rare as I usually like it. I asked for it to be done medium well with the daily salad (apple slices with walnuts) and romaine salad with bacon and Parmesan vinaigrette sides.
Again, the plate was presented nicely. All of the side salads were placed into small mason jars which modernized the look of the plates. The 7 oz grilled beef tenderloin at first appeared like a small size to me but it ended up being a decent size for lunch. Although I never order my steaks done medium well, this one was actually really delicious. The meat wasn’t tough at all and still very juicy and tasty. I also asked for the red wine reduction to be left out and only the garlic butter to remain. The server brought me some HP sauce on the side, but I found that I didn’t need it at all. The beef tenderloin was already flavourful with its natural juices. I really enjoyed this steak! :9
We had such an enjoyable lunch on the patio at The Farmhouse Restaurant. All of the staff wore masks and the tables were set 2 metres apart to comply with physical distancing measures. All of the guests wore masks or stayed appropriate distances from each other as well.
Their washrooms were in the downstairs area of the restaurant and a sign instructing that only one person be allowed in the washroom at a time was reasonable. I didn’t bump into anyone when I visited the washroom, so it worked out well.