by Rhonda Massad
Rumour has it that the original Willow Inn was the site of the murder of Maud, a servant girl in 1837. It is also said, but not confirmed that Maud haunts the inn to this day. The Willow Inn is haunting me, not because the place is haunted, but because the food was delicious I cannot stop thinking about it. Purchased by husband and wife team, David Ades and Patricia Wenzel last January, the restaurant, which was originally opened in the 1820’s, has undergone a major facelift since. While the nine rooms at the inn will only be complete this spring, the dining room, pub and Stanstead Hall accommodating parties and weddings for up to 140 people, are open for business.
According to Willow’s Director of Operations, Andrew Korol the menu is still evolving. The restaurant and pub that seats 120 guests has been up and running for a few months already with opening hours from Wednesday to Sunday, see below. It is worth calling ahead to make a reservation and check the opening hours, at least until the inn rooms are open full time. The good news is that what is on the current menu is fantastic. Dan and I were happy to spend the cold night in late December with our friends Annette and Richard in the elegant dining area near the fireplace. We made a plan to all take a different meal on the menu so we could test as much as possible. Everything we tried was delicious and the service was exceptional.
“The kitchen staff is very experienced,” Korol said. “Hudsonite, executive chef Shaun Hughes, is continuing to develop the British style menu. Hughes comes from well-known places such as Montreal’s Joe Beef and Bishop & Bagg, Vancouver’s La Quercia and Toronto’s The Black Hoof. Hughes worked a the Willow as a teenager. All baking and butchery will take place on site, producing breads, pastries, sausages and other charcuterie meats. We use premium ingredients sourced locally and sustainably when possible.”
Using organic spelt, rye and whole wheat flour locally sourced from Les Moulin des Cedres all bread is baked in-house much like most of the ingredients on the menu. Again, delicious.
“We make our own mayonnaise, pickles, and mustard,” Korol explained. “Last week a child ordered a hot chocolate with marshmallows. We did not have marshmallows, the chef, instead of sending someone to the store, whipped them up by hand.”
The Willow welcomes vegetarians and those with special dietary needs.
“We are happy to accommodate diners with special requests,” Korol continued. “Since everything is made on the spot we have no problem creating a dish especially for you. There is always a vegetarian selection on the menu and if you want something in particular just ask. The staff is very friendly and happy to make you happy.”
The atmosphere was perfectly cozy on a chilly night. The fireplace was blazing in the newly decorated dining room. It has a fabulous waterfront location on Lake of Two Mountains, with a stunning terrace that holds 125 guests if you like al fresco dining in the warmer months. Brunch is available on the weekends.
Best to make a reservation by calling the numbers below. Surprisingly on a cold night in December, the restaurant was filled to the brim with patrons.
Auberge Willow Inn
208 rue Main, Hudson
Wednesday: 17h30 – 22h00
Thursday: 11h00 – 15h00, 17h30 – 22h00
Friday: 11h00 – 15h00, 17h30 – 22h00
Saturday: 11h00 – 15h00, 17h30 – 22h00
Sunday: 11h00 – 15h00, 17h30 – 22h00