This weekend, my partner and I had the pleasure of attending the soft opening of the much anticipated North Shore Diner before its public opening on Saturday, May 4th. As if I didn’t love visiting Tatamagouche already, this has certain added another reason to make the trip more often!
Owners Justin Yap & Barbara Goodall are the couple behind Route 6 food truck which has been around since May 2017. In the fall of last year, they secured a space to expand from the truck to a diner in their home town. It’s nestled in front of the Grain Elevator as you come down the Creamery Road and in to the square. The setting is quaint and cosy in this one room space- its walls adorned with warm wood accents such as shelves that are old table leaves from Goodall’s father, and an antique kitchen scale passed down to her from three generations.
The menu is handwritten on a brown paper roll as soon as you walk in and will be changing from time to time. Many options are named after friends of Yap and Goodall! It was REALLY hard to narrow down the choices on this eclectic menu…so we didn’t! We ordered 6 dishes to share and I can honestly tell you, I could not pick a favourite, so let me go over what we had and what we liked about it!
Garth Algar – A perfect savoury breakfast – scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, kale, pickled red onions, smoked cheddar with confit tomato and diner salad (dressed greens). I’m not a kale fan but it married perfectly with the other flavours here. The smoked cheddar and salty bacon were such a perfect balance. It was fresh and flavourful – I could eat this for breakfast every day!
Oliver Wood – House made whipped ricotta on toast with cranberry citrus jam. Very fresh mix of berries and a generous spread of creamy ricotta. I’m not big on the tartness of cranberries myself, but if you’re a Newfoundlander missing the ol’ partridgeberry, you will surely love this!
Mad Meg 2 – If I reaaaally had to pick a favourite dish, this would 100% be our contender for the top spot. Salt cod fish cakes cooked on a waffle iron nestled on a bed of lemon remoulade, with a side of beer braised baked beans, homemade mustard pickles, toast and diner salad. Now, I’m a Newfoundlander, so obviously, I’m partially made up of salt cod, but you cannot take this as biased. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a remoulade (we’ll say fancy tartar sauce) before, but I will never forget this combination- it was plate licking-ly delicious. I’m also not a huge lover of baked beans but these have made me a born again believer. I don’t know if its the braising with Deception Bay Lager by Tatamagouche Brewery that put it over the top, but I used my finger along the inside of the glass jar they came in to get absolutely ever last bit of that sauce. The mustard pickles are not to be forgotten either. My partner and I actually fought over the little cup of vinegary goodness! This is an honest-to-goodness Maritime classic reimagined and it should be mandatory every visitor to the province be served this!
The Quiche of the Day was caramelized onion with tomato, bacon and feta. I feel like this kind of got lost in the shuffle for us among the other heavy hitters we had on the table. While definitely a delicious blend of flavours and a perfectly buttery, flakey crust, it was hard to get out of the shadow from Garth and Meg.
Charlie Brown – Coming in close behind our love of Mad Meg is this option, which is BANANA BREAD WAFFLES, PEOPLE!!! Smeared with wild berry compote and sprinkled with oat & seed crumble, it also has a side of maple chantilly cream that is just heavenly. We actually didn’t order this initially but when we saw it come out to another table, we knew we couldn’t leave without trying it (read: fighting over what was actually an even portion, it was so good). It’s not heavy on the banana taste – more like a hint of banana rather than overbearing. Coupled with the light chantilly cream and crumble, it satisfies your sweet tooth without being too rich and sugary.
Needless to say, the North Shore Diner exceeded my already high expectations from what I had experienced at the Route 6 food truck. It was fresh, imaginative and oh so satisfying. Tatamagouche is lucky to have this jewel in its already sterling crown!
As I mentioned before, its a very small setting so you can expect to have wait times, but I assure you, its worth the wait. Yap and Goodall have created a cozy and inviting atmosphere where they cook for you like you’re family. With very fully bellies, we grabbed ourselves some coffees to go (light roast from Meeting Waters, or dark roast from Aromamaya – yum ) and some fresh baked treats by their in house baker, Melanie, from the beautiful counter display. We walked out the door already planning our next trip back!
Live to eat another day..