You walk into Sunday brunch at Puritan & Co. and the room is buzzing with energy. Once you settle in though, time seems to slow. You can get lost in conversation, linger over a few last crumbs on your plate left from a delicious pastry, or sip a second cocktail because it is Sunday and this early in the day you have nowhere else you need to be. Puritan & Co is a beautiful space, full of light, a clean contemporary take on farmhouse style. Every detail has been thought of and every nook and cranny is spotless. The precisely designed space hints perfectly at the equally precisely designed menu. You will find tweezers behind the charcuterie bar not for show, but because a small leaf or delicate chip of something tasty will need to be carefully placed to accent a dish. This accent is both a flavour accent and a visual accent. Chef Gilson is detail-oriented. Nothing is over the top, yet every dish is curated to the last unexpected detail.
I had been to Puritan & Company twice before, but never for brunch. I first fell in love with Chef Gilson’s food at his summer pop up in Truro. The spell of his fish charcuterie plate was cast one summer’s eve dining out with a friend and all four of our children some picky, others less so, but even that was not enough to break that spell. The first time I dined at the restaurant I sat at the charcuterie bar, which is a really nice way to get to know Chef’s ways with food because you can see the different components of each dish. It is a bit like standing up close to a Monet painting and you see each dot of paint, but when you stand back you can take in the whole painting, the light, the mood, and the feeling the artist meant to convey. My second visit was a nice dinner with my whole family (grandparents and kids). My mother is an exceptional cook and my parents eat very well at home and in their city NYC and travels. Regardless of their habit of eating really good food, this meal was a symphony of oohs, ahhs, and mmms. A meal full of unexpected, unique, different, yet familiar.
This third time, brunch was with the Boston Brunchers. We are a group of bloggers that gather as invited guests for brunch at local restaurants. We have various non-blogger lives and run the gamut in age, career choices, stages of life, but our one common thread is a love of brunch.
Brunch began with an assortment of pastries. I was surprised to find that the two pastries I wouldn’t usually order were my favourites. I rarely like a blondie because they are either too stodgy, too sugary or too sweet. The chocolate cherry almond blondie was perfect. It had a great chew to it and the sugars were slightly caramelized making it full of flavour. I also loved the dulce de leche and coconut danish. It was made with a really airy, but crisp puff pastry and slathered with dulce de leche. I usually dislike coconut unless it is in curry or a hunk of fresh coconut, but in this rectangular tart-like danish, the coconut was a faint accent of texture and taste and worked perfectly.
Starting from the muffin on the left the plate had: preserved lemon corn muffin, (hidden under the donut) a bacon and gruyere pinwheel, boston cream donut, chocolate cherry almond blondie, banana bread, another donut for good measure, and the dulce de leche danish with its four corners curling up just asking to be lifted off the plate.
I was deciding between ham and eggs because I was in a sandwich kind of mood. I chose the Coppa ham sandwich with Mornay sauce and pickles. It was simple, delicious, and came with a side of delectable crispy potatoes and salad. The sandwich was generously filled with ham, and given my pastry first course, 1/2 a sandwich was plenty.
I was really tempted by the corned beef hash, but I had just finished my corned beef and was ready for something different. I will sneak back some time soon for the corned beef as soon as a have another hankering for it. The corned beef I make is brisket. Chef Gilson’s uses beef navel for his corned beef so I look forward to tasting this version soon so I can compare and contrast the cuts.