What’s on the menu at Le Pavillon, Luminato’s fancy French pop-up in a power plant

What’s on the menu at Le Pavillon, Luminato’s fancy French pop-up in a power plant

One of the highlights of this year’s Luminato festival is among the coolest restaurants this city has ever seen: Le Pavillon, a classic French bistro inspired by the 1939 New York World’s Fair—in a decommissioned power plant. Montreal’s Fred Morin (Joe Beef) and Toronto’s John Bil (Honest Weight) teamed up to create the restaurant in the Hearn Generating Station’s control centre.

“Fred and I are just doing this for fun,” Bil says. “It took some convincing, but Jörn Weisbrodt and Luminato gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with this unique space.” The two recruited many of their friends in the industry to help: Jesse Grasso (The Black Hoof) led the kitchen on opening night with guest chef Michael Olson (Niagara Culinary Institute), and Hoof owner, Jen Agg, hosted another night while Robert Spektor (Buca Yorkville) cooked. Later this week, winemaker Norm Hardie and celeb chef Daniel Boulud will be making appearances. “It’s a group effort and we want our friends to be a part of it,” Bil says. 

Tickets for the seven-course tasting menu are sold out, but an à la carte menu is being served at the 16-seat bar, reserved for walk ins. And what’s going to happen to Le Pavillon after Luminato? “Poof! That’s the magic,” Bil says. “It’ll be gone when the festival is over.”

The Hearn’s control room, decommissioned in 1983.

A full kitchen was built down the hall, and the control station was turned into a prep area and bar.

The 16-seat bar and oyster counter.

Farmhouse Tavern’s Darcy MacDonell opens a bottle of bubbly.

Sheila Flaherty (Halpern Enterprises, Momofuku) created the 30-bottle wine list.

John Bil, manning the oyster bar.

The coquillages (shellfish) course is served.

East Coast oysters are served with scallops and mussels.

Rotating chefs will man the pop-up restaurant until the end of the festival.

Chef Jesse Grasso.

Chef Michael Olson.

Chef Olson prepares the Terrine de Canard Tradition—duck terrine cooked in a can.

Morin opening the can table side.

The can’s label was custom made using the duck head logo from a 1970s foie gras company.

Morin made 180 terrines, using 100 kilograms of meat.

Chef Olson brought his 85-year-old hand-cranked meat slicer.

Pork is brined, cured with Norm Hardie pinot noir, then served with a celery root remoulade with walnuts and walnut oil, and finished with a butter and foie gras reduction.

White asparagus cooked with flour, lemon and oil is chilled and then warmed up in green asparagus jus.

Trout comes with crayfish and crayfish sauce.

Quebec capon legs are cooked with vermouth, white vegetables and tarragon, then finished inside a pig’s bladder with truffles and sherry.

The bar seats are reserved for walk-ins.

A selection of Ontario and Quebec cheeses.

And for dessert, there’s chocolate mousse with a sugar crust.

Until Sunday, June 26. The Hearn Generating Station, 440 Unwin Ave., luminatofestival.com