100 Places in the D is all about unprecedented experiences – and my visit to The Royal Eagle was certainly that!
This was my first time visiting a place in Harper Woods for the blog. Harper Woods is represented on 100 Places in the D! But more than that, this was an experience of stepping into another world. The Royal Eagle is a restaurant located on the grounds of a Russian Orthodox Catholic monastery located in a residential neighborhood.
St. Sabbas Monastery originated in 1999. The religious organization bought multiple adjoining properties in the neighborhood and converted them into the monastery.
It’s a singular experience to walk off a quiet, well-kept residential street through the gates of a monastery, which is also well-kept and quiet – and absolutely stunning! – but which you don’t expect to find in a suburban neighborhood. Lush gardens, a profusion of vibrant colors, fill the grounds of St. Sabbas, and the church and other buildings inhabit the Russian Orthodox style, with distinctive spires, use of color, and beautiful detailing. The outdoor seating area, where teas are held, struck me as especially beautiful with its umbrella-bedecked patio seating, mini clock tower, and gazebo lit by strings of light in the midst of the garden oasis.
And there in the midst of that garden oasis was The Royal Eagle. The volunteer-run restaurant hosts dinners, high teas, and monthly cooking classes; proceeds benefit the monastery. The current cooking class series is called Cooking with Grace and is taught by Chef Petr Balcarovsky. The theme of the session I attended in July was French Medieval Courts.
I didn’t take photos inside The Royal Eagle because cell phone use was discouraged, but you can see photos of it on Yelp. It’s cozy, dimly-lit, old-fashioned, outfitted with rich wooden furnishings, jewel tones, and the ornate detailing characteristic of the monastery.
The Cooking with Grace class was more a cooking demonstration. Chef Petr showed us how to prepare a multi-course meal, periodically pulling participants up to assist with chopping, stirring, emulsifying. A generous appetizer spread was served during the demonstration, and at its conclusion, we got to eat the foods we learned to prepare. We had a vegetable potage (soup), which was exquisitely delicious despite consisting of simple ingredients such as carrots, onion, and celeriac juice. Next was cornish hen with poivre jaunet, or yellow pepper sauce. The sauce was a piquant concoction of red wine vinegar, toasted breadcrumbs, crushed black peppercorns, ginger, saffron, and cloves. For dessert, there was Fontainebleau, a decadent dessert consisting of heavy cream, faisselle cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract whipped to perfection and served with powdered sugar-dusted berries and mint. Yum, yum, and YUM!
I had such a lovely time learning and eating, chatting and imbibing at this cooking class. I came alone but sat at a table with three other ladies, two of whom were friends and brought bottles of wine that they graciously shared. (The Royal Eagle doesn’t serve alcohol but encourages cooking class participants to bring their own bottles of wine. A list of recommended wine pairings was emailed prior to our class.)
It was, all around, a wonderful Tuesday evening. I highly recommend a visit to The Royal Eagle if you’re looking to infuse wonder into your everyday, as well!
18745 Old Homestead Dr.
Harper Woods, MI 48225