Sooke , British Columbia
While researching restaurants near Victoria, I read up on Sooke Harbour House, which offers a 3-course local seasonal menu for $49 on Friday and Sunday evenings. So I made reservations a few days after I booked my flight to Victoria for myself and Trapezista. Like Red Fish Blue Fish (our earlier meal in the day), Sooke Harbour House has a Top Chef Canada connection. This season's winner, Carl Heinrich, is from Sooke and worked at this restaurant! (A propos, just because Trapezista and I loved TCC.)
View of the back where the dining room is.
Sooke is a little town by the water in the south of Vancouver Island. It has its own garden and uses a lot of its own produce for its menu. Unfortunately, when we arrived it was raining so we did not get to spend a lot of time outside. Sooke Harbour House also offers a great view of the water, that would make a perfect romantic night out.
View from the dining room.
The menu changes daily. To start, Trapezista picked the smoked beet, leek & potato soup. I had a taste of the soup. The smokiness of the beets added another layer to the soup while not overpowering it, which is always a risk with smoke. I ordered the stellar bay Kusshi oysters, a small size West Coast oyster. I enjoyed the small oysters and the toasted dill seed mignonette. Trapezista tried her first oyster and was not too impressed by the texture.
Starter: Beet soup and oysters.
For the main course, Trapezista ordered the grilled Berkshire pork tenderloin, that looked perfectly cooked. Trapezista thoroughly enjoyed the locally sourced pork, on a bed of spaetzle and accompanied by cauliflower. She also ordered a glass of the 2009 Meritage, Lake Breeze that was the recommended wine to the pork dish.
Grilled Berkshire pork tenderloin.
I ordered the panfried silver grey rockfish, which our server informed us was quite ugly but delicious. The server also recommended the 2010 Noble Blend, Joie, for a fruity white wine that I thoroughly enjoyed – I even bought a couple of bottles to bring back home. He described it as a perfect summer wine, that tasted similarly to Gewrustamminer. While I did enjoy the fish, my favourite part of the dish was the smoked tuna, potato and quinoa fritters. The smoked tuna really added a nice smokey touch to the fritters and quinoa makes for an interesting filler for fritters. I also really liked the asparagus and bok choy as accompanying vegetables.
Panfried silver grey rockfish.
For dessert, Trapezista ordered the crème brulée that was infused with mable grey geranium with a strawberry square. When I tasted the crème brulée, I thought it tasted like lemongrass and we remembered the geranium infusion; I didn't realize geranium had such flavour. (On a side note, I think lemongrass could be an interesting touch to crème brulée, just like the pandan flavoured one at Nonya).
Crème brulée and strawberry square.
I debated between the dark chocolate butter sponge cake and the cheese plate since the desserts didn’t interest me much. The dark chocolate cake and bittersweet chocolate ice cream was good but didn’t wow me. Complimentary sweets were a nice end note.
I really liked that Sooke Harbour House focuses on serving local food and sources from their own garden. All the dishes looked very nice and were well executed. The restaurant is quaint and the views cannot be beat and is a great place for a special dinner. The four course menu is offered daily I believe for $74.