Looking for a place to impress, or maybe you want to show the city off to friends visiting from out of town? Here is one of the places I recommend for both. It combines good food with a classy atmosphere, and best of all: a one of a kind view point.
The “park” the restaurant’s title refers to is “Queen Elizabeth park”. And you certainly get an eye full of it from the restaurant’s location. Cascading hills covered in green: slender trees, manicured lawns, and the occasional bush in bloom. Our group of nine would eventually be seated at one of the larger tables. It was one step above everyone else on an elevated platform, right in the centre of the dining room, and right beneath the cast iron chandelier that looked like it belonged in a monastery. Though sadly, having the most elevated position in the house only made our view less magnificent. You actually want to aim for the unobstructed view of any window seat, or maybe even just a table on their patio. So call ahead and make a proper reservation and a special request.
Whereas we were essentially overlooking the window side four tops surrounding us, and forced to look past the people and their parties. To blur them out in our peripheral, in order to be fully entranced and immersed with the scenery before us. To have that full feeling of being so small in a world so large, that you are a fleck in this moment and there is so much more out there. A humbling way to realize your problems are not as big as you make them out to be, because you are so small in relation to everything else. Or at least, that is what I take away from panoramic sceneries. Though given the size of our group, this was the best we could hope for. And location in relation to the window is of little consequence when you get a glimpse of the glass and metal city far in the distance.
I took the advice of my original post and made sure the one driving valet-ed his car, instead of sourcing out metered parking. It was one flat rate verses multiple trips to feed the machine, and the first hour always cost more than the additional ones do.
To quote my previous, visit post, as I left I captured the large space well during my initial visit. “The restaurant was elegantly dressed with its own cultivated garden by the entrance out front. Rustic in wood and metal it had the feel of a woodsy cabin with the class of a fine hotel. White table cloths, tea lights for ambience, and a vaulted skylight feature over a cast iron chandelier. There was no art hanging, no decorations scattered, nothing to take away from the wall to wall breath taking view. Given the restaurant’s elevation, the windows and what lay after them, the view would be the only thing you really wanted to admire.”
I find you tend not to notice staff and service as much when you are a larger group. Engaged in one another the wait staff almost blend into the background. Therefore I cannot recall their performance. But the fact that our food came in a timely manner, the empty dish ware was bussed in an orderly fashion, and our glasses never lingered empty; all points lead to an efficient and effective dinner service.
The meal began with complimentary bread and butter. Warm crusty slices that were spongy in the middle, paired with butter actually labeled “butter”. In case you can’t believe it is butter.
For appetizers we shared the “Seasons mushrooms” with crab, shrimp, and cream cheese. Grilled button mushroom caps stuffed with oozy cheesy goodness. The texture and taste was dominantly creamy, so if you aren’t a fan of rubbery mushrooms, the cream cheese seafood spread is what you got instead. That an a spring onion under tone.
The “Calamari” was flash fried and served with tzatziki and lemon. Each piece was crispy, with plenty of tangy sauce to fully coat each bite. It was just a little salty, a point that could have been helped along with a little more herbs for flavour.
Most of the entrees had similar sides, so I will blanket describe them right here. The mashed potatoes were whipped smooth to a fine grained paste. The green beans were cooked in butter, just long enough for them to maintain their snap. And the tomatoes were amazing, the way they were prepared left them sweet and juicy.
“10oz prime New York striploin” with the addition of a peppercorn sauce at an additional cost. Spicy and peppery flavoured beef.
“7oz filet mignon” prepared rare with a side of tangy horseradish. The gravy boat on the side was used for extra moisture and extra flavour.
The “Rack of lamb with rosemary” was prepared well. I found it the most visually appealing of all the plates. The meat was cooked tender. Though it took me a lot of composure to not pick the bone clean with hands and teeth.
“Fresh BC halibut” with a lemon Parmesan crust, beurre blanc, quinoa, and seasonal vegetables. It looked pretty, but the fish did not taste fresh. Sadly, the sides that accompanied, outshone the fish itself.
The “Seafood linguine carbonara” included bacon, prawns, snapper, and scallops. It was filling, lots of creamy sauce, coating plenty of seafood. It definitely smelled as good as it looked.
The “Filet Neptune mignon” was crusted with crab and topped with bearnaise sauce. The crab was not so much crusted, as topped in a clump. Together with the beef and sauce, it all went together harmoniously in your mouth. Delicious.
The “Fraser valley chicken” with lemon, roasted vegetable, and arugula was a little flat. The flavours weren’t as exciting and the chicken was especially dry.
“Creme burlee”. The traditional burnt sugar and luscious cream hiding under an almond biscotti piece, a strawberry segment, and a whole gooseberry with dried petals and all. The above certainly dressed up the scene, even though it didn’t do much for flavour.
“Sunburnt lemon pie” with raspberry coulis. The slice had the same burnt sugar topping as the creme Burlee above did, but underneath it was all lemon jelly and brown butter tart. I find a good lemon dessert refreshing after a heavy meal.
“Pecan pie with Georgian brandy and Chantilly cream”. It was nutty and not too sweet. If you weren’t full, after this you would be. I would have preferred this as a snack instead of a dessert.
“Warm apple cake” with vanilla bean gelato and a cinnamon sauce. The cake was light and spongy, but like the pie before I would have preferred it for another meal. Better for breakfast or brunch than dinner.
“Tiramisu with espresso dipped lady fingers and and mascarpone cream”. The slice was like an edible espresso, creamy and rich in coffee flavour. This is what they mean, when they say you always have room for dessert.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Our city is known for its view points and its citizens cannot get enough of them. So here is another one, if you have never been, this is one worth checking out. Don’t deny your cravings.