Tonight we were at “Liquidity” for dinner, here to celebrate my latest birthday. It came recommend from local food and lifestyle writer @myvancityca, so I was excited for the meal to come.
Located in Okanagan Falls, this is a smaller winery, with its bistro and patio larger than their tasting room and wine assortment. They serve Pacific Northwest cuisine proudly highlighting their use of organic and local ingredients. Something that they printed on the menu and speak to in person as you sit down to order. All meats are ethically sourced from small local farms, all seafood is purchased through BC fisherman; and all vegetables come from their organic farming partners, or are grown on site. And then all of it is assembled together in house.
When we entered we were left waiting at the threshold, separating their tasting room for dining room, kept behind the sign asking for us to “wait to be seated”. Here, three different employees acknowledged us, but only one could seat us. We watched and waited as plates coming to past got prioritized, by the three employees delivering them to a seated table.
I remembered having a similar interaction when I had to make the reservation for my own birthday dinner. Over the phone the host was abrupt, she didn’t even acknowledge my request for a nice table, specifying the occasion. Although on the actual day, I did get some well wishes while waiting, and they would more than make up for it with the warm birthday reception below.
We were able to wait for a table that cleared by the edge of the patio, closest to the vineyard below. But the best seats were the ones that weren’t shielded by glass. These had an unstructured view of their infinity water feature, over looking their grape vines, with the blue of the lake in the far distance.
We began our evening with some of their wine. The “Liquidity Rosé 2018” was sold out at their tasting room, and during the time of our visit, the only way to try was at their bistro. A sweeter pink wine with strawberries on the nose. I preferred the “Liquidity Pinot Noir Estate 2017” I had, a rich berry wine that was easy to sip and savour.
To start we nibbled on some warm bread. A one year old sourdough made using flour from Summerland’s “True Grain”. Served with house cured and churned butter, topped with malted salt. I am a fan of sourdough, so enjoyed its natural, acidic tang. A smaller bun with more crunchy crust to gnaw on, and best enjoyed with the creamy butter, minus any of the coarse salt. Little did we know, over salting would be a common thread in our meal.
I ordered the “Sourdough fried oyster mushroom” with a black garlic dip, not realizing its batter was made from the same sourdough dough as above. It had a similar flavour coating the meaty mushroom from Summerland’s “What the Fungus”, but the dip was what flavoured it. It was dense and salty spread, where I wanted more garlic flavour. In the end I found myself painstakingly removing batter from the crispy mushrooms to gently dab it into the dip.
I fully enjoyed the “Cured scallop” appetizer and would have been happy with just it for dinner. Silken scallop with juicy cucumbers, a creamy buttermilk sauce, and fragrant dill. This was a refreshing dish, and a lovely aperitif.
My partner had the “Lamb sirloin” with green onions, mushrooms, miso and lamb bacon. I tried a bite and found it far too salty to want more. He insisted it was ok and found himself sifting through the mix for curated bites, paired with plenty of water. He declared that it was better than it looks, but was disappointed that there were more vegetables than the lamb he ordered it for. I didn’t like the visual of the wilted pea shoots and chunky sauce that pooled at the bottom of the plate. The lamb bacon was a nice addition, but it only made things saltier. It ate more like jerky than bacon, missing the same chew or crispiness as good old fashion pork bacon.
If given the option I would have ordered their tasting menu, but my entire table would have to commit to it as well. However it was sold out, and we weren’t able to order it after 8pm, given their 9pm closing time and the necessity to craft the 8 courses with 4 wine pairings.
As a nice complementary palette refresher between dinner and dessert, we were presented with the “Nootka rose granita” made with fresh shiso and a shiso curd. It was frozen ice and ate like you had a snow cone or slurpee for dessert. The texture was light and icy, and it had an elegant flavour combination, with plenty of beautiful rose flavour. I couldn’t taste the shiso, but I am not complaining as I usually find it too strong of a flavour. My only critique is that it got too sweet at the end, and I had to put down my spoon. I would have liked this more made in to a Bellini-like cocktail with vodka. Overall, a great transitional treat.
With dessert the restaurant offered up two glasses of their “Liquidity bubbly” to mark the occasion. This was their Prosecco-style sparkling, a non-vintage from this season that is only available by the glass.
My partner arranged a dessert to be brought out in surprise for my birthday, but sadly they didn’t have candles for me to blow out. “Miso caramel sticky toffee pudding” with caramel and charcoal tuile, and a black barley smoked ice cream. The crispy caramel cookie shards were the best part, it ate Iike a thin cookie. With the black charcoal ones being more thinner and smokier. The cake was like a warm airy sponge, but incredibly salty from the miso, where I wanted more caramel. The neutral-ness of the ice cream leant its creaminess and offered balance, and the buttery short bread crumble gave the dessert the sweetness you were looking for.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I liked the location, the creative offerings and their mantra of local and organic ingredients. It’s just a shame that we would found everything either too salty or too sweet. I would for a wine tasting and the view. Don’t deny your cravings.
4720 Allendale Rd, Okanagan Falls, BC V0H 1R2