We were at “Sparkling Hill” for the weekend. A girl’s getaway, arranged by my girl friend, in celebration of my birthday day.
For the review of our penthouse suite, the amenities that all guests can enjoy with an overnight stay, and all the spa treatments available, check out part one of my “Sparkling Hill” coverage in the link below.
This post will be focused solely on the food and dining options at the resort. For the vlog account of our trip, click the link below.
Visiting without a vehicle, we were left with the food options offered up by the resort. Breakfast for all guests is complimentary. An European style buffet available from 7am to 11am daily. You are seated by a host and servers offer your coffee and/or tea, but the food and drinks you help yourself too. Although you do get a bill at the end, itemizing what you had and how much you would have had to pay for it, if not made complementary to everyone; all so that you could tip the server accordingly.
Between the two days that we visited, the buffet varied little. Though with plenty of options to choose from, it will take a while to go through it all for longer stays. Platters of meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables. Bowls of whole fruit piled high. Devilled eggs one day and hard boiled the next. Bread, bagels, and buns you toast and spread with jam, jellies, marmalade, and/or butter. Oatmeal kept warm in a pot, served with your choice of seasonings. Hot food included scrambled egg, breakfast sausage, and a curried potato. On our first day there was pork belly, which was an interesting choice. On the second day, an egg Benedict with ham and Hollandaise. For something sweet you can pick up a scone or a chocolate croissant, or maybe a mini loaf of muffin, these do vary day to day.
Your lunch options are either in room dining or a snack from the cafe “Barrique and Java”. The later included baked goods and desserts on displays. We only visited during happy hour for cheaper drinks and smaller shared bites. Each time avoiding the darkened alcove and trying to claim the tables that gave us the best view. The patio was ideal, however too warm during high noon.
On one visit it was 9oz wine for $10 and a charcuterie and cheese board. Peller Estates Sauvignon Blanc and Two Oceans pinot Grigio. Artisan cheese and meats with house made pickles, preserves, crackers and bread.
The next visit it was another $10 glass of wine for my girl friend and sparkling sangria for me. Well paired with crispy chips and dip. Hand cut Kennebec potatoes tossed with sea salt and toasted black pepper, served with lemon and confit garlic aioli.
Our girl’s weekend package that my girl friend signed up for gave us two complimentary cocktails here. So after happy hour time elapsed, we redeemed it in for two martinis. The “caramel apple martini” with its dusting of cinnamon reminded me of pie. Okanagan spirits vodka, butter ripple schnapps, apple sour puss, and apple juice. A dessert-like cocktail great for those who like their drinks a little sweet. The “Cassis royal” on the other hand was a lot more tart. Okanagan spirits blank current liqueur, Okanagan spirits vodka, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice.
And when that was done, to keep the party going we got a bottle of wine to share. The “Mission Hill” limited edition viognier. We didn’t end up finishing it, but were allowed to take what we couldn’t enjoy here back up to our hotel for later, glasses included.
For room service we ordered off of both their lunch and dinner menu. For the former it was two entrees, a cocktail, and bottle of sparkling. For the latter a sandwich, a pasta, a side of risotto and two bottles.
The “Pan fried hill farm chicken schnitzel” was delicious. A grown up chicken tender with parsley buttered potatoes, summer vegetables, lingonberry compote, and fresh lemon. You have a choice of their jager sauce or creamy mustard for $3 more. We got the former which offered a very mild mushroom based dipping sauce, with actual slices of mushrooms within.
The “Bison burger with Okanagan blueberries” was a hand formed bison burger with fresh thyme, confit garlic, Dijon mustard, Okanagan blueberry, aioli, arugula, black pepper caciotta cheese, crispy onions, and fresh tomato; all on a brioche bun. I found the patty over cooked and a little flat. It could have used some tang to brighten up the serving. I ended up adding more mayo and ketchup to it from the miniature bottles that were brought up as well. The side of fries on the other hand were nice, especially after drinking.
Their Caesar was a mix of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, tobasco, and vodka; all in all pretty standard. Although with all the wine I have been having, I found it tasty and a nice change. But the bottle of “Prosecco gold Brut” got us right back on track.
For our late night dinner we had the “Beef dip sandwich” that came highly recommend by our hotel suite server. It was fatty meat and chewy bread, dipping into a fragrant gravy. To change the taste, the side of hand cut fries and roasted garlic aioli was a nice break.
Their risotto varies day to day, with the option to have it as an appetizer or entree serving size. This is the former, the chef’s daily seasonal inspired risotto, a chicken tinga with a tomato chipotle. It was comforting in its soften texture and familiar tomatoes base. The goat cheese and pickled onion offered some interest in taste, heightening the flavour of the rice in contrast.
The “Spicy prawn linguine aglio e olio” was a nice dish. A clean pasta prepared with sustainable farmed prawns, sautéed garlic, pepperoncini, rapini, grape tomatoes, Thai basil, and a lemon crumb. It was light and refreshing with the thick prawns and juicy tomatoes. The greens lent a wasabi-like flavour with garlic notes.
For a more traditional and formal dinner experience their main restaurant, (located in the same space as the buffet) is open nightly. Here, our girl’s weekend package also included a 3 course meal at “Peakfine” for both of us. Our choice from anything off the menu: appetizer, entree, and dessert.
With the live music and the roar of the fireplace, the atmosphere of the room shifted. From breakfast buffet in robes to dinner courses in heels. A formal dinner with white table cloths and cloth napkins, starting with complimentary bread and butter with herb and garlic.
I wish I liked the seared diver scallop with green pea purée, chilli, citrus, and hazelnuts; a little more. It was a sweet dish, whereas I wanted something more rich and salty, or at least salty and sweet to start. You don’t get much of the scallop flavour already, and I didn’t want to over whelm it with the more dominate pea purée. Not to mention the sharpness of the lemon and the crunchiness of the peanuts helped to mask things. I would have liked the scallops to shine through more with a lighter sauce, and to have the peas as more of a side.
The “Ahi tuna tartar with avocado mousse” was also a little strong. You expect and want a lighter dish, to be able to taste the fish, but once again the sauce masks it all. Especially the punchy lemon grass teriyaki; fully coating the fish and pickled ginger carrots, sesame cucumbers, and puffed Canadian wood rice. It was a nice enough dish, but it felt incomplete without a base, too saucy to not have something to scoop it up with, and help sop up some of that excess salty and sweet teriyaki.
For entrees I had their special of the day, a “9oz prime rib special” with mashed potatoes, beets, and lettuce. A classic meat and potatoes dish. A thinner, fattier cut with a minty accent from the greens, and a punch of tang from the horseradish. The potatoes were my favourite part of the dish, whipped smooth and absorbent of all that meaty jus that run off the slab of beef, over it. This was both comforting and filling.
My girl friend got the “Lamb backstrap and texture of carrots”. Aromatic lamb, burnt honey carrot purée, confit heirloom carrots, carrot sponge, and mint chimmichurri. You have to think about it to fully enjoy it, the creativity of presenting carrots three ways. It didn’t necessarily help to highlight the lamb. And although interesting, I would have preferred more complimentary sides to my main protein.
There was a lot going on with the plate, so I was surprised to see her add a lobster tail to it. It came as a side with butter you pour over, naturally sweet with a little bit of salt. The tail was a little on the smaller side, but still delicious, despite it being tough.
At this point we were full and couldn’t finish our entrees. However our package included dessert, so we got it go. Wrapped in Saran for us to enjoy as an indulgent breakfast, the day after.
The “Cheese board” was a selection of artisan cheeses, served with house made pickles, preserves and crackers. Who doesn’t like cheese and crackers; and this platter offers a variety of both. Crispy and chewy paired with sweet and sour elements, a choose your own adventure in eating to cater to your tastes. Champagne cheddar, a truffle cheese, and blue cheese.
The “Chocolate board” was a selection of house made, hand dipped chocolate truffles that are seasonally inspired. This too was fun to pick at. A hands on experience between the chocolate crumbs, the fresh fruit, and the dollop of gelee. There was also a macaron and a square of gummy, along with a piece of chocolate that had the bubbly texture of an areo bar. And amongst all of that were 4 house made chocolate truffles. One was a white chocolate raspberry, another white chocolate with a cocoa filling, there was a dark chocolate cherry, and a milk chocolate with chocolate mousse filling.
This would be the last meal we had in our dreamy weekend penthouse, and thus ends our “Sparkling Hill adventure. We followed this up with a handful of winery tours, those posts to come.
888 Sparkling Pl, Vernon, BC V1H 2K7