Today was our last day in the Okanagan, and we were looking for a brunch spot with a view. However, were having a hard time, due to it being Mother’s Day and we didn’t think to make a reservation anywhere. So after an hour of calling and driving around to dead ends, we ended up at “Legend Distilling” in Naramata. They were further away from our stay in Oliver, but had empty seats on their patio, with no wait. My guess is that, a distillery in wine country isn’t as popular, or maybe moms just prefer wine; not to mention this was the off season. None-the-less we were grateful to have found a place, and one that served us a delicious view and meal.
Located on the East side of the Okanagan Lake, you walk through their tasting room/bar to reach their patio. Here, tables are given shade with golf umbrellas, and the scenery included trees and green hills with blue waters and mountains behind it. The restaurant also had a lower balcony with beach chairs and picnic tables available. This served as additional seating for guests looking for just drinks; and later in the season, grass for bocce matches.
The kitchen is a shipping container, just outside of the tasting room. The specials of the day were listed on its side in coloured chalk. This included cocktails with mother’s day puns.
Feeling the brunch time vibe, my partner ordered the “Mum-osa”, expecting a sweet orange juice and sparking mix; but getting sour Bella Gamay Bubbles, Manitou orange, sumac liqueur, and orange juice instead. The tartness helped to cut into the liqueur, and the cherry garnish served as a sweeter end.
Seeing as we were dining at a distillery, I decided to get a tasting of their local products (despite it being 1pm and I was essentially ordering 3 shots for myself). I went with one of their flights and was given the choice of whisky, vodka, gin, and liqueurs, all made in house. It was hard to choose given the 11 unique options, so I went with original flavours and sips that would be good to drink as is. They have an option for half shots for $4 less, but I went for the full glasses at $10, which still felt like a great deal.
This is what I ordered, in the order of suggested drinking. First was their “Harvest moon gin”. Juniper, citrus, indigenous wild sage, and flame torched rosemary. This was recommend as the feature ingredient of a gimlet. There was no missing the herbal flavour here. Decent as is, but I would prefer a shot accompanying Italian food, given the prominence of the rosemary. Or better yet, a contributor to a savoury drink, like a Caesar. Punchy at 40%.
“Sour cherry vodka”, described as cherry pie in a glass. Made with lemonade and soda, so you know it makes a great martini base. Or even served over ice cream or with dark chocolate. Basically a boozy substitute for the cherry fruit. Great straight up, as the cherry flavour is light, and similar to what you would find in a cherry syrup or part of a Black Forest cake. This is a sipping liqueur at 25%.
“Blasted brew”. A cold brew liqueur made from freshly ground coffee, produced at “Homestead Roastery” in Naramata. Bold and smooth coffee, with hints of cocoa and vanilla. This too was recommended over ice cream or with coffee for double the caffeinated punch. This was strongest of the three in flavour, and recommended last given its over powering nature. Another great sipper at 24%.
To eat, my partner had the “Buttermilk roasted chicken” on a ciabatta bun with bacon, greens, tomato; and out of preference, the caramelized onion mayo on the side. The sandwich had a clean flavour. Like a club, but dressed up with the tasty mayo and pickled onion for freshness and tang. He had a choice of farm greens, soup, or chips and salsa. He chose the latter believing it would be steamed and seasoned vegetables, so was disappointed by the salad that appeared.
I had the Mother’s Day special, a “Nettle gnocchi” with mushroom, onion, spinach, poached eggs, and apple chips; all in a tarragon mornay sauce. It was a good looking dish with bold greens and two perfectly prepared eggs in a skillet. So delicious that you wouldn’t believe it came out of a shipping container. This was the perfect portion size, that left you wanting more. The gnocchi was so soft and chewy that it melted with a herbaceous flavour. I liked the look the greens gave, but am not a fan of wilted vegetables. The apple chips were savoury with a burnt note, that stuck to your teeth. And the bread on the side offered up some crunch, and the ability to help change the way you enjoyed this.
Our server was very welcoming and well informed. She recited the specials in detail, was willing to make recommendations, and asked for our feed back. She even suggested add ons, like making reservations to attend their concert series next week.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Given the welcoming staff and the amazing food, more than just pizza, like at the other winery bistros; I highly recommend “Urtica” for something different. Don’t deny your cravings.
3005 Naramata Road, Naramata BC, V0H 1N0