Bruno, Richmond’s newest luxury dining experience, located in the boutique hotel, Versante has a new brunch time offering. And Diana of @foodologyca, Joyce of @vanfoodies, and I decided to visit, making a girl’s day out of the occassion.
Parking is a little tricky as the property is hidden behind the Richmond Night Market. So if you are here anyways, you might as well pay for the valet.
The menu is set up family style, where each person pays the set fee, and everything is plated all together. Much like an elevated buffet that gets served to you. It is $65 per person and all dining in must opt in. It is well worth the price for the amount of food you get, the variety of food you get, and for the quality that it is.
It comes as 2 courses with the option to add on drinks or sides, should you want to make your brunch more festive or filling. I highly suggest starting with a mimosa, the prettiest I have ever seen. You are going to have one, and upon seeing it, order the other 2 flavours, so you can have the full set. Served in a flute with dried flower petals winding around the glass, adhered on with a sticky clear syrup. The options include the classic orange juice, an elderflower and grapefruit; and my favourite, the lavender lemonade made with lavender from the restaurant’s own gardens.
As for food add-ons, we began our meal with Bruno’s Caviar & Uni experience. Think high tea with scones, but instead of butter or jam it is a Chive Crème Fraiche, and you are spreading it over a Nori Scone with the additional toppings of Northern Divine Caviar and Bafun Uni Petals. At $75 it is $10 more than the following set brunch, but it is such a unique combination that I suggest splurging for the sake of experience.
You get 3 large pieces of uni, which I recommend splitting in half and rationing out amongst the 6 scones. I had one with the uni, full dressed with all the other accompaniments, so the one after without the sweet and creamy uni, fell short. Uni has such a unique flavour that it was certainly missed on the second go.
As for the actual seafood brunch for $65 per person, the first course is set up very much like a seafood platter. Everyone’s portion is staged together for a more fulsome presentation.
Between us three, we each had 2 Fresh Shucked Oysters, prepressed with Cocktail Sauce, Lemon Wedge, and Acadian Caviar. Easy to slurp creamy and briny, great at opening up the appetite.
The Spicy Citrus Prawn Cocktail was the most lack lustre comparatively. It didn’t taste as tender or as fresh as everything else. It came with a classic cocktail sauce for dipping, but the creamier Marie Rose Sauce was the preferred choice.
The Bay Scallop & Ikura Ceviche with Red Onion, Jalapenos, Pineapple, and Citrus ate clean and refreshing. And the Tuna Tartare with Sesame Green Onion Dressing and Kaiso Seaweed was well seasoned with the gentle flavour of sesame.
We were all fans of the crunchy chips with dip. All opting for the Creamy Lobster Dip with Old Bay, Dill and Smoked Paprika over the Taramasalata, which is a Salted Cod Roe Dip. The latter was overly salty in conjunction with the briny olives that topped it, and it reminded me of salt and vinager chips in its dressing. Whereas the lobster dip had actual chunks of lobster meat that you could make out, and it reminded us of the filling of a lobster roll. It was so good that we contemplated taking the jar of it home, but opted to gouge as much as we could out. There was far more dip than there were chips, a case you do not often see.
The second course of our Champagne and Caviar brunch also came plated together. Three of each for self-doling out. This was definitely a much heartier course. If you were left hungry before, you would not be after this.
The Crab and Avocado Benny was a classic. Rock Crab Salad, Smashed Avocado, and Hollandaise Sauce. Deliciously light with the sweet crab and creamy avocado. The hollandaise didn’t overwhelm nor did it weigh the benny down. I just expected it a little more done up considering the extra designer touches above. Perhaps some truffle or a little more caviar overtop?
The benny was given the pop of punchy flavour I wanted when eaten in conjunction with the Fraser Valley Pork & Herb Sausage below. The sausage was juicy and the herbs that seasoned it fragrant. It felt like it was missing something alone, but great when taken with another element, much like the crispy Double Smoked Bacon partnered with the corn bread.
The Maple Glazed Cornbread is officially one of the best I have had to date. You get the telltale crumbly texture of cornbread, while still being moist. The Jalapeno & Cheddar bits within contrasted well the sugars of the maple glaze, marrying spicy and salt with sweet.
But the table’s favourite for this course was the Honey Butter & Furikake Tater Tots, described as bougie tater tots. Crispy and fun to throw back, the fishiness of the Japanese seasoning really gave it a different approach.
The set brunch ends here, but we continued our dining with a dessert platter. Small nibbles given a stunning presentation. It was made to look like a garden with milk chocolate and white chocolate powder ground up to resemble soil or sand, under springs of basil for show.
Macarons in lemon, raspberry, lavender, and pistachio. All true to flavour with that distinct macaron chewy shell and slight creamy centre. None of which were too sweet, much like the rest of the platter.
There was chocolate bark in the classic pairing of dark chocolate and pistachio, milk chocolate and toffee, and white chocolate with cranberries.
The lavender meringue was fragrant and ever so airy.
And the candied lemon rind was my favourite, ending our meal as a refreshing palette cleanser.
We also made sure to pack up the chocolate powder up as leftovers, as it would be great as the base to a gourmet chocolate milk.
In closing, this has got to be one of the best and most memorable brunches I have had in a while. The value is there, with the ability to add on and dress up the experience as you see fit. I highly recommend bringing your friends along and indulging in an afternoon of live music and fine food in this picturesque setting.
Bruno at the Versante Boutique Hotel
8499 Bridgeport Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 1R7