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Morgan Bistro, Harrison Hot Springs

We were in Harrison Hot Springs, a 2 hour drive from Vancouver, visiting for a quick getaway. And although it is currently their off season, there is still much to see and do in town; of which includes dining out. Here is another unique spot, when in Harrison and looking for a nicer meal.

The restaurant is named after the owner, a restauranteur who got into the business with little to no experience, but with the confidence that she could prepare food better. This is a restaurant crafted from the perspective of the diner, she is doing what she would want as the customer. Doing so with her own recipes and the desire to bring it back to basics with a classic tried and true menu and a farm to table philosophy. And so far she isn’t wrong. With former locations in Mexico and Whistler telling the same story, all doing well, and all named “Morgan”.

Morgan’s background is in interior and house design, and the restaurant’s speaks well to this with it slightly gothic tone.

We would start the night off with a few drinks. We allowed the bartender to surprise and delight with in house classics. Although truthfully, they all tasted the same and were overboard on the citrus. We even found several lemon seeds in the glass below. They felt more like drinks mixed at the beach, than cocktails stirred and shaken at the bar.

The Bourbon sour with chard citrus zest was such an example. This was very citrusy, leaving me wanting more char or more sour, as the name had promised.

Similar in tone was the Tom Collins made with Empress gin for its hue. This was too was overly citrus forward, but more palatable as an over zealous lemonade.

The bartender was proud of this Raspberry and lychee martini. A personal creation that started with the need to move a bottle of Soho lychee liquor, that has now become the restaurant’s best seller. Once again it drank like punch at the beach, whereas I wanted something more refined with depth to match the meal to come.

Having been won over by the last salad during our last dinner, we now ordered Morgan’s Signature Caesar Salad and was not disappointed. Prepared with Romaine lettuce, crisp pork belly, and imported grana padano cheese from Italy; then drizzled over with a champagne vinaigrette. It ate as hearty as it looked. A tasty twist on a classic flavour profile.

The Organic Duck Liver was an unexpected option so we went with it. Done with house made organic duck liver pate and served with toasted crostini and Morgan’s onion jam. It looked like gravy coming to the table. Pre-made it is served chilled, although would have been better at room temperature. It ate on the salty side and is definitely intended as a spread.

The table was keen on the Duo of Fraser Valley Duck so we got that. This was oven roasted duck breast and confit of duck leg in a wild black cherry balsamic reduction. The breast was made extra tender by the layer of fat between it and the crispy skin, I preferred it over the dry confit leg, with an even crispier layer of skin.

The Slow roasted certified angus beef short ribs came “bone out tonight”. It was seasoned with garlic and rosemary, sitting in a rich red wine Demi-glaze with Madeira, and garnished with horseradish cream. I had high hopes for this one and despite how tender and silken the meat was, sadly I found it bland. The buttery mashed potatoes did help to inject some additional salt and seasoning. And I did appreciate the freshness the perfectly crisp vegetable added to the dish. In hindsight, I am sure some salt would have helped to remedy the situation.

And tonight’ special was the rack of lamb with a Dijon and rosemary crust, served alongside roasted potato and seasonal vegetable in a similar red wine Demi glaze as the one above. I found this offering more tasty, but wished we were warned of the similar flavours so as to order something different instead. The lamb came like lollipops a little tough to rip from off of bone, but my favourite dish of the night overall.

At this point we were too full to consider dessert, but upon the insistence of our welcoming bartender/server we were persuaded into ordering their cheesecake, which is Morgan’s grandmother’s original recipe. It wasn’t thick and creamy like it looks, but airy and light. It tasted like it was made with yogurt, but in reality two different types of cream cheese whipped vigorously. Topped with a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg and finished off with a berry coulis for additional sweetness and the cake’s flavour. A surprisingly light end.

Morgan’s is definitely the best and only finer dining option in Harrison Hot Springs. But not in the typical sense, this is gourmet cuisine done by a home cook, re-interpreted and remade for every day dining. Take it for what it is and not what you think it should be and you will have a great time.

Morgan’s Bistro
160 Esplanade Ave Unit C, Harrison Hot Springs, BC V0M 1K0
(604) 491-1696

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