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Outer Clove Restaurant, Nelson BC

My recent travels brought me to the Kootenays for work, where I was using my down time to explore much of Nelson BC through food and the need to dine out for meals.

When I walked past it in exploration, I was intrigued by The Outer Clove and their traditional and authentic Eastern European menu. Not having much experience with the cuisine, I decided to change that through a single dinner.

Given the lone server working the front and the one chef manning the back, I was surprised by how quickly the food came out. And given its consistent temperature and how evenly heated it was at the centre, it makes me believe each was made to order. I did confirm that everything is made in house by the kitchen, minus the perogies which are locally sourced.

It was hard to work my way through the menu, not being able to make heads or tails out of the descriptive listing that lacked photos. And I wasn’t able to enlist help from the server as she liked everything. Although she was great at warning be not to order the strong liquorice flavoured Green Tree Absinthe from Czech that caught my eye.

Eventually with the aid of Google and Instagram I made my choice by sight and what I thought would be interesting to try for the first time. I appreciated being able to order off of the kids’ menu, in order to enjoy a smaller serving, so that I could have more.

To start, I had the Hungarian Goulash with beef, potato, and vegetables. A comforting soften stew in just the right amount for one. It was exactly as expected.

Svickova is Czech’s national dish composed of marinated beef, sweet and sour vegetable sauce, a cherry reduction, whipped cream, and house-made knedliky (steamed bread). The sweet and sour sauce eats like a room temperature gazpacho. More soup than sauce given the portion size and its watered down texture. There was plenty to take in as spoonfuls, or to dip the bread into. The white bread had a similar texture to the Chinese style white buns, just as spongy, but less dense. Surprisingly the whipped cream was sweet and didn’t match everything as is, although ideal folded in for added richness. And finally, the cranberry was the same as the type served like gel at Thanksgiving. It had a wonderful tart freshness to help brighten up the plate.

I opted in for the full sized Halusky instead of the kids version, in order to have deep fried pork jowl topping the mash of pasta. I expected meat in bone in an impressive display, but got cut up and shredded pork topping. This is Slovak’s national dish of spaetzle served with a creamy feta sauce, thick cut bacon, onions, and confit pork jowl. The jowl is crispy like roasted Chinese-style pork. Heavy and on the greasier side, where you can only eat so much. The cream sauce was a little salty as is, but helped along by the raw red onion that balanced out some of the dish with its acidity. The spaetzle ate like thick and chewy Mac and cheese:, extra cheesy and extra glutenous.

Their crepes are called Palacsinta, and are served as an entree with 2 full rolls accompanied by your choice of soup, salad, or fries. Each crepe is filled with your choice of seafood, chicken, or wild mushrooms. I went with the chicken in a pesto cream sauce and found that there was too much going on. The bold pesto was battling with the generous amounts of large, thick cut slices of wild mushrooms. I was surprised to find the latter wrapped in addition to the chicken. As a whole, this was a very dense dish. The only element for added freshness was one of two sweet drop peppers. I liked them the most and could have had a handful as is. Without it, I couldn’t not finish the one tone, pesto heavy pancake. Not something I would order again. The crepe would have been better as plain as possible.

Although this type of cuisine may not been in my immediate wheelhouse, I am glad I got to try it here in Nelson, for the first time. Not something I would crave again, but the only option for modern European comfort food in the area.

The Outer Clove Restaurant
536 Stanley St, Nelson, BC V1L 1N2, Canada
+1 250-354-1667

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