As promised, Foodie Friday ventured out of Gastown, out of Vancouver, and a ferry ride over to Vancouver Island. This was a much anticipated trip as I have only been to the island once before. My first trip earlier this year was to Victoria, BC, the capital of British Columbia, which is where I fell in love with the tranquil island. Friendly faces and easy going life style was a big change from the fast paced city I now call home. So you can understand my excitement when we booked our next trip to the island right after we got back from Victoria- this time for a wedding in Parksville. New trip, new part of the island, new ferry port!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures on the ferry boat this time but this was the best boat ride I’ve had thus far. It was sunny and clear! I found it far more scenic than the ride to Victoria. Because we had a wedding to attend at Tigh Na Mara Resort and Spa, our plans to explore Parksville and surroundings was limited to a morning and early afternoon, but that was plenty time to make a comfortable trip to a restaurant and a brewery. There is so much to share about both places I am going to break up Foodie Friday for the island in two posts.
When we were in line to board the ferry, an older gentleman stopped Darren as he was walking to our car to ask how long we had been in waiting and if we had a reservation. Converstation kept flowing as I was waiting in the car and about 15 minutes later Darren returned. He immediately told me how it was ironic that it was now twice in the same day two people on two independent meetings told him that having brunch at The Breakwater at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa was a must! I was instantly sold as the extent of my food exploring was limited to what our resort had to offer. So the morning of the wedding, I called, made a reservation, and we headed to the restaurant.
The resort grounds were beautiful and open. You didn’t have to look far to see water which I love! There was a slight overcast but nothing could take away from the peaceful atmosphere. The restaurant was quiet empty when we arrived- 11:30 seemed to be a bit to early for brunch but we had a time schedule. I’m not complaining because with the weather on our side I think we got the best seats on the patio!
Our server’s name was Jason and was wonderful. He talked us through the menu, gave us suggestions, and went out of his way to ask Chef Nyle if there was even the slightest chance we could order oysters as they weren’t on the menu at the time. The oysters were Holly Wood Oysters off the tip of Denman Island which were as local as local gets. Jason also explained to us that Chef sources as much as he can from farms on Vancouver Island from meats, cheese, and fruit so I was pretty happy to hear that. After we learned that Chef was going to shuck the oysters for us we immediately placed the order not even thinking about how massive brunch was going to be.
The oysters were slightly sweet and very fresh. They had the flavor of the ocean but not in an over powerful briney and even gritty way. They were all equal in size and with a pinch of freshly grated horse radish and a splash of mignonette the bite was perfectly complete. I was the most pleased with the fact I wasn’t getting a mouthful of salty liquid and a tiny oyster, rather an oyster with garnishes to elevate how amazing they were. I’m sure we could’ve just ordered another dozen and called it a day but we decided to order entrees to see what the hype was about.
I knew what Darren was going to order and I was about 99.9% sure I was going to be able to steal a few bites so I decided to go more of a lunch route for my entree. I took a huge leap of faith and trusted that with the raving review and Jason’s confidence that I would not be disappointed with fish and chips. Now you may be quick to think- “Sonal, thats such a boring choice. How can you screw up fish and chips?!”
Well my dear friends, I’ll tell you how.
- The tartar sauce taste like mayo and relish…only. How bland!
- The chips are soggy, far from crispy, and neglected.
- The fish is perfect when it arrives but your window of eating all of it before the oil starts to seep out and make the outside mushy is about a 3 minutes, which means that you are left with a batter you pretty much need to peel off.
These are 3 very important things I judge fish and chips on and I honestly don’t think it’s asking for much. Batter for the fish is key and Chef Nyle nailed it. Not only was it super crispy, the crunch stayed until we were finished- almost 30 minutes later. The fish was a filet of ling cod which I enjoyed as it wasn’t a thick piece of fish. The tartar sauce was especially nice as it tasted more than just mayo and a quick stir of gherkins or relish. The color immediately made it unique as well as flavor that rendered a homemade richness. It was perfect. All of this almost makes me never want to order fish and chips anywhere else again. The bar has been set.
Darren on the other hand will always…and I mean ALWAYS have a traditional eggs benedict. I admire his loyalty to the dish and his enthusiasm each time he tries it at different restaurants. I guess it gives him a great baseline on judging the dish. I did enjoy the few bites I had. The hollandaise was nothing short of a rich emulsion of butter and egg yolks and Chef did not skimp on the thick cut Canadian bacon. The home fries were nicely seasoned and the eggs poached perfectly to Darren’s liking. When I asked him for his thoughts, his food comma left him with a lack of words but the fact that he finished his entire plate before I was even half way done with my fish leads me to believe he too was not disappointed by the recommendations.
Well done Breakwater! We definitely know where will re-visit the next time we are in the Courtenay area.