Friday, April 1, 2011

Stone Soup Inn: Destination Dining in the Cowichan Valley

In September we went to Stone Soup Inn for my wife's 35th birthday. Wow! What a memorable, wonderful evening.

The property is both a farm and a restaurant, and proprietor/chef Brock Windsor uses his own produce and livestock as well as other local ingredients to create a new six course tasting menu every night. The food is impeccably executed, merging inventiveness with restraint and delivering dish after dish of tightly controlled, ingredient-driven, deliciousness.

The dining room is beautiful; we sat in front of the fireplace, which was delightful. The menu changes daily, but our meal began with a beet and blue cheese salad accompanied by show-stopping tomatoes, which I believe were grown on the farm. The next dish was a flawlessly seared "idiot fish" accompanied by white beans and house-raised bacon. The lightly seared porcini on the side of this dish perfectly represented the chef's commitment to letting his outstanding ingredients speak for themselves. Next, roasted pork on a flavourful bed of sautéed local corn and cauliflower mushrooms, a mellow but flavourful combination that vied for the high-point of the meal. This was followed by braised venison, seared polenta, and eggplant that had somehow absorbed the ideal quantity of soy sauce. After the fresh precision of the previous dishes, this heavier, meatier plate brought the meal to a perfect finale. With the real eating finished, Brock brought out duck egg crème brûlée, sending us happily and sweetly off to bed.

We chose to stay at the Inn with our kids, who had eaten earlier and slept in a room just up the stairs from the dining area while we ate. This was a great arrangement. Both Brock and Eric, who runs the dining room and waits tables, have young children and they were terrific with ours. The Inn is, in essence, a small house, so our kids could easily pop down when they needed us. The rooms themselves are clean, spacious, and very tastefully decorated.

The breakfast the next morning was just what you might imagine-more show stopping tomatoes, more home-grown bacon, and wonderful home-grown poached eggs. With great advice from Eric about other lesser known attractions of the valley, we set out for a wonderful day. The Stone Soup Inn is in the hands of generous and tremendously talented people. It is destination dining.

Click here to find out more about the Stone Soup Inn

Stone Soup Inn on Urbanspoon

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