Quietly working away for over twenty years in his kitchen at Hastings House Country House Hotel on Salt Spring Island is the best culinary artist’s in BC’s Gulf Islands, Chef Marcel Kauer.
Each day Chef Kauer surveys the country kitchen garden on the hotel property to see what fresh ingredients are available to make up the day’s menu. Chef Kauer works with the highest quality, fresh ingredients that are grown or made locally on Salt Spring Island. It’s the reason why the restaurant at Hastings House has been rated one of the top restaurants in BC.
The dishes served in the fine dining restaurant are traditional, yet because they are homemade, they bring a unique sense of casualness. The restaurant also features on of the largest wine cellars in BC and has a sommelier on staff to help pair the right wine with your meal.
Hastings House Country House Restaurant typically attracts a much older clientel, however, for a younger city couple, it would be a perfect retreat and weekend getaway. It’s the perfect romantic getaway, especially on a cold, rainy fall weekend because you can cuddle up with a cup of tea and enjoy the peacefulness of the country lifestyle.
To get a sense of the tantalizing gourmet dining that awaits, here is a sample of a late-summer meal at Hastings House Restaurant.
Lingcod with fresh organic orange pepper and tomato chutney with EVOO and green onions. The fresh chutney added both crunch and acid to the fish.
Marinated Organic Beats
Red and yellow organic beats from the country kitchen garden were marinated and served with balsamic vinaigrette and goats cheese from island cheese maker, David Woods. The goat cheese was a bit punch for the delicate flavours of the beats, but is certainly brought a deep, bold taste.
The hearty, handmade, stone crust bread was served warm with softened herbed butter.
Summer Squash Bisque
A late-summer harvest of fresh squash and carrots filled the palette with this bisque. The sour cream instantly softened the taste, making it very rich and creamy. Hints of citrus, caramelized onions and pureed carrots filled each taste.
Peppered Beef Carpaccio with Onion Marmalade
If it wasn’t AAA Alberta Beef, it probably could have passed for it. The texture was smooth, and the pepper crust paired wonderfully with the salt from the curing process. Beef Carpaccio is raw meat that has been frozen, thawed and then thinly shaved and served.
Served with onion marmalade, a selection of garden greens, and Reggiano cheese.
Grilled Salt Spring Island Lamb, Caramelized Shallot Potato Puree and Honey Mustard Jus
From field to plate in 10 days, the Salt Spring Island lamb is the centre piece of Chef Kauer’s culinary skills at Hastings House. The tender and juicy medallions of lamb were served with a honey mustard sauce – the mustard seeds adding both texture and punch of spice. Surprisingly, the lamb lacked pepper, leaving the dish feeling a tad empty for flavor.
Served with the lamb were a selection of late-summer steamed carrots and green beans, and potatoes that had been whipped with pureed caramelized onions and rich butter.
Grand Marnier Crème Caramel
The perfectly prepared crème caramel was the foundation of the dessert, but it was far from being a front and centre taste. The late-summer strawberries from the garden packed a flavourful punch, but it was the Grand Marnier stole the show. Because it was not served flambé style, the heavy orange brandy liquor over-powered the dish, leaving the crème caramel to be hidden and left only for its texture. It was paired with Hester Creek’s late harvest Pinot Blanc.
The restaurant is open daily from March 1 – October 30 and reservations are strongly recommended.
Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)