Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro
Located in Naramata, Hillside Estate Bistro was our first stop for lunch. After wine tasting, we weren't as impressed by the wine as much as their tasty rustic dishes made with fresh ingredients. There, we enjoyed a very complete meal along with attentive, friendly service. See the menu here.
Bravo. I would definitely come back again.
My sister raved about a fantastic dining experience she had last year at Amante Bistro. Thus, she drove us all the way to Penticton in hopes of having more of their delicious food. Unfortunately, they have recently brought on a new chef on board and, as a result, the food had changed and we were not that impressed by our dining experience. The restaurant was extremely quiet at 6 pm on a Saturday night, which would've been the first warning sign for us.
We sampled one of their tapas, grilled quail with herbs. I just had to compare the quail to the one we had the previous day at Hillside, (or even the ones at Yaohan food court) and it couldn't even compare. The meat was tough and it didn't taste like it was marinaded through and through.
Next up was the lobster bisque, which was the most bizarre version I had ever encountered. The sourdough was dry and the soup, it was...well, sour. Why would the lobster bisque have a sour taste? We asked the waiter, who came back after inquiring with the chef told us that it was due to the "Brandy cream". Although it sounded luxurious, the taste was quite far from it. It tasted quite off (not like how a lobster bisque should taste) and definitely not tasty. Even when I had asked him again if it is supposed to be this sour, he nodded "Brandy? Oh Yea!" as though it was the best thing ever. I strongly disagree and was utterly annoyed. Despite huge bits of lobster meat, I would never try this Brandy creamed lobster bisque again.
Last but not least, the seafood risotto with tiger prawns and scallops was actually really tasty. The seafood were quite big and nicely seared while the risotto was creamy and not too starchy. Nothing to complain about this dish at all.
In conclusion, although the last 2 dishes had passing marks, they were still not enough to pull me back for another visit in the near future.
Burrowing OwlOn the last day of our trip, we stopped by Burrowing Owl for wine tasting and luncheon. The restaurant offers an amazing view of the serene resort and vineyard. It had an exotic, European feel to it. I didn't quite feel like I was in Canada. A perfect place for lunch on a sunny afternoon. Another good news is that the food is also as great as the view.
As an appetizer, the Manila clam fritters $14 were great for sharing. Served with heirloom tomato broth, chorizo sausage and lemon aioli, the fritters offered a variety of flavours from acidic, smoky to creamy. The dough was crispy outside, fluffy inside with chewy clam textures. Yet, they were a bit too salty on their own.
Braised lamb parpadelle $17 proved to be another good choice. The pasta noodles were cooked al dante which I quite enjoyed. The tender braised lamb, tangy tomato ragout with big pieces of mushrooms, and organic olive tapenade made this rustic dish very hearty and tasty.
That was the last meal from our weekend getaway and I'm so glad it was a great experience.