Secret Location's concept combines everything trendy from food, luxury, fashion, art, and contemporary design. Located right beside the ever-buzzling Chill Winston in Gastown, this not-so-secret spot is actually really hard to miss as its white open space with fluorescent lighting would turn heads for any passerby. Not an average lounge in the city, it is worth stopping by if you want to indulge in the ambience of the glitz and glam. Of course, when dining with His Majesty, one wouldn't expect for anything less.
Secret Location's got great selections of specialty cocktails. I ordered one which has the name associated with a kimono. The cucumber taste was quite prominent, but I found it light and refreshing. Sir A&W ordered a very mean looking 'Arsenic', an indigo-coloured concoction served in a tall glass like the ones the evil queens drink from in fairy tales. It was as mean and stiff as it looked, and worth every penny.
Plowman's Platter was a great plate to share with a group. It arrived with a basket of I'm not sure if I remember this correctly (the Kimono got to me), but I think it was 'duck tongue' terrine, which I really liked. It was smoky, sweet and salty like Chinese char siu pork. The aged cheddar was sharp and wonderful, while the homemade mustard was delightful pairing with the other charcuterie. The one lone pickled Romanesco broccoli was peculiar and fascinating to look at as it was my first contact with it.
The Qualicum beach scallops with parsnip and bone marrow ravioli, chanterelle mushrooms, and carrot butterwas an art on a plate. It actually looked prettier than it tasted. The ravioli dough was on the extreme end of al dente. Though His Majesty loved it that way, I found it too chewy and hard for my liking.
This dish looked like it came straight from the garden; Italian burrata, Okanagan peach and nasturtium salad. The grilled peaches were so sweet and juicy, it made me miss Okanagan and the summer very much. The salad itself was crisp, the burrata was soft, yet incomparable to the ones served at Cru and Siena.
Daily selection of canapes that night came with chicken consommé, quail, a dollop creme fraiche, and a cocktail shrimp. That's the best description I could give. The quail was very tender, but the other three bites were not so memorable.
We loved the truffled organic deep fried egg and grilled asparagus, and fontina fondutta. The black truffle was really faint, but the deep fried egg had a very crispy exterior and soft, runny yolk, which when mixed with the silky cheese sauce, was just delicious.
I stole a bite off Lady Chang's crispy skin Polderside duck, another art on a plate. Cooked medium rare, it was very similar to the duck I had the previous night at L'Abbatoir, but with less sauce. Again, when they say 'crispy' skin, I really wish they took it to heart and made it really crispy!
My pick for main entree, grilled AAA striploin with peppercorn sauce and potato zucchini galette. Though the striploin was much too chewy for my liking, despite being medium rare, I absolutely loved the zucchini galette. Thin, crispy layers of golden brown potato pastry with even thinner alternating layers of sliced zucchini. There were interesting components on there; the fava beans, and the pecorino stuffed squash blossom which strangely tasted very much like a dessert.
Artichoke and black truffle gnocchi with English peas and Reggiano parmesan sounded excellent. In reality, it was really dry. The texture of the gnocchi was what's expected, and slightly on the chewy side. It tasted great the first few bites, but, even with the truffle, it wasn't enough to keep us interested.
Lady Chang finished her meal off with Petits Fours of the Moment, the passion fruit tart on the lower left corner won her over.
At Secret Location, you can indulge on the aesthetics; elegantly presented food, and chic atmosphere.