Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a media event at the Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler. Open since Spring 2008, the beautiful resort also has a lounge (Cure), a cafe (The Fix), and a high-end dining restaurant on site that I will get into detail about in this post (Aura).
Beyond staying overnight in the stunning lake view rooms, we took a tour of the rooftop gardens, where a large percentage of the restaurant’s vegetables are grown and then used fresh in the restaurant dishes. We then followed this by viewing one of the Presidential suites and getting to know one another better. In the meantime, we sampled a large variety of the house made charcuterie (way too many to remember at this point) and drank some beverages.
Tim Cuff, Executive Chef, most recently hails from the Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island, and he was joined by Owen Foster, Restaurant Chef, in creating the delicious menu for the evening. Ryan Dyck is the Director of Food and Beverage and Hailey Pasemko is the Beverage Manager. We were served several varietals of wine from France, the US, and BC, along with a cocktail created by Pasemko – in fact, there were 9 beverage pairings that evening (not to mention what we had in the lounge and the suite earlier)!
To begin the feast, we started with a spoonful of Macerated Gem Tomatoes, Lovage and Turkish Olive Oil Soaked Tomatillos. These were slightly tart and light, and did the trick to get my mouth watering.
We then moved on to the Scallop, Side Stripe Prawn and Cuttlefish, Lime Injected Melon, with Pink Lady Apple, Dried Honey, and Bitters. The seafood was extremely fresh and delicious, but I personally didn’t love the combination of it with the tart watermelon cubes. It was refreshing though, and left me yearning for everything that was yet to come.
Next up was the Arctic Char Belly, Veal Cheek Pastrami, Caraway Aioli, with crisp lettuce and fresh horseradish. The char was delicate and especially fantastic, and I loved the purple colour of the cauliflower on the plate.
What I loved about the Parsley Root Consomme and Tortellini, with poached quail’s egg and lemon zest, was the broth. And the adorable egg. And, well everything.
Following the soup, we had Sloping Hills Porchetta Di Testa, Rooftop Artichokes Barigoule, with virgin hazelnut oil, fried capers, and confit pine nuts.
I really enjoyed the Tiroler Bacon Wrapped Thiessen Farms Quail Breasts, served with Heirloom beets, blossoming oregano, and savoury oats. I’m not even sure how to describe this dish, except to note that the table was quiet while eating this, and everyone seemed to be quite content in thoroughly enjoying the experience.
This was the perfect time for the Cucumber and Yuzu Granite palette cleanser, as the intense smoky flavours from the last dish were still resonating in my mouth, regardless of the amount of wine that I drank. This wasn’t a bad thing by any means, but it worked out well before moving on to the next course.
My favourite course of the evening was the Bison Flat Iron Steak, Oakleigh Ranch Waygu Shortrib, served with antique carrots and toasted bulgur wheat. So delightfully rich, I wanted this to go on and on.
Now, on to dessert course number one – the Vidal Ice Wine and Quebec Foie Gras, and Amarena Cherry, with freeze dried fruit salad. I have to admit, I have never tried any freeze dried fruit before (that I know of, at least), and it was definitely an interesting idea. I accidentally inhaled a little bit of the powder at one point while eating it, and had an unpleasant few minutes while I coughed until I could get some water down.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge ‘after dinner’ chocolate fan, as I’m usually quite full and find it to be a bit heavy for my tastes. However, the Fresh Coriander Seed and Cluizel Chocolate Ganache (flown in from Belgium), with squash toffee milk sauce, and pumpkin seed streusel was not too overpowering in this case, and I quite enjoyed it’s richness.
Finally, to round things off, was a plate of Gingerbread Fudge and Coconut Macarons. I absolutely adore coconut in any and every dessert, so the macarons were my favourite of the two.
My experience at Nita Lake Lodge was definitely one I will not forget. I would highly recommend staying at this resort when visiting Whistler next time and dining at Aura for at least one meal of the trip. It is located in the Creekside area of town and is a quiet, beautiful getaway, perfect for a romantic weekend or a trip to spoil yourself with your girlfriends!
I’ll write again soon on our morning brunch the next day at The Fix Cafe.