About a month ago, my family went to try out Oru at the Fairmont Pacific Rim for the first time.
Knowing that it was an Asian fusion restaurant, and the cuisine spanned so many countries, I came in a bit hesitant that any particular type would be all that good. But then again, I’ve always been fairly decent at many different things and not a master of any one and it’s usually worked – so I kept an open mind!
When we walked in, the dining room was quite empty – it’s very large to begin with, and we were there on a Tuesday evening. I found the atmosphere to be a bit barren and stark. It definitely gave me the vibe of sitting in a fancy hotel restaurant. We were seated in the middle of the room, and settled in for a nice evening of dining and chatting.
I wasn’t in the mood for wine that evening (although everyone else was – strange), so I went for some chamomile tea instead since I didn’t want any caffeine so late in the day. There wasn’t anything in particular to highlight about this, except for the fact that the server forgot about it and I had to ask again after the rest of the drinks came. He did profusely apologize though and then brought it fairly shortly afterward.
Everyone except for my mom decided to go with the tasting menu (a minimum of two people need to order this per table), so she just ordered one main and then shared a bit of everything else that came along.
The starter to the meal ended up being my favourite part – the Heart of Palm and Grapefruit Salad, with avocado, cilantro, cashews, and a coconut vinaigrette. It was very light, and I absolutely love pea shoots, which made up most of the greens in this dish. The sweet flavours mixed well with the citrus and the slightly fragrant dressing gave it the perfect touch. So far, so good.
However, I was a little disappointed once the Albacore Tuna Spring Rolls arrived. They came with hajikami ginger, shiso, and yuzu teriyaki. I found the tuna itself to be a bit dry and overcooked, and the overall effect was sort of bland, even after being dipped in the sauce.
A small serving of Abalone Mushroom and Yunnan Ham soup was next, with a broth of sake, ginger, and scallions. I love mushrooms of any kind, and I did quite enjoy this subtle tongue pleaser.
At this point we got to the heartier portions of the meal. The Tandoor Lamb Chop and Prawn, with mint chutney and baby lettuce was fairly well put together. The prawns were grilled and very plump, and the mint chutney provided a tender flavour to the meat. Slightly spicy, and not overcooked, this wasn’t bad.
The most carb heavy part of the meal was the Nasi Goreng, a traditional Indonesian dish that I saw on basically every single menu when I was traveling through Bali earlier this year. I was interested to see how it would compare (and was honestly a bit sick of eating it so much not that long before). It is a rice dish, with a fried egg over top, tamarind, lettuce, zucchini, cucumber, and chili. I did really quite like this version of the dish – I had gotten quite used to eating it at various roadside places and having hit and miss results. This version was quite solid, but it was $22 standalone, versus the $3 for the real thing (hard to compare, though).
Finally, we had the Seared Halibut, served with shimiji mushrooms, soy beans, potatoes, bonito, all in a sake-dashi broth. I found the fish to be dry and over done, and overall, the dish was quite sub-par to me. There seemed to be agreement around the table about this, and I was a bit disappointed to have my meal end in that way.
As for my mom, her Glazed Duck Breast, with black bean, shitake mushrooms, garlic chives, and white radish was quite tasty. The cut wasn’t overly fatty, and the skin was nice and crispy. Most of us enjoyed this quite a bit, and would’ve traded it in for the halibut, any day.
Overall, I found Oru to be pretty much as I expected – the food was fairly inconsistent, with some dishes much better or worse than others, and nothing really stood out so much that I would have to go back again. For such a variety of Asian food types, I would likely have to stick with going to more specific restaurants to get what I wanted. But even keeping that in mind, and knowing that isn’t what this restaurant is there for, I still don’t think it would be worthwhile for me again.