Local food at Sooke Harbour House



So just when my words about not knowing anyone who dines at Sooke Harbour House fall from my fingers, I get invited to dinner there. It is very good food, and they certainly go to great lengths to make it look very pretty, as you can see from photos – capturing only three of the four courses we were offered. The salad I thought was a dish that would go with any outfit. I especially liked the herbal wall that surrounded the moat of sauce (TOO many ingredients to name here) beneath the island of grilled halibut. Perfectly cooked fish: hard to beat. I did not check to see if the head dress – perching on my lavender ice cream which surmounts a couple of rosemary dumplings adrift in a wild berry sea – was edible. But most things were so I wouldn’t have been surprised.

To give you a sense of the style of the menu descriptions, had we been there on Thursday we could have had as a starter a warm smoked sablefish served with asparagus, sundried tomato, chervil, bulgur and caramelized onion bundle, sauteed gooseneck barnacles, daikon miso foam and Grand fir oil. At least there is a stunning ocean view to rest your eyes upon while you try to work out what all that would taste/look like exactly. Last night a couple of eagles drifted by, a blue heron, and one harbour seal on an evening fishing trip.

After dinner we checked out the art which is hung on every public wall – an informal gallery really – and then the garden which surrounds the building; lots of borage and calendula which are popular ingredients in many of the dishes. I had read that you won’t get a lemon with your fish because it’s not a local product, but I was glad to see they had apparently stretched the line for a few staples such as flour and sugar.

There was an interesting experiment – the 100 Mile Diet – done recently by a pair of Vancouverians who ate only local produce (from within 100 miles of their home) for a year, and they mentioned in a radio interview that wheat was the most difficult thing to give up, although they eventually did find a wheat farmer and were able to have bread and pasta again. Their website gives Canadian and American readers a tool to find the 100 mile radius round their homes if they want to try it too.

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One Response to Local food at Sooke Harbour House

  1. Mm.

    Borage likes our northern garden. We planted it one year and it has been self seeding ever since. It’s lovely and more than welcome.