Since Lent started over a month ago, I've been challenging myself to find meals that do not include any of the following: anything that walks on land with four legs (so poultry & seafood are fair game), pasta (including pho and ramen), rice (which excludes sushi) as well as fast food (so no more Sausage McMuffins).
This seemed daunting at first, but I've found it to be surprisingly easy! Here is one of my more memorable meals at The Oakwood. Stay tuned for more in the next few weeks.
Before taking a look at the menu, the cocktail list caught my eye (there's a reason I didn't give up alcohol for Lent!). I love all things tart, such as Sour Keys, Lemon Meringue or Key Lime Pie. So when I spotted the Passion Gone Sour cocktail, I had high hopes that it would bring on a serious pucker, in liquid form. It didn't disappoint! The cocktail is dark rum based, sweetened with mezcal, passionfruit & orange syrup, add a strong sour note from lemons, and made velvety with egg whites. Delicious and addictive!
We started with the wildly popular Warm Kale Salad, and I can see why. In addition to kale, there are also cauliflower and brussel sprouts, and some buttermilk fried onions for crunch. All the veg is then topped with a light lemon parmesan dressing. The various textures and slightly tangy flavours almost make you forget that you're eating a superfood.
Having been a fan of petit verdot wine since my first exposure to the Pirramimma Mclaren Vale, I was eager to try this offering from Siren's Call (a nod to Green mythology), a wine from the Okanagan. I thoroughly enjoyed this and paired well with our next few dishes.
Some people aren't fans of salmon skin, but I am, and the best part of any Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon is the skin, which was well-seasoned and slightly crispy. The veg that accompanied the salmon included peewee potatoes, daikon, oven dried tomatoes and melt-in-your-mouth confit shallots. The sauce is quite reminiscent of a Chinese ginger and green onion sauce but was actually a charred scallion & ginger concoction.
Since I'm allowed to have poultry, we decided to share the Seared Duck Breast. It was a perfect medium and came on top of some smoked lentils and brocollini. Commonly paired with a fruit-based sauce, such as berries, orange or even plum, this duck was served with a cherry gastrique. A black garlic puree (made from garlic that has been heated for days or weeks) dots each slice of the breast and a snowfall of brown butter powder completes the dish. This was the highlight of the dinner for me.
Now I'm not one for desserts but I am during Lent. I needed something to round out the meal. The first plate was a Cardamom Chocolate Ganache, with a bit of tartness from the orange gel. The sesame praline crisp was tasty, jam packed with sesame flavours, and the earl grey ice cream balanced out the rich ganache nicely.
Now, honestly, I didn't plan on having a second dessert, but who am I to complain? This next one is the Coconut Custard, its mild sweetness is cut by the blueberry ice cream. A bite of the pink peppercorn meringue crisps imparts a slightly spicy crunch, the macerated strawberries and blueberries give the dish some freshness too.
Although I had been to Oakwood years ago as part of Dine Out, I'm sure glad I came back to give this place a try. And once Easter has come and gone, I plan to come back and sample their 48 hour slow cooked beef short rib and burger 2.0.
The plates are meant to be shared so bring a group and you can sample as many dishes as you like.