Cuisine: West Coast/Seafood/Pacific Northwest
Last visited: December 19, 2010
Location: White Rock, BC
Address: 15053 Marine Drive
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Executive Chef David Chow (Dubrulle Culinary Institute)
- Fine dining
- Focus on West Coast/seafood
- Familiar to locals and tourists
- Globally/fusion inspired menu
- Creative/Fresh/gourmet homemade
- Great view of waterfront
- Small/intimate/cozy dining area
- Beautiful intimate patio
- Seasonal menu
- Weekly specials
- Sustainable seafood
- Lunch Thurs.-Sat. 11:30am
- Dinner M-Sun. 5:30pm
- Sunday brunch 11am
**Recommendations: Lamb is a favourite. I also like their crispy crab wontons, chicken flippers, steamed Salt Spring mussels, and from their specials this week the Steelhead Trout. The brunch is also worth checking out.
I’ve been to Giraffe probably a dozen times now, if not more. It’s my reliable West Coast fine dining restaurant in the Surrey/White Rock suburbs. I’m incredibly biased though because the Executive Chef David Chow is my best friend’s brother. Therefore we’re almost related so I’m not going to rate anything on this post. Feel free to check out their rating on Urbanspoon though because I’m not the only one that thinks it’s great. It has a strong standing and loyal customers for good reason too. (He’s also making a gourmet Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict for Christmas brunch this year and there’s no way I’m risking any chance of losing my invitation to that ;))
This is actually my second post for Giraffe, and my first one was on Sunday brunch there – see here. This post is specifically on the specials available this week only so if you see something you like I recommend making a reservation and trying it before Christmas Eve (this Friday). I know this sounds very promotional, and there was a family discount, but be sure there were no expectations for a post. I simply enjoyed my Steelhead Trout dinner special and people expressed interest in the Bruleed Banana Bread so I’m just sharing my experience. As always my posts are very centered around the food.
My best friend and I had actually just finished a Christmas high tea at Tracycakes Bakery just down the street and we decided to take a 2 hour break eating break before dinner. At this point, you’ll only be shocked if you don’t know us, or at least me by now.
On the table:
- It’s always a regular white bread or sourdough, and then a sun-dried tomato bread.
- It’s not made in house, but it’s from Hillcrest Bakery & Deli just up the street.
- I’ve always liked the sun-dried tomato bread, it’s quite traditional in texture, but I love the tangy flavour and dried herbs.
- With pickled red onion, shaved fennel with citrus soy vinaigrette $13
- It came with 4 medium sized seared scallops and a well dressed salad.
- The citrus soy sauce was actually much tangier and more pickled in flavour than the pickled red onions. It was quite a zesty and light salad, yet still substantial from the scallops and pineapples.
- There was a layer of thinly sliced grilled pineapples at the bottom and I was surprised to find so many. There was at least 5 and I originally expected it to be served like a salsa on top of the scallops, but I actually enjoyed it this way because I got even more pineapple flavour.
- The pineapples actually could have been a dressing alone they had so much flavour. They were incredibly sweet especially since they were grilled, but the pickled citrus dressing helped balance it out and together it created a citrus zing.
- It reminded me of Hawaii and I wanted to throw some Macadamia nuts in it too, however that would be risky because the scallops were already being out shined a bit.
- With peppers, asparagus and a lemon parsley cream $17
- This was quite a simple cream sauce fettuccine with fresh and tender shaved asparagus and sweet red bell peppers. There was a subtle hint of lemon that brought out a freshness rather than a tanginess.
- My favourite part was the juicy dungeness crab which was easily seasoned and coated with the light cream sauce. The cream sauce isn’t that rich or thick, so it’s actually not that hearty especially for a fettuccine.
- I would enjoy this more as a starter size, which I kind of did because I shared it with my friend.
- With a Green goddess dressing and pesto lemon orzo $24
- Rarely am I most impressed with the main, and I totally was in this case. This dish reminded me of a new age and reinvented salmon with lemon dill sauce.
- Despite the sauce being an old fashioned forgotten sauce, it actually worked really well and the dish was presented modern.
- This Steelhead Trout was executed perfectly, skin on, crispy, flavourful, flaky and moist. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned and incredibly juicy.
- The skin was very crispy and almost nutty and the flavour of the trout was fresh and it tastes like a slightly milder salmon if you’ve never had it.
- The sauce was made with 5 different herbs, and what I could taste was the dill first, followed by terragon, parsley and chives. My palette couldn’t get the other herbs though. It was almost like a thin lemon dill ranch dressing meets a pesto cream and it’s quite tangy and herby.
- The orzo was lemony and fresh and well flavoured, although a bit soft… mind you they were super busy that night with Christmas parties.
- The lemon dill Green goddess dressing and the pesto went together very well and I actually enjoyed the fish with or without the sauces.
- I always love the variety of veggies here. They’re local and fresh and always cooked perfectly. From beets, baby carrots, red peppers, brocollini and green beans, there’s always at least 3-4 seasonal varieties on my plate.
All desserts are actually made in house and it’s quite surprising considering how small the restaurant is.
- Cinnamon butter brulee, mocha gelato $9
- This was very creative because of the brulee technique which I’ve never seen done on a loaf of bread. Brilliant. Also, I’m about 95% sold with just the idea of putting ice cream or gelato on any warm baked good.
- It reminded me of banana bread french toast and it was actually similar to the one Jethro’s Fine Grub serves for brunch.
- This one was much more of a dessert though, and instead of a crispy egg batter it had a crispy thin sugar crust and then a nice cinnamon flavour that wasn’t overwhelming.
- The banana bread is dense and it wasn’t too sweet or even very banana-y but the caramel sauce added a nice sweetness and richness and I enjoyed it.
- I’m going to put a shameless plug in here, but this would have been super delicious with my Follow Me Foodie Maple Cinnamon Creme Brulee gelato available until Jan. 8, 2011 at Bella Gelateria… it really would have though! 🙂
Dessert Sampler Platter
- Cheesecake – White Chocolate, almond shortbread crust, raspberry coulis
- Creme Brulee – There’s always a version of this on the menu.
- Chocolate Torte – There’s usually something like this as well.
- Assorted shortbread cookies.
- Assorted gelato & sorbet – these are ordered in, and in the summer they get them next door from Dolce Gelato – the best gelato shop before Bella Gelateria came along.
- With Raspberry coulis and sorbet $9
- These are their iconic chocolate giraffes they give to everyone at the end of the meal.
- It’s delicious dark Belgian chocolate and they’re custom made by Daniel’s Chocolates.