Restaurant: Miksa Restaurant
Cuisine: Pacific Northwest/West Coast/Fusion/Tapas
Last visited: August 2, 2011
Location: Bowen Island, BC
Address: 449 Bowen Island Trunk Rd
Bowen Island, BC
Price Range: $20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Pacific Northwest Cuisine
- Hungarian/Asian chef & owner
- Some Asian fusion
- Tapas/Small plates
- Daily specials
- Seasonal menus
- Mostly local ingredients
- Moderately priced
- Walkable from ferry
- Local favourite
- Patio seating
- Lunch menu Mon-Sun 12pm-4:30pm
- Dinner menu Mon-Sun 4:30pm-9pm
**Recommendations: Indian Candy Potstickers, Fried Goat Cheese Balls, Pan Seared Seafood Cakes, Organic Steak & Cheese, Fried Chicken with Chipotle Honey
Finding dinner on Bowen Island was an adventure in itself, even though there were only a very limited amount of restaurants to pick from. It was about 5pm on a Tuesday and everything was either closed or closing. I had some pre-selected places on my dining itinerary, but it was an epic fail getting to them. There are only about ten restaurants on the entire island and 1/3 are small lunch time cafes and another 1/3 are pubs. I was left with about 3 choices.
I ended up choosing Miksa Restaurant. It’s the next “high end” restaurant after fine dining Blue Eyed Mary Restaurant, which is only open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday. I didn’t choose it for that reason at all, but it’s apparently a local favourite and I was given a couple recommendations to try it out. It’s supposed to be the “cool place to be”, and in the context of Bowen Island, it seemed like a place for their “downtown experience”.
The menu items and prices said casual fine dining, but the ambiance didn’t. It’s an old cottage and the inside looked like a diner especially with the booths. The bar looked even fancier, but the patio is probably the best place to sit.
Not really being an outdoor kind of girl, I chose to sit inside… and I still got bitten by mosquitoes! It must have been all that chocolate I ate back at West Coast Chocolatier (the chocolate suite I was staying at – see here). I must say I was quite a treat for those mosquitoes because I was pretty stuffed from dinner by the end of the night too.
Being that I’ve only tried a couple restaurants on Bowen Island, I will predict that Miksa is good for what’s available. The food was hit and miss, but it was creative and there was effort. Half the dishes presented itself better than executed, and I felt the menu was a mixed bag.
It had some good old comfort food and then some fine dining style dishes. There was a lot of Euro-Asian fusion going on and that was due to the chef and owner’s background of being half Asian and half Hungarian. The menu was a bit random, but as long as it tasted good I could overlook it. Personally I’d stick to the signature items and anything deep fried and more towards being comfort food.
I did find it quite pricey, but after visiting their supermarket I can understand. It’s expensive! Even more expensive than Whole Foods for the same stuff. Anyways, I guess it was unfair of me to assume that Bowen Island would provide affordable “fine dining” experiences.
I was on my own and of course I wanted to sample the most I could. Therefore I ended up getting a tasting course of small plates (available on request and out of my own pocket), and then also a few surprise dishes on behalf of the restaurant.
On the table:
- Smoked Salmon, Gravlax Cured Salmon, and Indian Candy Pot Stickers $16-18 (?)
- It was salmon executed in three ways.
- Smoked Salmon – 3/6
- Citrus brown sugar rubbed smoked salmon
- This was good, but I felt like it was lacking a spread or an aioli for the crostini and salmon.
- The salmon was a bit plain and I couldn’t taste the citrus brown sugar rub, but it was quite smoky and it was good smoked salmon. It just didn’t match the description.
- Gravlax Cured Salmon – 2/6
- With pickled gherkins and cucumber salad
- This didn’t do anything for me and I thought the cured salmon lacked a bit of flavour.
- The texture was almost the same as the smoked salmon so I just wanted more of a difference with the two since it was a “Salmon Trio”.
- It wasn’t too salty, but it didn’t seem cured very long either. It had a little bit of a parsley and dill flavour at times.
- The cucumber salad had some salty tangy capers in it and together with the pickled gherkins it was very sour and it overpowered the salmon. I had to eat them separately.
- **Indian Candy Potstickers – 5.5/6
- Served with sweet sweet soy & ginger aioli
- These were delicious! I wasn’t expecting to like them at all and I thought it would be butchered Chinese food.
- It was crispy on the outside and stuffed with sweet, moist, and juicy ground candied salmon that was a bit smoky as well.
- The creamy aioli gave it a richness and I probably could have used a simple ponzu sesame vinaigrette instead, but it was still good as is.
- The filling was already quite rich in flavour and sweetness, so a lighter sauce could do.
- They also have Hon’s Potstickers (vegetable or chicken) with chili oil and sweet soy for $7 on the regular menu.
- Advertising “Hon’s” is never really a good thing, but they are famous for their potstickers which I do like!
- Caramelized onions, rosemary honey, warm baguette $15
- The regular size is served with 3 cheese balls. I still find it pricey though.
- This is the house favourite and most popular item.
- It’s a simple concept and recipe, and it sounded too typical, but it was one of the best of the night.
- How can you go wrong with deep fried cheese? I haven’t had it anywhere bad yet.
- This pretty much melted in your mouth and was the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
- It was a very lightly battered goat cheese ball and I think it was mixed with ricotta and cream cheese.
- It was very light and very fluffy and the goat’s cheese wasn’t overpowering, but actually quite mild and more salty.
- I could have used more rosemary, which was faint and infused into the honey and mixed in with the onions.
- The stringy caramelized onions melted in my mouth like jam or onions in a French Onion Soup.
- Everything was just so creamy and required so little chew.
- I almost wanted some walnuts or something crunchy to give it more texture. A crostini instead of warm baguette would have worked too.
- It was incredibly rich and indulgent so I wouldn’t want more than one ” cheese ball” at one seating.
- With a spicy yogurt dip $8
- They’re good, but I wouldn’t particularly order them again.
- I actually like hearts of palm fresh just because they don’t come around very often.
- These hearts of palm fries pretty much taste like deep fried artichoke hearts, in flavour and texture.
- They were panko crusted and deep fried until crispy yet tender and not mushy in the centre.
- The chipotle mayo was spicier than expected and it was also tangy so it just made for a tangy appetizer all together.
- I probably would have preferred a different dip, although it was still good.
- Crab, shrimp, Indian candy, cabbage slaw, lemon herb oil $16 (Normally it would be two hockey puck sized crab cakes)
- After having the Indian Candy Potstickers I was looking forward to anything with Indian Candy in it.
- Apparently these are also one of the house favourites.
- The seafood cake was good, but I wasn’t keen on the salad which seemed like it was made from the inside of a Napa Cabbage.
- The salad was a bit wet and heavy on the mayo and not as tangy as I would have hoped, and with the added oil it just seemed a bit heavy.
- I preferred eating the salad separate from the seafood cakes because I found the dressing on the salad a bit rich for the seafood cake.
- These cakes were pretty good and surprisingly stuffed with what seemed like predominately flaky crab.
- There was some coarsely chopped frozen baby shrimp and some Indian candy, but it seemed like mostly crab, which is a bonus.
- The Indian candy gave it a slight sweetness, and the filling was moist, tender and flaky with a crispy lightly breaded exterior.
- With cured pork cheek $16 (?)
- The presentation was impressive, but serving it on a heavy slab of Himalayan Pink sea salt was not the greatest idea.
- The slab was melting and it just made everything served on top of it extra salty.
- The salt was just seeping its way into the food and I had to rush eating it to stop it from absorbing so quickly.
- I definitely wouldn’t call this a “ceviche”, and it almost seemed poached.
- It was pretty much cooked all the way through with the marinade of limes and lemons and that’s essentially the only flavour I tasted.
- It needed a spice or just more flavour because it was a bit one dimensional.
- Something crispy like garlic chips or even some chopped avocado would have been great, and as ceviche I thought it was going to be chopped up too.
- Even the daikon got really really salty and I couldn’t eat any of it.
- The cured pork cheek I was excited about, but being that it was already salty bacon, it was made even saltier by the salt plate.
- It was crispy and good, but just too salty, and the asparagus was too
- At the end the table was wet from the melting slab of sea salt and I was really thirsty.
- Seared scallops with heirloom & orange baked beans, shaved Asiago and baguette $18 (?)
- I think the baked beans were supposed to be a gourmet version of maple baked beans and pork, or a play on succotash. I’m going with the prior.
- The components were really random and it almost felt like something you’d make at home with whatever you had on hand rather than something that was thought out.
- I could really taste the difference of using Heirloom tomatoes over regular tomatoes in the beans. It was more sweet than tangy and it brought less acidity to the beans.
- The beans were excellent and made from scratch. They had a firm texture and weren’t mushy and the salty bits of bacon gave it an extra salty and slightly smoky bite.
- The beans were quite creamy, but not too rich and I really liked them, and they made for a very hearty side to seared scallops.
- It really bothers me when scallops aren’t seared on both sides. It’s a pet peeve of mine.
- This one was quickly seared on the other side, but not enough to make an impact.
- The seared side also wasn’t crispy, but at least the scallops were almost rare so they maintained their buttery creamy texture and sweetness which I loved.
- The baguette was good to sop up the leftover bean sauce, but otherwise they were very random and I could have used without.
- 6 oz Blue Goose Cattle Co. top sirloin steak with gorgonzola cheese & red wine honey reduction $18
- This is a local favourite and will always be on the menu.
- It’s a classic combination of ingredients that easily “fancy” up a steak.
- Again there was honey in this, but I don’t think it needed it and the natural juices released from the dried figs during the sauteing process would have made it sweet enough. It was a bit too sweet and overly syrupy.
- The sauce was still okay though and I could taste the beef renderings in it and the wine was cooked out, but its flavours didn’t work into the sauce.
- The steak was medium and I would prefer it medium-rare. It was a bit chewy and it had a slight crust of I think rosemary and thyme.
- The generous slab of gorgonzola was creamy, rich, salty and buttery and with the sweet juicy figs, it was a perfect balance of flavours and textures.
- Miksa Salad – 3/6
- Mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green onions, toasted almonds, goat’s cheese, served with basil oil & a balsamic reduction.
- The red wine honey reduction got mixed into the salad and the salad was wet.
- It already had enough balsamic glaze, so overall it was a very soggy salad and almost seemed like a cold sautee of vegetables.
- The carrots I wish were shredded because they were crunchy raw carrots instead of sweeter baby carrots or bunch carrots.
- I loved the crunch of almonds, but overall the dressing came across as teriyaki sauce.
- I actually expected more Asian influence with maybe edamame, bean sprouts or a sesame ginger dressing.
- $10-12 (?)
- This was delicious! Yes, fried chicken is usually a shoe in, but in this case he nailed it!
- It definitely had some Asian influence and it wasn’t only in his choice of ingredients and sauce. It was in the execution.
- The fried chicken was executed like deep fried honey garlic spare ribs so it had the extra crunch and crispiness that was undeniably amazing!
- The skin slipped off the meat, but it was quite thin and certainly edible like chips.
- The meat could have fooled me. It was so tender and juicy and tasted like Chinese “crispy chicken”. It was likely pre-treated in a brine first to keep it so moist.
- The sauce was almost like a Thai sweet chili sauce, but way sweeter and way spicier.
- I could taste the honey at first and 1 second later the spice kicked in and also lingered and intensified.
- It was actually a very spicy sauce and although I can handle my heat, I wouldn’t have minded a notch less spicy.
- It had my nose running and the spice lingered even after dessert. It was all over my lips and tongue.
- $4-5 (?)
- It was home made sorbet with hand picked berries off the island. This is the kind of thing I come to Bowen Island for… and chocolate.
- Upon serving it they top it with a shot of liqueur. I’m not sure what it was, but I couldn’t taste it and if anything I would have guessed a very standard vodka.
- It was very light, cooling, refreshing and tart with just enough sweetness to make it a last course.
- It was very icy and almost seemed like a slushy or palate cleanser.
- It was mainly made from raspberries and perhaps some strawberries.
- It would have been nice to have the mint chopped up and mixed into the sorbet rather than used just as a garnish too.