Restaurant: Lure Restaurant & Lounge
Cuisine: West Coast/Seafood/Pacific Northwest/Regional
Last Visited: May 19-21, 2012
Location: Victoria, BC (Victoria/Downtown)
Address: 45 Songhees Road (Inside Delta Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa)
Transit: eastbound Esquimalt NS Johnson St Bridge at Johnson St Bridge (Stop ID: 100061)
Price Range: Breakfast/Brunch: $10-20 ($12-15 mains), Dinner $30-50+ ($25-35 mains)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- West Coast/Regional cuisine
- Seasonal menus
- Sea harbour view
- Gluten free friendly
- Vegetarian friendly
- Family friendly
- Breakfast 7:00 am – 11:00 am
- Lunch 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
- Dinner 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Tasting Menu
**Recommendations: Paradisi Cocktail, Pan Seared Scallops, Fried Rock Crab Cakes, Halibut, Grilled 7 oz AAA New York Steak, Caramelized Lemon Tart, Goat Cheesecake Brûlée, House Made Sorbet. Breakfast/brunch: Eggs Benedict à La LURE, Cranberry Pecan French Toast
It was Follow Me Foodie to Victoria on Victoria Day long weekend and I was invited to check out the newly renovated Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa and their restaurant Lure. I started off with my breakfast and brunch post at Lure yesterday (see here), but that actually wasn’t my first meal there. My first meal there was dinner, and it was off to a solid start.
I must say I was a bit nervous. A hotel restaurant is never too exciting just because of the stereotypes associated with hotel dining. As a “foodie” I tend to like to try other restaurants outside of the hotel and be a bit adventurous. However it’s unfair to stick “hotel restaurants” all in the same category. Although they need to appeal to tourists, it doesn’t mean that the food and chef can’t be creative, innovative and still good.
Lure Restaurant & Lounge is about the whole experience. I know it looks really gloomy (and it was), but the view was still incredible. It’s one of those places I would recommend for special romantic occasions. It’s quaint, semi-casual (no white tablecloth), and more about the view than the scene, or “to be seen”. What I mean is that it’s not a “hot and happening” kind of place, but it is an enjoy a glass of wine and each other’s company while watching the sunset kind of place.
In terms of the menu and food I was surprised and quite pleased. I wasn’t expecting anything too amazing, and I kind of came into it neutral. However I ended up being satisfied with the whole experience. They just launched their new menu so I came at the perfect time. The wine, cocktail and food menus all have some attention and thought and they weren’t pretentious or overpriced for hotel standards.
The food I would say was regional, and although some dishes didn’t always work out, at least they weren’t the standard meat and potatoes or fish with brown butter sauce. There’s nothing wrong with those and they’re good, but at the same time, I don’t really take much interest into things I could easily prepare at home. While I do like a lot of flavour and sauces, I found some of the dishes going a bit over the top with them which was unexpected. That was my only issue and you have to be selective with ordering, but there were more hits than misses. The portions were more generous than expected and the food better than I thought and I liked it enough to still be excited to try more things on it the next day! See my post on their Tasting Menu here.
On the table:
**Paradisi – 6/6 (FMF Must Try!)
- Grey Goose, fresh-pressed grapefruit, cardamom syrup, chai tea bitters $15
- This was from the “fruit forward” section of the cocktail menu.
- This was an amazing cocktail and definitely my favourite drink of the night.
- It was well balanced, nicely sweetened with the syrup and and had a good acidity from the grapefruit.
- I could taste the cardamom at the end and it was aromatic, fruity, refreshing and original.
- It was pricey, but tastes $15 and it is made with Grey Goose, although Belvedere would be nice.
- Sagatiba pura cachaça, lychee liqueur, pineapple, lime, bitters, ginger ale $12
- This was from the “fruit forward” section of the cocktail menu and it’s a new addition.
- This was very fruity and it was on the juice-like side for me and I found it a bit too sweet with the various fruits and ginger ale.
- I could taste the lychee most and I found the drink quite tropical, “girly”, and fun with a mild carbonation.
- Victoria Gin, bénédictine, earl grey syrup, fresh lemon, bitters $12
- This was from the “house mixology” section of the cocktail menu.
- I was expecting something different and I didn’t expect it to be so orange flavoured.
- It found it very dominant with orange flavour and the bénédictine is an herbal liqueur so it just enhanced the bitterness especially with all the other ingredients involved.
- I couldn’t taste the Earl Grey syrup unless I knew and the bénédictine was reminiscent to an Amaro (Italian herbal liqueur), but the bénédictine was more or less the French version of it.
- Whole wheat poppy seed bread, Olive bread, Asiago cheese bread
- Off to a good start! I always care about the complimentary bread and at this level I do expect it. It can say a lot about the restaurant.
- The assorted breads were from a local bakery called Bond Bond’s Bakery in Victoria.
- It was served chilled, but the quality was high and they were all good enough that I wanted to visit the actual bakery after.
- The whole wheat poppy seed bread had some sunflower seeds as well and I liked the nutty texture of it. It was also quite moist.
- The olive bread was my favourite and it was moist, stretchy, chewy, but not tiresome to chew and had good olive flavour throughout with little bits of olive here and there.
- The Asiago cheese bread was good, but I couldn’t tell it was cheese bread until I got to the crust where the salty nutty grated Asiago cheese was baked onto.
- I wasn’t aware they had gluten free bread until I saw it on the menu.
- I’m not a gluten-free person, but I ordered it because I know I have readers who are celiac.
- I’m not a fan of treating gluten-free as a trend, but I am open to trying gluten free products.
- Lure offers a full gluten free menu so they really cater to dietary needs.
- The gluten free bread was from local Bond Bond’s Bakery again and it came toasted which was likely due to it being kept in the freezer since it’s not requested as often. This doesn’t bother me though and I think it would be better toasted anyways.
- The bread had a gritty or grainy texture from perhaps some cornmeal, but it wasn’t sweet. I find gluten free stuff tends to have this texture.
- There were some herbs in it and the flavour was good and the bread was moist and I actually enjoyed it, although I prefer my ‘contains gluten’ bread basket.
- Vanilla-cauliflower puree, warm bacon vinaigrette $13
- This was my favourite appetizer and I would definitely order it again.
- Bacon and scallops are already a match made in heaven, but the puree really made it unique and took it to new heights. Loved it!
- They were beautifully tender and sweet scallops, but the only thing was that they were only crusted on one side.
- Sometimes it’s a 70% sear and then a quick sear on the other side, but the other side seemed barely seared at all.
- I prefer a more obvious double sear and crust on both sides, but it’s harder to do this with smaller scallops.
- The vanilla cauliflower puree I could have eaten a bowl of.
- It was creamy, but not as heavy as potatoes, sweet and perfectly scented with vanilla extract that I could taste, but in a good way.
- The sauce was sweet from the caramelized cauliflower and it tasted a bit like lemony aioli, but not nearly as thick or heavy. It was perfect with the scallops.
- The warm bacon vinaigrette had a nice savoury and tangy balance and it had that umami taste. It was a great salty and acidic complement to the puree.
- Everything together was salty, tangy and sweet which is my favourite combination and the sauce was almost better than the scallops and the scallops were already very good.
- I was literally using my bread to wipe down the sauce left on the plate.
- It reminded me of one of the best scallop dishes I’ve ever had – see Caramelized Diver Scallops from Redd in Yountville.
- Ancho chili vinaigrette, sweet corn salsa, fennel and jicama slaw $14
- The crab cakes were excellent, but there was just so many other things going on and I didn’t even think they needed the ancho chili vinaigrette which overpowered them.
- The sweet corn salsa was appreciated, but the corn wasn’t exactly sweet or in season yet so the flavour wasn’t there. They seemed marinated in lime juice.
- The ancho chili vinaigrette was very bold and strong and almost a bit bitter as well as a bit spicy and it was more appropriate for chicken of chicken tacos for me.
- The crab cakes had a thick crunchy crust, but the inside was moist, well seasoned and almost all crab with no fillers and I saw the value and quality.
- I liked the salsa and the slaw, but I think one or the other would have been better.
- If it was the corn salsa only I would have liked it more like a salsa with tomatoes, red pepper and cilantro and if it was the jicama slaw I would have liked a stronger dressing because it was quite bland.
- I just wasn’t sure of it was Mexican or West Coast or Asian and it was a bit confusing, but the crab cakes alone were excellent.
- Baby frisee, soy chili marinade, pickled ginger, sprouted wheat crostinis $15
- I found the chili oil to be too spicy that it overwhelmed the lovely ahi tuna and it made it a bit difficult to taste all the other dishes after. I like spicy too.
- It was very literal and according to description and I think the soy sauce was Chinese soy sauce instead of the sashimi Japanese soy sauce so I found the saltiness too sharp.
- I would have preferred a ponzu sauce and sesame oil and I think I’m just too spoiled by Vancouver Japanese food that it was hard for me to appreciate this.
- Spice-breaded and fried, cilantro-chili aioli $10
- Normally I wouldn’t really care to order this unless I was at a Greek restaurant or some place that specializes in it, but it’s one of the house favourites here so I decided to try it.
- They were really tiny rings of crunchy kalamari that was heavily battered and well seasoned, but they were a bit over cooked.
- The calamari was not greasy, but on the chewy side and a bit dry since they were so small.
- The seasoning tasted like a Cajun seasoning and it was salty, slightly spicy and reminded me of the Red Robbin’s multi purpose seasoning, but in a good way. I just wish the kalamari was a different variety and that it was bigger.
- It was served with a spicy chipotle mayo which I didn’t find necessary since the seasoning on the kalamari was already spicy.
- I would have loved it with a yogurt dip though just to cut the spice although the spice was flavourful and not hot.
- Grapefruit and pineapple sorbet to with San Pellegrino and basil
- I loved this! It was almost like dessert, but not as sweet and it was so refreshing and aromatic with the perfect ratio of each fruit.
- It was sweet and a bit bitter and not that tart and it was so fresh with ingredients and I could taste everything listed. I wanted 10 of them.
- Tomato basmati rice, kalamata olive broth, soft poached quail egg, crispy horseradish meringue $29
- This was probably my least favourite of the night and it’s new to the menu. I don’t think ahi tuna is a strength here.
- I loved the menu description, but the result was unexpected and I would have preferred an ahi tuna steak rather than slices.
- I found the flavours a bit mismatched and I wasn’t sure what direction it was going. It was a bit all over the map.
- I’m a huge fan of flavour, but even for me there was a lot going on and I felt as though the sauces were too aggressive.
- It was a bit salty for such a lovely piece of ahi tuna to start with and everything else just overwhelmed the fish.
- The olive broth was more like an olive puree and it almost tasted like pure kalamata olive puree, which is very strong and intense.
- I love olives, but found this just overwhelming with the olive and it seemed more appropriate as a spread in a Mediterranean sandwich or pita.
- The basmati rice came across as a Western style white rice and it was very bitty with broken grains and some were harder than others.
- The tomato sauce just made it a bit mushy and wet and I don’t think it helped the rice.
- I think a rice pilaf would be better since there was already an olive broth and egg too.
- I prefer the tuna just seared and this one was a bit over seared for me.
- The ahí tuna was wrapped with prosciutto which I don’t think was really necessary because there was so much salt going on.
- I love prosciutto, but less is more in this case and the additional sprinkle of fleur de sel really wasn’t needed.
- I would have preferred a sesame seed crust or something lighter than prosciutto.
- The soft poached quail egg I always love, but it was too small for the dish that I would have preferred a sous vide regular sized egg and no kalamata puree, or just a much lighter olive broth made with high quality olive oil instead.
- The crispy horseradish meringue added crunchy texture initially, but I couldn’t taste any horseradish and it tasted like cheesy croutons.
- The after taste was reminiscent of that powdery cheddar seasoning and the texture ended in a powdery texture too.
- Orange scented parsnip puree, confit cippolini onions, watercress & bacon ravioli, citrus-ginger marmalade $29
- This is one of the new menu items and it seems to be the house favourite.
- Personally I enjoyed it because sablefish is almost 95% of the time always good. It’s near impossible to overcook.
- It’s one of my favourite fish, but I’m not sure if the dish went beyond the sablefish.
- Sablefish is the most forgiving fish because it’s so oily and buttery. Yes this one was good and well seasoned, but it was as good as sablefish almost always is.
- A big shout out to the crispy skin on the fish though, that was perfect.
- The parsnip puree was very dominant with parsnip flavour, but I couldn’t taste the orange and it was slightly bland.
- The confit cippolini onions I also found quite bland and neither sweet nor pickled.
- The watercress & bacon ravioli was bitty as a filling and I expected a binder like a creamy cheese or even the parsnip puree to bind the ingredients together.
- The bacon in the ravioli was dominant and the skin was actually al dente, but a bit thick and chewy.
- I wasn’t keen on the citrus-ginger marmalade because the orange zest was in fairly large chucks rather than small pieces so I found myself eating chunks of it which wasn’t as enjoyable or delicate.
- The orange skin flavour just ended up being aggressive and slightly bitter.
- It was an interesting combination of ingredients again and it was more enjoyable separate than perhaps together.
- Balsamic braised shallots, bacon wrapped potato cake, bourbon caramelized onions, grilled scallion relish, maple balsamic jus $33 Add scallops or sauteed prawns $7
- It looked like an elephant and I can’t say I was keen on the presentation, but I care more about flavour.
- The bacon wrapped potato cakes kind of tasted like they were made from the breakfast potatoes served in the morning. I don’t mind, but it kind of tasted almost too obvious.
- It was a nice piece of bacon wrapped around the potato cakes, but the bacon wasn’t crispy.
- The cakes were well seasoned, buttery and not completely smooth with little bits of potatoes throughout. There was a bit of chili flake to give it some heat.
- The cakes were good for a homestyle dinner, but I would have preferred a pommes puree or a potato fondant or something a bit more refined.
- I rarely order steaks unless I’m at a steakhouse and most of the time I find it based on quality and sourcing than the talent of a chef.
- I ordered it because it was recommended and it happen to be my favourite entree of the night.
- Again, there was a lot going on and there were almost 3 different sauces so it was a bit too much.
- The steak was beautifully medium rare, tender, moist, well seasoned and topped with a tangy scallion relish which was different and unexpected.
- There was no dry rub, which is good since it had the relish. On the other hand such a high quality steak really doesn’t need much else.
- The relish was tangy and already giving the steak sauce, so the maple balsamic jus was almost redundant and I think one of the other would have been fine.
- The bourbon caramelized onions was quite strong with bourbon since it wasn’t that cooked out and the onion was still on the crunchy side.
- The steak was still good, but I wouldn’t particularly care to order it again although I enjoyed it very much.
**Caramelized Lemon Tart – 4/6 (Very good)
- Italian meringue, blueberry-thyme compote $9
- It tasted exactly how it sounded, but everything was executed really well and all the flavours worked in harmony.
- The lemon tart was perhaps a notch on the sweet side for me and it was more sweet than tart, but there was still a nice zing to it.
- The texture of the lemon curd was fantastic though. It was smooth and creamy, not too thick and slightly on the thin side, but delightful.
- The crust was thin and even and on the soft side, but it had good flavour and it wasn’t bland.
- The blueberry-thyme compote was one of my favourites and it was very well infused with earthy lemony aromatic thyme, but it wasn’t overpowering and in your face with thyme either.
- The Italian meringue was actually not as sweet as the tart and it was creamy, thick and perfect in texture.
- Usually meringues are too sweet and almost like marshmallows, but these were neutralizing the sweetness and tartness of the lemon curd.
- The reindeer atler cookie crisp garnishes were one of my favourite parts and they were nutty, caramelized and crispy giving the tart good texture.
- Score Bar, fresh fruit $9
- I wouldn’t really call this a “fondue” as much as I would have called it fresh fruit and dip.
- The dip was fantastic and the highlight of this dessert and it went well with the chocolate cake.
- The dip was also chilled and it was reminiscent of the fresh fruit and vanilla marshmallow dip platters.
- I couldn’t taste the mascarpone and I think it just made for fluffy creamy texture, but it wasn’t too sweet and had vanilla bean seeds in it which I loved.
- The “Score Bar” also wasn’t really a “Skor Bar” and it was more like a shortbread cookie topped with some toffee pieces and then dipped in chocolate.
- The Score Bar was more cookie like than chocolate bar like and the cookie wasn’t buttery enough to be a shortbread so I wasn’t too keen on it as a whole.
- Honeycomb toffee, white chocolate powder, espresso cream and paper, fresh strawberry gel $9
- It tasted like a Two-Bite Brownie, but it wasn’t as rich, sweet, or dense and it tasted a bit healthier.
- The cake was dry from the cocoa powder texture with a hint of espresso I think, however it was also moist and thick and it coated the roof of your mouth.
- It was a very chocolatey dessert and I loved the dollops of espresso cream which tasted like creamy malt or sweet hazelnut lattes condensed in gel form.
- The espresso paper was perhaps a bit of a novelty and they tasted like wafers, but I would prefer an actually wafer since this one wasn’t as good as a wafer.
- The strawberry wasn’t seasonal so I would prefer something else, but the honeycomb toffee was crunchy and made well.
- The white chocolate powder was another novelty, but I liked it although not sure if it really did anything.
- Lavender shortbread crust, pear trio, honeyed pine nut buds $9
- This was my favourite dessert of the night! I loved it and I’m not even huge on cheesecake.
- If I order cheesecake I order tiramisu and I like the Japanese kind too.
- I like lighter cheesecakes rather than dense heavy New York style cheesecakes, but I love cream cheese. I know, it’s a bit odd.
- The cheesecake was super light, airy and fluffy and not too sweet and it had a soft and moist traditional graham cracker cheesecake crust.
- The only thing is that I couldn’t taste the lavender at all and I was looking forward to it. I love lavender and that’s what made this extra unique.
- I could only taste the lavender when I had the crust alone and looked for it, even then it was mild.
- I loved the crispy bruleed top which was great for texture since the cheesecake was so fluffy and almost like a soufflé meets a Japanese cheesecake.
- The cheese wasn’t salty, but it also wasn’t that sweet so it was so easy to eat.
- The goat cheese wasn’t gamey or strong either and it was scented with vanilla bean seeds which was a great touch for aromatics.
- I could have used more pear aspect, but I did love that it was pear.
- I wasn’t keen on the pear sheet which tasted like chewy sticky fruit roll up and I think it was meant to be crisp, but it just stuck to my teeth.
- The pine nut clusters were chewy soft pine nuts coated in regular honey and they were a bit sticky and syrupy like fresh granola bars. I would have preferred them toasted and a bit crunchy.
- They were very generous with the pine nut clusters and pine nuts are expensive so I was surprised and impressed.
- It had minor issues that were easily overlooked and I found it a perfect combination of fruit, cheese and nut platter in dessert form. I would come here just for this dessert.
- Chef’s creation, complementing flavours $9
- The sorbet of the day was crab-apple (cranberry apple) sorbet. It sounded more like a fall fruit combination, but being that sorbet is a frozen dessert it didn’t bother me.
- I decided to order this because of chef’s palate cleanser being so amazing.
- I liked the palate cleaner more especially with the liquid, but this was still good.
- It was fresh, creamy smooth in texture, tart and fruity, and served with a mango coulis which I really enjoyed.
- The mango was almost like mango nectar and I doubt it was made in house, but it also wasn’t that sweet so it could have been.
Looks great, minus the tuna/prosciutto, what a weird combo.
Next time I am on the island to visit granny I’m there!
you’re really making me want to go visit victoria now!!! i didn’t realize that victoria had such a vibrant food scene and reading your posts is definitely making me realize that it isn’t a destination for just retirees and students of uvic 🙂
quick grammar error: “I know I have readers who are celiac.” should be read as “I know I have readers who have celiac disease” 🙂 i’m really glad that this is offered here.. such a small detail but then again, a really great one because more and more now, people are admitting that they have a gluten allergy and having this option available definitely makes things easier.. especially if there are sandwiches and breakfast toast on the menu!
all the seafood items (minus the tartare) look amazing… wow, those scallops are HUGE! 🙂
i really like the concept of the goat cheese cake brulee.. i also don’t really like cheesecake as a whole because it’s so dense so i’m glad this one was lighter 🙂
I want to go to Victoria just follow you to eat~