Post image for Sun Peaks, BC – Black Garlic Bistro

Restaurant: Black Garlic Bistro
Cuisine: Asian/Fusion/Pacific Northwest/Healthy
Last visited: September 1, 2012
Location: Okanagan, BC (Sun Peaks)
Address: 3185 Creekside Way
Transit: n/a
Price Range: $10-20+ (Mains $15-25)

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 2.5 (based on what I tried)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 2.5
Overall: 2.5
Additional comments:

  • Locally owned
  • Asian fusion/Indian fusion
  • Made from scratch
  • Healthy options
  • Casual
  • Event nights
  • Meat/seafood
  • Vegan options
  • Vegetarian options
  • Gluten free options
  • BC wines/cocktails
  • Monday 4pm to close
  • Tuesday- Wednesday Open for Pre-bookings Only
  • Thursday- Friday 4pm to close
  • Saturday- Sunday 11am to close

**Recommendations: Braised Beef Infused Caesar There are about 40 restaurants and dining options in Sun Peaks including small cafes and eateries. It’s slim pickings, but it’s a small village and I called it “baby Whistler“. It was Follow Me Foodie to Sun Peaks and Kamloops and I was introduced to Black Garlic Bistro by Tourism Sun Peaks Resort and it was the restaurant in the Heffley Boutique Inn. It’s one of Sun Peaks’ newest restaurants specializing in Asian fusion cuisine with an Indian twist.

Yikes. I wasn’t sure how I felt about “Asian fusion”. I thought that trend was long past. I’m not even keen on it in Vancouver, BC (my hometown) and more often than not I find it an overpriced bastardization of Asian cuisine. Fair enough that I’ve been to some really great Asian fusion restaurants, but in a small town village catered to generally Western tourists I was sceptical on the concept. However there are less than three Asian eateries in Sun Peaks so at least this offered something different with allergy friendly and healthy options.

It’s more of a dinner time restaurant, but I came for lunch and the atmosphere was casual and relaxed. Besides the somewhat nicer bar area at the entrance, the rest of the restaurant was very ordinary and a bit dark even at daylight. Based on the Asian fusion menu, vegan options and hippie-like menu I was expecting the inside to be a bit exotic and modern in decor so it was slightly disappointing. On the other hand I can look past ambiance if the food is great.

As for the service, the restaurant expected us, but it was understaffed and it felt like a one man show. It is locally owned and operated and I always like supporting independent restaurants, but I really hope there is more staff to help out at night when it is likely busier.

The menu is also quite large for an owner/chef that plays front and back of the house. There are many options, but they get quite repetitive and I found it spread itself a bit thin. It was great that everything was being made in house and I could see the effort, but it was perhaps a bit ambitious. Maybe it was because we were a larger group that the execution wasn’t there, and I would give it the benefit of the doubt since this was one dining experience.

I took a look at the list of the restaurants in Sun Peaks and this was probably one of the “foodie” dining establishments there. There was supposed to be an emphasis on local, but I didn’t really get the message with an Asian fusion menu and I think it could have embraced “local” even more. It wasn’t really “Asian fusion” either, but more of taking American dishes and seasoning them with Asian sauces of spices. Perhaps I’m being too technical, but there was not really any fusing of Asian and Western styles.

The menu may have featured some local ingredients, but it wasn’t the highlight. It was just so much of everything and with more of a focus it has a lot of potential. There were some interesting flavours and ideas and the food I ordered wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great and I had higher expectations. In the context of Sun Peaks it’s an exciting restaurant and I would consider it a great option for those looking for something other than standard pub food.

This is black garlic. It’s traditionally an ancient Korean ingredient used for medicinal reasons and it’s full of antioxidants and very healthy. I’ve tried it before and I can honestly eat the cloves like candy. They are very potent, pungent, earthy and sweet and they taste almost like a cross of caramelized garlic, porcini mushrooms and molasses. They’re creamy and not spicy. At Black Garlic they use it for some of the favourite dishes, but not all. Black Garlic made a short appearance as a “trendy ingredient” a couple years ago, but it still hasn’t been fully embraced.

On the table: They offer some craft beers, but if you’re in the Kamloops area I would recommend The Noble Pig for beer. Black Garlic Bistro carries a few of their beers on tap, but for the full selection head to The Noble Pig. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try The Noble Pig, but trusted chef sources from Kamloops highly recommend it for artisan beer.

Not So Cumbersome2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Gin, lavender ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, fresh mint, fresh muddled cucumber $9
  • I prefer gin to vodka and this sounded like a lavender infused mojito.
  • I found it very cucumber forward and boozy though and I couldn’t taste the lavender.

**Braised Beef Infused Caesar4/6 (Very good)

  • Skyy vodka, house made Asian Worcestershire, black garlic, wasabi, toasted sesame chili rim $9
  • It was one of those Caesars that come with many garnishes.
  • I really like Caesars and I really enjoyed this one.
  • It was well balanced, spicy and I could taste the beefiness without it being too savoury.
  • It had a nice kick without being hot and it was a memorable cocktail that could hold its own even outside of a small town.
  • It reminded me of the SILVER cocktail bartender Justin Taylor made at YEW for the Olympics with Chipolte and Smoked Buffalo Jerky infused Vodka.

Malaysian Coconut Seafood Spring Rolls3/6 (Good)

  • Thai citrus sauce $8
  • There wasn’t really anything Malaysian or Thai about this, but it tasted good.
  • They were crispy and made with fresh ingredients, but it was mainly julienne carrots, red pepper and I think romaine or basil (?) and I couldn’t taste much of the seafood.
  • The seafood was seared albacore tuna (?) which was a bit unexpected as I assumed prawns for a spring roll.
  • The sauce was a creamy sweet coconut curry dip and the flavours worked, but I couldn’t taste any seafood.
  • If it was due to costs than chicken would have been just as appropriate.
  • There was good texture and a sweet and savoury contrast, but without the sauce they would be bland.
  • This would be good with avocado stuffed in it too.

Tagarashi Dusted Yam Fries3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Hoisin black garlic glaze, Yuzu citrus aioli $8
  • These were a house favourite, but they’re basically yam fries.
  • They were thick cut and crispy and seasoned with spicy Japanese seasoning.
  • They were very flavourful and it didn’t need both sauces although they served the aioli on the side which was good.

Deep Fried Zucchini3/6 (Good)

  • $10
  • These were crispy with a light fish n’ chip like batter and the zucchinis were local.
  • I couldn’t taste the thinly slices zucchini though and I could taste mainly batter.
  • They were good with the Thai citrus sauce from the Malaysian spring rolls.
  • I was hoping for less deep fried appies though just because the focus here is supposed to be on healthy.
  • I definitely enjoy deep fried and have no problems with it, but just for the philosophy of the restaurant I was hoping to see a lighter side.

Indian Butter Chicken From God2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Coriander scented basmati rice, Herb buttered naan bread $16
  • Normally I wouldn’t order Butter Chicken at a non-Indian restaurant, but with a title like that I had to try it.
  • It’s a bold statement to live up to, but I couldn’t really agree with it.
  • It was definitely a Western style of Butter Chicken and it was spicier than expected, but also just spicy without being as flavourful.
  • It was pretty hearty and rich with some white meat chicken, but it lacked those authentic spices of an excellent Butter Chicken.
  • Of course I didn’t expect “authentic”, but I did expect a dynamic spice profile that was more or less undetected here.
  • I’m not sure of the naan was made in house, but it didn’t taste like it.
  • The rice was also plain rice instead of coriander scented basmati rice.

Buddha’s Feast3/6 (Good)

  • Organic quinoa, local vegetables, water chestnuts, cashews, tofu, candied ginger, citrus glaze $18
  • This was a very large bowl and although I enjoyed it, it was basically a veggie stir-fry served over quinoa.
  • The quinoa was very good though and they fried it so it was extra nutty in flavour and sometimes a bit crispy like fried rice.
  • The veggies were zucchini, broccoli, bean sprouts, bell peppers, snap peas and mushrooms.
  • It came with a decent amount of cashews and the candied ginger was a bit random, but I guess that was their creative twist. I couldn’t taste much of it though.
  • It was served with a giant wonton wrapper crisp which got soggy from the citrus soy sauce like glaze so it wasn’t really necessary. If it was for texture it would be better served on the side and sprinkled on top.

Tamarind Lemongrass Chicken2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Pineapple fried quinoa cakes. Steamed mirin vegetables. $22
  • The chicken was overcooked and quite dry, but I really enjoyed the quinoa cakes.
  • The quinoa cakes were lightly battered and deep fried and seasoned with I think curry powder (?).
  • They were almost like falafels and they were executed well minus the seasoning.
  • The quinoa balls were very crispy but bland, although I appreciated the concept and would even try making them at home.
  • I wouldn’t find this worth it and I couldn’t taste much lemongrass.
  • I’m not sure where the chicken was sourced either, but I hope it was local.

Fresh Seasonal Seafood2/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Tropical fruit chutney, banana leaf, coconut rice, black garlic, sesame vegetables (Market price)
  • It was albacore (?) tuna, but I found it quite bland and it was crusted in sesame seeds but the flavour was lacking.
  • I think it was supposed to be rubbed with black garlic too, but I couldn’t taste it.
  • The fruit chutney was diced pineapples and the coconut rice wrapped in banana leaf was also very bland and quite watery and wet from the coconut milk.
  • This came recommended, but overall I wasn’t too keen on this dish.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mimihui September 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Tamarind Lemongrass Chicken – Waaaaaaaa……….I like that….

2 Linda September 27, 2012 at 7:35 am

mmm black garlic! i will definitely try to pick some up the next time i’m at a farmers market!

3 Bow September 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

I don’t think enuff preparation went into the execution of the concept “Asian Fusion”. The dishes just seem dressed with Asian sauces or ingredients. How about a tea-smoked duck risotto in which 1/2 the stock is chicken, the other 1/2 saffron-coconut creme ? Parpadelle tossed with baby bok choy and julienned cooked ginger,Xtra virgin, dusted lightly with crushed toasted hazelnuts ? You gotta put in a little more effort for fusion. Would have loved to have a cassoulet with the black garlic and Chinese preserved pork belly.

4 Jayda Home September 29, 2012 at 4:58 am

We pick up black garlic at the South Seas Trading Co. in Granville Market every weekend when we go there to do our weekly market shopping. It’s amazingly flavourful and you don’t need much to flavour a dish. Personally I love it just in a salad since it’s smoky deep flavour balances a fresh light green salad so well. Can’t wait to try this place out.

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