Some meals are just more memorable because they meld two ingredients: Where you are and what you’re eating. It’s a perfect combo at Villa Eyrie on Vancouver Island, where their culinary program is out of this world, and their stunning location is pretty much all views all the time.
Situated at the top of the Malahat off Highway One just south of the Cowichan Valley, Villa Eyrie is a prime resort property with a new lease on life, thanks to new ownership and renovations.
If you can tear yourself away from the windows or balconies of your suite with sweeping panoramas of Finlayson Arm (seriously, you might break your photo finger snapping pic after pic at all hours of the day on this breathtaking view), you can arrange to have a picnic lunch at the peak of the property in the grassy amphitheatre.
Prepared by the team of the hotel’s Summit Restaurant, led by Executive Chef Terry Pichor (previously at Sonora Resort), get ready for one of the prettiest and tastiest spreads to tuck into, all packed into a picnic backpack for you. Work up an appetite by hiking to the spot, or drive, and then set up your blanket and sit down for a feast.
While sandwiches, salad, fruit, and treats seem simple, with fresh, seasonal touches like BC berries and rhubarb, and housemade dressing, this isn’t your typical grab-and-go picnic. But holy cow, the view! It’s pretty much like the clouds are your canopy, you will easily lose count of the eagles soaring by (and smaller feathered friends) in the vast airspace over Saanich Inlet. (Eyrie, after all, means “eagles’ nest.”)
Of course, with a talent like Pichor running the food show here, once you take your appetite into the restaurant itself, no matter what meal, you’re in for a serious treat. Pichor, a classically-trained French chef, has elevated the food at Summit as spectacular as the physical elevation itself.
While you are lucky enough to dine there as a hotel guest, Summit is drawing people from other inns and motels in the region, along with locals who are driving in from Victoria, Nanaimo, and elsewhere around the island.
Brunch basics like pancakes get an elegant kick up with the bright flavours of lemon and ricotta, while their Eggs Benedict has an array of customization options (like smoked salmon and avocado) to nestle the beautifully poached Lockwood Farms eggs.
At dinnertime, the menu sings with the flavours of the season, presented artfully and often featuring elements like herbs and edible flowers from their onsite garden, located steps from the kitchen itself.
A duo of starters like the Market Crudo (in this case scallops) and the Cucumber Strawberry Salad will use the “whole radish”–sliced fresh in the salad, and the snappy “pods” in the crudo.
Entrees range from pastas (available in half portions if you want a lighter pasta course) to BC beauts like Chinook salmon and local lamb. Desserts are playful and round out the meal nicely.
With the option of doing multi-course family style meals and tasting menus, you can let Chef Pichor drive (Villa Eyrie is tied to the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit now, so driving is apt) while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.
Oh, yeah, did we mention the views? Swoon!
Address: 600 Ebedora Lane, Malahat, BC