Mission Hill Winery, Kelowna.

June 2016

In Kelowna for a wedding, we decided to try having a bite at the well-reviewed “Terrace” restaurant at this successful and beautifully-laid-out winery. Words, mine anyway, can’t convey the stunning impact of the perfect gardens, acre or more of inviting green grass, and lovely Italian-style buildings all overlooking the lake, especially in the soft light of a June evening. It would be the envy of wineries everywhere from Sonoma to South Africa.

The restaurant runs along a thin open space with tables facing the view on one side and the expanse of green grass on the other. Sadly whoever designed it seems to have decided that the heavy Vatican feel, emphasized by big opaque concrete railings on either side, was more important than diners being able to see the view and lawn, so one is only aware of them standing up.

Our server was a nice chatty boy, but he and the rest of the staff conveyed, possibly intentionally, an attitude of fey benign disregard for their clients. Having had a late lunch, we really only wanted a snack to go along with our bottle of Bordeaux-style Mission Hill Compendium 2009, one of their high-end products. At $120 this was still not a bad restaurant value, empyromatically Bordeaux-fragrant, big and not-badly balanced (sweet emphasis) in the mouth, although a wee bit green and eventually short splashing it around with food.

We had a wagyu beef tartare which, having just been in Japan, sounded interesting. It was lentil-sized bits of chopped beef, dressed with vinegar and I think a bit of egg, accompanied by a few leaves of arugula. It’s (now) clear to us that, assuming what we had was the genuine article, it’s a waste to serve wagyu this way. We could have been eating pieces of ordinary sirloin. I’m a fan of tartare done traditionally, with mustard and egg you can just taste, accompanied by pickles, clinging to itself on the fork. The creativity here didn’t gel for us.

But what a pretty winery…

Food 7.0 service 7.1 ambience 9.2 value… good for the wine, so-so for the food, peace and quiet 7.8.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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