The Nova Kitchen, Gibsons BC.

September 2017

This may be the first attempt at serious “European-inspired” cuisine on the Sunshine Coast, and it succeeds. Partially.

The space is a converted old cottage, former site of (and a marked improvement on) Sita’s Spag Shack, far enough up the Gibsons Way hill from the nice lower village to lift its balcony above a pretty vista of the water and village. Everybody is sitting outside on a sunny cool evening and the welcome is brisk and cheerful, offering us one of a dozen tables on that rustic deck.

From the street we could hear a folksinger serenading the diners and I had an accurate premonition that, although he was not bad on the guitar and sang well, his voice was too harsh and loud. More what you would have wanted in a raucous pub than to add to the soft atmosphere on a romantic evening deck overlooking the ocean.

There is an inviting selection of small and large dishes and a very abbreviated wine list. The online menu is a bit different two days after we were there, suggesting some shifting creativity from chef Paul Haldane. We went for duck wings and squid, the squid lightly fried nicely-flavoured chunks of a large creature, along with a slaw and savoury green sauce. The duck was chewy and flavorful. The main we shared was a pork done three ways: belly, tenderloin, and bacon. The pork belly was the best, succulent and tender. Tenderloin not bad especially accompanied by a nice reduction sauce, and the bacon was just a crispy rasher.

We went for a Vancouver Island pinot gris which was disappointing, without discernible aroma, and pretty much alcoholic Koolaid in the mouth. Its rose colour didn’t rescue it. Dinner cost us about $140 with a good tip and bad wine at $48.

We would go back and give this one another try partly because it’s a bit unique in this part of the world. It would be a shame if its very nice physical atmosphere and optimism-inspiring food are always vitiated by the wrong kind of music. We’ll find out.

Food 8.4, service 8.7, ambience very nice but destroyed by the music, value 6.8, peace and quiet: see ambience.

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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