Monday, 11 March 2013

Dine-Around - Harbour House

Dining out.

Old school.

Our final dine-around experience was the Harbour House Restaurant located on Oswego Street, just off the inner harbour.  One side of the dining room looks over a small corner park which gives a nice protected view.  The restaurant (per the menu) has been around for 30 years - and if you want a classic dining experience - this is the place to come.  Do they constantly reinvent their menu for dining trends? No.  Do they continue to serve well prepared steak and seafood meals that have been around for decades?  You bet.  This is not the place to come for a deconstructed salad nicoise or an ancho-powder rubbed pork belly.  Here, the waiters are in tuxedos, the cocktails include chi chi's and gimlets and the tables are covered with white clothes.  I should say here that I have a soft spot in my heart for this type of restaurant - having grown up around them in Victoria (but not having worked in any) and been lucky enough to enjoy "special-occasion" family dinners out at them.

And adhering to the "when-in-Rome" mantra - our table of four leisurely perused the menu over a Tom Collins, Caesar, Harvey Wallbanger and a ginger-ale (for our DD).  In the end, we all opted for the $40 dine-around menu.  As our reservation was later, there was only one prawn cocktail left, so the other prawn-seeker requested the lobster bisque off the $20 menu.  The other two diners opted for escargot.  The bisque was very flavourful, the prawns large and plump, and the escargots small, tasty and sitting in a generous amount of melted butter.  Thank goodness for the basket of warm whole-wheat rolls on the table (which, by the way, all FOUR diners took turns dunking in said butter).

Lobster bisque
Prawn cocktail (one more is hiding behind the sauce)

Escargot with butterrrrrrrrr

And then onto the main courses:

Our table split our choices evenly between two options - the filet mignon (order rare and medium rare and delivered to the table exactly as requested) and the veal marsala (served a lovely medium and able to be cut with a butter knife).  Both entrees came with a large selection of crispy vegetables and roasted rosemary potatoes.

Filet mignon
Veal marsala

For dessert we chose creme brûlée, cheesecake and the flourless chocolate cake.  The creme brûlée was silky smooth with a thin, crisp sugar crust.  The chocolate cake was layered with ganache with crushed almonds throughout, giving it a nice texture.  The cheesecake was very smooth and rich, without being too dense.

Creme brulee
Flourless chocolate cake
Baked cheesecake

Yes, this is definitely a throw-back style of dining (circa 70's/80's) - it doesn't mean there's shag carpet on the floor - it means your coat is taken at the hostess station, there's a oil lamp lighting your table and you can sip a Spanish coffee after finishing your Chateaubriand.

Want one more example of classic dining? - the bill at the end comes with chocolates like this: was wafer-thin!

Harbour House Restaurant
607 Oswego Street
Dinner everyday from 4:30pm

Harbour House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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