Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dine Around Victoria - Aura

Everything about today was leading up to this moment…


A light, healthy breakfast…


Yogurt, berries, almonds, whole wheat English muffin, sunflower butter.


This morning’s coffee was awful for some reason so I supplemented with Bolthouse vanilla chai…


With absolutely no desire to go to the gym I found motivation in knowing dinner would be a rich, three course affair.  Mid-afternoon I worked up a sweat by completing my 30 minute version of cardio routine #2 on the treadmill and a few sets of the toning moves that do not hurt my back.

Fresh veggies and protein seemed the way to go for lunch.


Spinach, carrots, beets, cukes, Bolthouse Ranch yogurt dressing, boiled egg, and deli roasted turkey.


A mid-afternoon sugar buzz to hold me over until our 7pm dinner reservation.


Today marked the start of Victoria’s annual Dine Around event.  Every year a group of restaurants join together with Tourism Victoria to offer three course prix fixes menus which entice residents and visitors to try places we may otherwise not be likely to visit.

After perusing the list of participating restaurants I asked a couple of the girls if they’d like to try Aura at the Laurel Point Inn with me.  Tiffaney, Laura and Charmaine were in so a reservation was made!


Aura has one of the best views of the city.  Sitting right on the water and looking across the inner harbour towards The Empress and downtown.  Our table was situated right at the window.


To start we were brought house made brioche and creamy butter.

As well, we were presented with a complimentary amuse bouche from the chef.  I forget the details but it is a chilled spot prawn with delicious aioli.


For $30 Aura offered a choice of 3 appetizers, 3 entrees, and 3 desserts.

For $55 you could add wine pairings to your meal.


Three of us chose the Crusted Tempura Prawns with togorashi mayonnaise, warm edamame, and lime salt as our appetizer.  This first plate was quite large!  We were all surprised to see four very large prawns, and we all enjoyed the crispy tempura coating.  Personally this was my favourite part of the meal.


Tiffaney opted for the Butternut Squash Puree with warm apple and squash salad as she is not a seafood fan.  She said it was tasty, but maybe a weeee bit boring.


For the main course we managed to get all three offered dishes on the table.  I asked our server’s recommendation between two items and he seemed very excited about Double Smoked Pork Belly Risotto with cauliflower Persillade and Parmesan foam so I ordered this.


Unfortunately I was disappointed.  I guess I expected smaller, crispier pieces of pork belly but instead I was presented with these large, rare, slightly mushy pieces of meat.  Texture-wise I just wasn’t in love.  The risotto itself was fine, but tasted like any parmesan risotto I could have anywhere. 


I did pair this course with a lovely BC VQA Mission Hills Riesling.


I actually think Tiffaney’s dinner stole the show. Spinach and Cannellini Bean Ravioli with tomato braised endive, sweet pea pesto, and seared Saganaki cheese.  The crispy cheese was delicious!


Charmaine and Laura both ordered the Braised Short Rib with chanterelle mushroom jus, winter squash puree and fondant potatoes.  This was my other choice originally and I had dinner envy once I saw their meals. Very tender and flavourful.


Hey look, photos of actual people and not just the food!

Charmaine, Laura, and Tiffaney.  Culinary partners in crime.


Here I am!


As full as we were we still had a dessert course to get through.  Since everyone else at the table was opting for the crème brûlée I decided to live outside the box and ordered the Chocolate Hazelnut Trio.


Hazelnut financier with milk chocolate mousse, raspberry chocolate truffle, and chocolate hazelnut ice cream.  Everything was rich and delicious but I loved the little ice cream cone.

With decaf…


All three other girls opted for Butternut Squash Crème Brûlée with honey thyme shortbread, biscotti sticks and cranberry sugar.


The servings were large, the Brûlée creamy and pumpkin-pie-like (although the top crust wasn’t quite crispy enough for us picky Brûlée connoisseurs…ha), and the girls loved the little accoutrements on the side.


Overall we had a lovely evening but I’m glad I only paid $30 for the food portion of my meal (which really was a very good deal).  I definitely wouldn’t order the risotto again but I could be persuaded to go back in the Summer to enjoy their patio, the view, and maybe another order of those Tempura Prawns.


Still, any time out with the girls talking about boys and pies is a good night in my book. :)

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1 comment:

Orionbelt24 said...

Loving all the restaurant reviews you've done in the last little while. Looks like Hubby and I might be moving back to Victoria this fall so I'm keeping them all in the back of my mind for when we are back!