Modern decor in a Tudor mansion surrounded by a magical English Garden. Food is best described as gourmet variations on British cuisine. Rated '2nd Best new Restaurant in Canada by En Route in 2005; rated '#1 restaurant on Vancouver Island' by Zagat Survey
My husband and I spent a few days in Victoria recently, where we stayed at the lovely English Inn. The Rosemeade had apparently just re-opened in early April so we decided to check it out. It was a very enjoyable experience. The food was great, from the appetizers of beautifully prepared aparagus and a wonderful green salad with candied pecans and honey dressing to the main courses of shortrib (melt-in-your-mouth) and halibut (very good value for the portion size), to the wonderfully inventive tasting-style dessert menu. The service was attentive, the ambience of the restaurant relaxed yet refined, and the setting of the beautiful gardens visible from the expansive windows throughout the restaurant make it even more lovely. We were also pleasantly surprised by the menu prices - the appetizers are all in the $10 range, and the main courses in the $15 - $20 range. The dessert menu, featuring little tasters, are all priced at $4. We look forward to going back to the Rosemeade on our next visit to Victoria.
I had my second meal at the Dining room this last week and this visit re-affirmed my first impressions. The food is excellent and the service is tremendous. The menu was different for both visits and both times I was impressed with the variety and creativity.
I found this restaurant through a reference in En Route which listed it as a top 10 new restaurant in Canada. While I can't compare to any of the other listings, it definitely would fit into the top 10 list for Victoria.
I can't see how this restaurant and chef can be rated so highly in EnRoute and Zagat. Just about everything about our visit there missed the mark by a wide margin. The service was a bit spotty. The worst was the food.
I'm not sure if the chef intentionally prepared food so bland and off-texture just to achieve true 'Britishness,' but if he did, it was a real success. I mean, I'd be happier gnawing on chicken wings in a pub than eating some of this food.
We started with the raw Oysters - they were drowned in an awful tea-ice-jelly. There was no oyster taste, just the taste of some weird jelly that wasn't balanced with anything complementary. We also tried the Crab Perogies - while of good texture and a bit creamy. The crab taste was weak and the cream was weaker - OK at least I know the British like rich cream, so why are you using 10% table cream? LIkewise with the tasting sample salmon soup - weak and cheap tasting - at least that was free.
Then the main dish came. We both had venison with foie gras with au jus and squash. Something rich and hearty for the Boudeaux we received (wrong wine - they ran out of the one I ordered), I presumed. Problem is, rich is not in their vocabulary. The price says fine dining, the pictures and presentation of the food is mouthwatering. The actual venison was of good texture but very little flavour. What passed for foie gras could pass for shoe leather: tough, bland (oh, and they gave us half portion of the liver because they ran out of that also) and really dissapointing. You'd be better off gettign steak and kidney pie at the Irish Times for half the money - NO KIDDING!
The best two fine dining establishment in town are Matisse, Sooke Harbour House and the Deep Cove Chalet. The Rosemeade isn't in the same league - not in the same business I reckon! Choose Matisse for the best prices, though their prices are slightly more than the Rosemeade.
We went to the Rosemeade for a special get together with our son and his girlfriend to celebrate some birthdays. We felt incredibly spoiled with the lovely calm, refined yet intimate atmosphere and the very delicious food. The food was very special- delicious and creative. We enjoyed several different vegetarian plates. Service was excellent. And its all set in a lovely English country inn! I very much look forward to my next chance to visit the English Inn.
My first experience at The Rosemeade was last night for our two year anniversary.
We both started off with water - some fancy VOSS bottled thing. I'm not going to lie, I would never normally buy water. I find it somewhat pointless in a city like Victoria where the tap water quality is so good to begin with. That being said, it was good water - really good. Try it. I think I might finally like sparkling water as well - we had a bottle of non-sparkling and sparkling.
Right after we were brought water, we were brought a soup to "prepare the palette" for the appetizer we had ordered. I can't remember exactly what the name of the appetizer was, but basically it was stewed pork ravioli with pickled mushrooms in a mustard sauce with other veggies and shredded apple.
Then our mains came and they were really, really unbelievably good. I had a pork and scallop dish, served with a peach-chipotle sauce that was unlike anything I have ever tasted. They also combined this with a peach-cornmeal cake which complemented everything perfectly.
We were shown desert as the waiter took it somewhere else, and it looked great, but we were both full from our fine dining experience (imagine that!) so we passed on what looked to be another delicious plate.