Whistler may be kilometres away from the ocean but you can certainly find your share of impeccable fresh seafood in the resort town.
This summer, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s Grill Room, known for its excellent steak cuts and luxurious decor, is offering a menu that celebrates the sea’s offering.
We headed up the Sea to Sky Highway in May for an intimate tasting dinner in the Grill Room’s private dining space. After lemon cocktails at the hotel’s Portobello Market, which has a recently renovated lounge and bar area, our group of six journalists was led across the main floor of the hotel, past the bustling Mallard Lounge, through the Wildflower restaurant and finally to a private room at the back of the Grill Room.
Our breath was taken away as we entered the private room. The long table was set with enchanting and whimsical floral and greenery arrangements, mirrored by the lush forest scenery and moss-covered rockface outside, which created a fish bowl effect due to the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
What followed was a seven-course undersea culinary adventure celebrating B.C.’s sustainable seafood movement in honour of World Oceans Day, (which takes places annually on June 8) led by Chef Derek Bendig and Executive Chef Isabel Chung.
One of the most unique aspects of the evening was the fact that each course was paired with a bubbly wine from Bella Wines in Naramata, which specializes in sparkling wines.
The Spot Prawn Tartare with spot prawn sabayon and beef tenderloin paired beautifully with the Bello 2012 Reserve Blanc de Blanc while the richness of the Smoked Gindara Sablefish with white asparagus puree, quail egg and Northern Divine caviar was offset by the refreshing Bella 2017 Keremeos Blanc de Blanc.
The menu highlighted the Grill Room’s commitment to using sustainably sourced seafood as much as possible.
While the Coho Salmon served on a cedar plank was sourced from West Creek, a sustainable land-based aquaculturer that raises salmon without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics, the shrimp in the Berezan Shrimp Cocktail was sourced from the land-based Berezan Farms in Langley which doesn’t use pesticides, antibiotics or hormones.
Since the Grill Room is technically a steak house, it was apropos to complete the meal with a Pemberton Meadows Dry Age Ribeye with Dungeness crab, sauce choron and grilled asparagus accompanied by the intriguing Orchard House Vineyard Gamay Noir (yes, a red bubbly!)
Although we couldn’t fathom taking another bite after the fabulously filling meal, we quickly changed our minds when Chef Derek Bendig brought out the spectacular Underwater Desserts Labyrinth. Large pieces of sugar “coral”, macarons and other sugary undersea creatures in every colour of the rainbow were displayed on a wooden platter among the restaurant’s signature desserts, creating a culinary kaleidoscope.
If we hadn’t been so busy taking pictures we probably would have put more of a dent into the impressive spread! Wowed and exhilarated by the evening, I headed back to my hotel room with The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea” playing in my head.
The next morning we headed to the Clubhouse at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s golf course for a filling-yet-healthy breakfast overlooking the beautiful golf course. The newly revamped menu offers an array of inventive options including Fried Oatmeal with blackberries and lemon curd and a wonderful Pacific Salmon Bowl with tater tots, cream cheese scrambled eggs and artisan smoked chinook salmon.
Instead of hitting the green, we opted to relax at the hotel’s pool instead; a wonderful ending to our Whistler culinary adventure.
To make a reservation at the Grill Room visit fairmont.com/whistler/dining/grillroom/