Canada ’08: Wild Apple, Manteo Resort, Kelowna
Another restaurant review to offer for the visitor to the Okanagan. As previously stated, there really are some wonderful eating places to choose from in the city but Wild Apple is surely amongst the best at the ‘high end’ of the price range.For the UK visitor, that term will not cause too much dismay. Canadian prices being what they are, this attractive grill at Manteo Resort will not cause great consternation when ordering the bill.
On the night, at around 7.30pm Thursday, we found it a little difficult to park and finally had to park on Lakeshore a short walk down the road. On reaching Manteo, the foyer of the resort is very impressive and relaxed. Though plush and well-appointed, a resident bedecked in towelled robe and sandals wandered unconcerned across the polished and spacious reception area as we made our way to the two young female receptionists stood behind a lecturn. In a quiet alcove a businesswoman sat in a huge leather armchair tapping on a laptop.
In my experience, Canadians tend to eat a little earlier than British people and true to form we were slightly relieved when we were ushered through to an available table for two in an almost full restaurant. The waitress was most apologetic that my seat was situated next to the exit but this was of less concern to me than her. The first thing that strikes about entering the room is the huge windows that look out over the restaurant patio and onto Okanagan Lake. The evening was not a particularly warm one, exceptionally for Kelowna in mid-August, leaving an empty alfresco eating area on this occasion.
A weather front was blowing in from the south-west creating a blustery wind in the darkening skies outside. An eye-catching display was inadvertently being provided on the darkly-glistening lake by a spectacular exhibition of kite boarding by an intrepid holiday maker. There should be views like this from more restaurants!
Out waiter for the evening promptly attended our needs. Of Japanese extraction and incredibly friendly and efficient he certainly added to a great experience at Wild Apple. The restaurant prides itself on an extremely wide range of excellent wines from the Okanagan and beyond. My partner chose a refreshing rose whilst I stuck to beer with a large glass of 1516 Bavarian Lager. Okanagan Spring Brewery who produce the beer have an interesting short history within the area of ‘craft brewing’. Founded in 1984, the micro brewery, situated in a former fruit packing building in Vernon, BC now produces distinctly pure and crisp beer and goes from success to success.
With a difficult decision to make from an excellent and varied menu, I chose the West Coast Seafood Chowder, a dish with an individual slant which contained gold potato, lemon and a tabasco sauce made in-house. This was a fresh look at one of my favourite dishes and whilst I had to turn away some other marvellous looking tapas, soups and salads to choose it, the decision was well vindicated with an explosion of beautifully-contrasting tastes. To follow I chose Organic Short Ribs with pistachio spun potatoes, swiss chard and asparagus in a fig jus. The ribs were mouth-wateringly tender and the rich jus gave a uniquely flavoursome taste to the dish. My partner chose the Maple-crusted Salmon. To conclude the meal she decided upon the Chocolate Crunch which was described as a ‘really fun dessert’ by the waiter. The ‘fun’ element was supplied by a honeycomb base which was somewhat persistently in need of chewing but richly tasty and more-ish nevertheless. I ended my meal with a little taste of the auld country, uisge–beatha as perceived by the Glenlivet Distillery.
There are many fine restaurants in Kelowna and at the upper end of the echelon, Wild Apple sits comfortably. The service is impeccable without being stuffy. The food, wonderfully tasteful and original without being pretentious. The portions are fairly served and priced for the quality on offer. The room itself is comfortable with a variety of seating and a lounge to the one side of the restaurant. The large windows overlooking the lake ensure an airiness to the relaxed atmosphere to the restaurant that makes one feel like staying that little longer. I can thoroughly recommend Wild Apple at The Manteo Resort as good value and a most enjoyable eating experience, particularly for that more special evening.