Following an extensive renovation, the Magnolia Hotel & Spa has unveiled its new restaurant, the Courtney Room. Bright and open, the space was designed by Sharon Bortolotto (BAA Design) and Glasfurd and Walker to evoke the elegance of Parisian hotels with all the comforts of a French bistro.
The two-storey restaurant’s street-level brasserie is washed in grey and blue with brass accents, art nouveau-style light fixtures, and walls adorned with commissioned paintings from local expressionist artist Blu Smith. Take a seat at the grey marble-topped bar for house-crafted cocktails and nibbles. The Midnight in Oaxaca—a dangerous number that balances smoky mescal and habanero bitters with refreshing lime, mint, and cucumber—plays well with freshly shucked oysters from the bar’s seafood station, and one would be remiss not to try the Potatoes Courtney, a grown-up tater tot cooked in duck fat.
The Magnolia Hotel’s new restaurant evokes the elegance of Parisian hotels with all the comforts of a French bistro.
For the early riser, the Courtney Room makes a glorious breakfast sandwich. Eggs benedict worshipers might consider opting for the breakfast salad, which is really a duo of Dungeness crab croquettes that are crowned with oozing poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (The salad’s the bed of mixed greens it sits on.)
Upstairs in a polished dining room overlooking the Inner Harbour, refined cooking and fine wine is served courtesy of executive chef Sam Harris and wine program director Anan Romeyn. As the former chef of nationally-lauded Agrius, Harris employs classic French techniques with modern sensibilities in his ingredient-driven dishes, while Romeyn curates a selection of fine wines—including local labels like Unsworth and Sea Star alongside French varieties—housed in an eye-catching, glassed-in wine room.
Discerning palates will appreciate the celebration of land and sea on his intricate yet approachable tasting menu. An opening volley may find cured steelhead trout rightfully saddled next to gossamer slices of charcuterie, both graduates of the kitchen’s dry-aging program. (The latter offers guests an array of à la carte steak, duck, and lamb.) Harris ushers in spring by distilling the season into his fresh halibut course, where the silky flesh is paired with tender asparagus spears embellished with whipped béarnaise and shaved truffles.
The Courtney Room, 619 Courtney Street, Victoria, BC.
Photos by Leila Kwok.
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