After what I would classify a horrendous food/service experience at Tigh-Na-Mara’s Cedar Room in 2011, I was slightly hesitate to go back for another dinner. With that said, the Sunday brunch we had a few months ago was absolutely amazing, so there was certainly some hope that a second dinner would go better than the first! And that it did….
I wasn’t sure if he or the restaurant staff knew who we were when I booked the reservation but it seemed clear throughout the meal that the restaurant staff knew exactly who we were but awkwardly didn’t mention anything, so it was only until the end of the meal, as we were walking out, that I realized. Our server, who coincidentally (or not coincidentally) was the same server we had when we experienced our initial nightmare dinner. The service was VERY attentive and everything went VERY well, but on our way out she said, “It was sooooo nice meeting you.” I was very confused as she didn’t introduce herself, I didn’t introduce myself or my partner and there was no real meeting. Maybe better communication would have eliminated this situation.
Upon entry into the Cedar Room restaurant it was gorgeous. We went in December and so all of the Christmas decorations were out, there were twinkling lights about the room and it really set a romantic, warm sense to the entire restaurant and eating experience.
Once seated we thought it nice to get an appy to share with our glasses of wine. We ordered the cranberry baked brie…. I do love cheese. The crackers were made by the pastry chef and from a family recipe, which essentially saved this dish because the brie completely outshined any cranberry flavour. The brie flavour was beyond pungent and not what we was expecting. Fresh strawberries garnished the plate but made no sense as they were not ripe and did not complement the dish. It seemed a little uninspired.
(We did have complimentary bread, but it wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary or special. It did, however, come with individual servings of SPREADABLE, whipped butter, which was nice. I can and never will understand why some restaurants serve delicious bread with rock hard butter. This was not the case in the Cedar Room.)
On to the entrees! Brendan had the pan seared prime rib which was beautiful and delicious with a sauté of caramelized onions and wild mushrooms, chipotle butter and herb roasted fingerling potatoes. The steak was a gorgeous medium rare, tender, juicy, and everything else you would imagine a yummy prime rib steak tasting like. I, on the other hand, had the peppercorn steak with garlic mash, veggies and huge onion rings. The garlic mash was divine. I could have swam in it and been a happy camper. The onion rings were good and presented well on the plate, but sadly the peppercorn steak was far beyond peppery. I can handle pepper, but I don’t like to choke on it every bite I take and unfortunately (at least for my tastes) it was overboard by a fairly large margin. Each plate was garnished with micro-greens and herbs which I adore. I snuck Brendan’s and ate both of ours! Love it!
Dessert was one of the highlights of the meal – a peanut butter cream pie on a cookie crust with a berry drizzle on the side. It was so, so, so GOOD! The texture was creamy and smooth (with the exception of a couple of rather chunky bits of peanut butter) and it tasted like a giant Reese Peanut Butter Cup but without the heavy dense chocolate exterior layer. I would drive from Victoria to Parksville for this dessert alone! The plate was again garnished with unimaginative fresh strawberry slices, which gave absolutely nothing to the dish overall.
So, after a terrible experience, to an amazing Sunday brunch experience, to a good dinner experience, I am satisfied that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to Tigh-Na-Mara’s Cedar Room. Ultimately, if I had a choice between brunch and dinner, I would choose brunch every single time…. it was just that good! For all of you Vancouver Islanders (and anyone wanting to come for a visit!), please do check out Tigh-Na-Mara’s Cedar Room because I think it will be worth your while.