Getting over to the Sunshine Coast is so easy, it’s a wonder why we don’t cross over to the other side of the “604” more often. From downtown Vancouver it’s a quick drive up to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal (where you only pay one-way), about 40 minutes for the crossing of Howe Sound, and an hour from the Langdale ferry terminal up to Madeira Park where you’ll find Painted Boat Resort.
We first stayed at Painted Boat in 2010 when John and I did a Sunshine Coast trip. We love winding up and down Highway 101’s seaside route, stopping in to visit with local artisans, having “second breakfast” in Roberts Creek, stopping for groceries and supplies in Sechelt, and heading up to various corners of the coast. We recently received an invitation to dine at The Restaurant at Painted Boat and planned a trip over to revisit this marina-side eatery which re-opened in May with new Head Chef Marcus Bugoy.
Arriving at Painted Boat we drove down the gravel driveway with arbutus trees twisting overhead and checked into our villa. The kitchen was stocked with amenities (including a fresh carton of coffee cream for the morning) and a welcome basket with treats for tired travellers. We turned on the surround-sound radio and enjoyed the panoramic views.
After settling in, a quick swim and soak in the hot tub, and popping a bottle of Township 7 wine that we brought along, we made our way down to The Restaurant at Painted Boat for our dinner reservation.
The wine list was nicely appointed with global options by the bottle and a decent selection of BC wines by the glass, which we each selected. To celebrate five years of The Restaurant there was a special menu with items available for five dollars a piece. We didn’t order anything from there as looking at the full menu, we were ready to take on a bit more. However, for great views, shared bites, and a glass of wine, this menu would be just the ticket.
For us, a refreshing amuse bouche arrived after we had our wine in hand and set the pace for the meal:
John’s been on a beet kick lately so he ordered the Local Organic Greens ($11) with beets, goat cheese, spiced almonds, pear, and vanilla vinaigrette. I opted for the Crab & Avocado Roulade ($16) with cucumber, hearts of palm, and lemon mustard emulsion. Both were bright and colourful dishes and my crab with avocado was silky smooth, complimented by the sweet crunch of the accompanying greens.
I’ve said it in interviews before but my favourite dish — the one I’ll order most frequently when dining out if it’s offered — is halibut. So, when I saw Haida Gwaii Halibut ($32) with ricotta gnocchi on the menu, I had my order ready. The dish was once again bright and beautiful with organic greens and bright pink beets, and the halibut was perfectly cooked. The beet emulsion was an interesting pairing on top of the delicate fish, adding an earthy tone to the otherwise sweet and buttery notes.
John’s main course was the Roasted Lamb Loin ($32) with celeriac puree, pea ravioli, and cherry reduction. The ravioli was a bit more al dente than expected but the sweet peas played with the succulence of the rich roasted lamb.
We followed the meal with a cup of decaf coffee and some treats from the dessert menu, which I failed to record in my notes. I do recall that mine was a lime mousse encased in a supple white chocolate bowl and John’s was peanut butter gelato with chocolate ganache. The tart lime was the perfect way to top off my meal of crab and halibut.
Returning to our villa was a simple as walking up the steps by the pool, looking out over the harbour at Madeira Park. The floor-to-ceiling windows in our room acted like a picture frame for the perfect Sunshine Coast sunset.
The Restaurant at Painted Boat is now open nightly from 5:00pm and on weekends from 11:00am. From July 1st to September 2nd it will be open daily from 11:00am. The price points were comparable to fine dining in Vancouver, with fresh and local ingredients, bright presentations, and a view that you could gawk at for days. Follow @PaintedBoat on Twitter for their latest updates.