Sheila was very nice to me for my birthday, she took me to Camille's for dinner.
I have been interested and intrigued about Camille's for some years now, I had an office above them back in 2004. The restaurant is located in the basement of a Bastion Square building, it is a warren of small rooms hidden away down a discrete staircase at the southeast corner of the square. Other than a small sign at the top of the stairs there is nothing to indicate that one of Victoria's best restaurants is right there.
Both Sheila and I have been wanting to go to Camille's for some time but not had the chance to do so. Finally we have been there for a meal and it is as good as we had hoped it would be.
Camille's chef David Mincey focuses on using a lot of locally sourced food on their menu. The chef seems to have a close relationship with his suppliers. What was also wonderful is that the waiter was very knowledgeable about all of the food and willing to spend time talking to us about the food. If he was not a sommelier, he certainly seemed to be have the skills to be one.
I had the pan seared scallops as a starter. I wish I could make scallops at home, but I can not hit that sweet zone of perfection, I have a nasty habit of getting something more hockey puck like than perfect.
My main course was the beef tenderloin. The beef they use is from Ranchland's Natural Beef of the Nicola Valley. This ranch is run by former BC Liberal MLA Dave Chutter. Dave is an amazingly reserved man with a vision of how a better world will work, it shows in the beef that he raises. Dave even won an award from the SPCA for how he looks after his cattle. It is nice to have this personal connection with your food. Anyway, it was amazing, it melted in my mouth.
Sheila had a five course tasting menu, she also had a wine pairing with each course. She enjoyed all of her courses, but the wines were adequate but not stunning.
I ordered a bottle of 1998 Chateau de Ferrand St Emiillon Grand Cru on the recommendation of the waiter. This was an inspired choice, it worked perfectly with my beef. It is the sort of wine that is so much better than a typical wine that makes a decent red wine feel like cooking wine. Sheila tried some of the wine and then had trouble going back to her BC red wine that came with her tasting menu.
The unfortunate truth is that BC can not make a stellar red wine.
We still had much of a bottle of wine left when the main course was done so we asked for a cheese plate, they do not have one on the menu but the waiter worked with the kitchen staff to come up with one for us. The cheese plate a nice selection of Vancouver Island and Saltspring cheeses along with some fresh berries.
All in all it was a wonderful experience and I would love to return when we can afford it.