Recently a friend of mine suggested that I try out Lonsdale’s fine dining claim to fame, The Portly Chef. Not only is The Portly Chef only a 15-minute walk, or $7 taxi, from our community, but it is run by some fantastic North Shore locals. It is more than worth the trek out of bounds.
As I walked in to The Portly Chef I was immediately impressed by the warm and inviting environment. Styled in rich oaks and coastal paintings, the space is both quaint and unpretentious–the perfect venue for an intimate meal. The music was appropriately unobtrusive, allowing for an ease of conversation, and the waitresses were constantly on hand and happy to assist.
Skimming through the menu, I was thrilled to see a tantalizing and creative array of appetizers to choose from. The decision was difficult, but in the end I had to go with the irresistible combination of crunchy Cajun hickory sticks atop a buttery dish of escargot, mushrooms, and gruyere potato custard. Bursting with flavour, these Escargot Mushroom Caps have now made my top list of appies to die for. I’m literally salivating as I recall the experience.
For my main, I decided to go with the Drunken Sable–an exquisite dish of roasted miso marinated sable fish and shrimp dumplings (i.e., har gow) atop a stack of roasted veggies. Paired with ponzu aioli and garnished with a single onion ring, this meal is not only attractive to behold but is also more than deserving of its title as ‘signature dish’. The Drunken Sable is actually the main reason I had decided to come to The Portly Chef, having heard rave reviews. With one bite of the sable, which is cooked to perfection, I immediately jumped on board the bandwagon.
My date opted for a more classic dish, the Filet Oscar and Prawns. This selection features a certified AAA beef tenderloin with black tiger prawns, bathed in house béarnaise and nestled in a bed of mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. While not as adventurous as the sable, this dish is beautifully engineered. The flavours are familiar and satisfying, and the presentation is absolutely lovely.
To finish off our meal we chose to share the chocolate raspberry brûlée, a featured dessert of the evening. Not surprisingly, this pairing is delicious. The texture is silky and the flavours on point, persuading me to dig in and battle my date for the last spoonful. Some things in life are just worth fighting for.
By the end of the meal I admit that I was already drafting a plan of attack for the next time I dine at the Portly Chef. It’s not the type of place I would visit on a weekly basis, being slightly above my preferred price range, but it is a fantastic option for a special occasion or a well-deserved treat. Bon appétit!
For more information or to make a reservation, visit The Portly Chef website here.