Food Critic Segment/Restaurant Reviews

Oliver, BC, Canada “Burrowing Owl Estate Winery” – “The Sonora Room Restaurant”






Isn’t this an amazing view?  The setting of the Burrowing Estate Winery is stunning! The Sonora Room Restaurant shares this view.  I love the road you travel to get up to it. This is one experience I will never forget, from the ambience, to the service, to the setting and the “over the top”, amazing food. This is a one of a kind place and I am so happy James and Nikki introduced us to one of their very favorite places. 


The beautiful Vineyards and view.


We were originally going to sit out on this beautiful patio and were actually seated but the wind was so high we had to move inside. We were bummed because the outside atmosphere and temperature was so perfect. 


There they are!!   James and Craig.  


Oh my goodness, the view from our table. Look at this…it tells a story.


Isn’t this a gorgeous pool and setting?  You can also spend the night in one of their beautiful rooms. I really want to do this sometime. The Vineyards surrounding the pool, so, so lovely.


Like I mentioned, the winds were super high so we ended up moving inside for dinner.  We had a fantastic dinner and the ambience was beautiful inside as well.


The high ceiling was just gorgeous. Look at the beautiful detail.


This was our fantastic waiter, RON!  He was in the top 5 best servers I have ever had.  He had a Passion for serving, for knowing every detail about the food and wine and he was able to explain in complete detail the flavor components of each and every item.  He was attentive, gave us good recommendations and had a kind, genuine and warm personality.


They offered these adorable carafes of wine.  This carafe looks smaller than it is. I think it held 4 glasses of wine.  Fantastic wine here from the winery.


This was Chef Stephen Blackburn’s complimentary starter, a one bite Hors d’ Oeuvre. Can you take a guess as to what this is?  This well paired bite had Boiled Potato, Whipped Spinach Mousse, Octopus and Crisp Bacon.  It was garnished with an Organic Microgreen Sprout. We ate this in one bite as suggested to experience all of the unique flavors.  I am not a fan of Octopus but the way it was prepared with the other ingredients worked well and I actually enjoyed it.


I wish I had a better picture of the Bread because it was so awesome!  It was made in-house and was soft and warm and had a little tug to it.  There was a Rye and then a Dill Bread and it was served with Sweet Creamy Butter.


James ordered the locally inspired, Soup of the day.  It was a Creamy *Turnip Soup with Crispy Cous Cous Garni and finished with an Olive Oil Drizzle.  It was smooth, slightly thick, unique and earthy.

*Turnip is a sister to the Rutabaga (did you know that)? Turnips have a delicate, slightly sweet taste when young but as they age their taste becomes stronger and their texture becomes courser and can taste almost woody. Turnips are usually Boiled or Steamed and then Mashed or Pureed.


I had this gorgeous Salad which Ron recommended to me, (which was not on the menu). Look at how fresh and colorful it is? The freshness of the ingredients, all the bursts of flavors, the Grilled Peaches with the broken pieces of Aged White Cheddar, the pops of the Fresh Blueberries and the Red Wine Vinaigrette drizzled over the delicate and fresh Tickler Greens, it just worked oh so well together. I didn’t want this Salad to end…and I ate it very slowly and savored every single bite.


Nikki ordered the Fine Point Green Salad.  This was artistry on a plate.  Thinly sliced Cucumber and Red Radish with ringlets of Pickled Red Onions, Bibb Lettuce and *Compressed Melon. This Salad was dressed lightly with a Lemon, Dill Vinaigrette.  So healthy, so light and a perfect starter Salad to get your tastebuds excited.

*Compressed Melon is where you Cut the Melon into Cubes and put into a Vacuum Bag. You Puree the Watermelon Scraps and then Chill.  The Puree is then poured over the Watermelon Cubes so that it can incorporate back into the Melon adding a more intense fruit flavor. There are a few more steps to this and it reminds me of the Pickled Watermelon Rind we used to buy in the jar growing up  however this compressed Melon is fresh and light and not syrupy at all. 


Oh my goodness!  Nikki ordered the Arctic Char.  Look at this beautiful lightly Pan Seared Fish. You can see how flaky and perfectly cooked this is.  It was accented with Steamed Clams and Mussels, Grilled Zucchini, Lightly Salted, Smoked Baby Red Potatoes, and Herbed Pistou (which is a puree of Olive Oil, Garlic and Herbs). This was a beautiful plate, beautiful presentation, phenomenal flavor combinations.  Sensational.


Have you ever seen anything like this?  Grilled Pork Tenderloin, with Braised Kale and Bonfire Culinary Garden Beans sliced on the bias. That long mold in the center is a Smoked Cherry compote with a Savoury Fruit Crumble.  How creative, unexpected and wonderful….


I love this presentation!  I believe this Beretta Farms Beef Tenderloin was served on a bed of Cauliflower Puree.  The Grilled Tenderloin was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful. In the center you will see a creamy and delicate Foie Gras (FWAH GRAH) Mousse (goose liver pate), which compliments the Tenderloin perfectly.  The plate was paired with Sautéed Swiss Chard and Freshly Fried and Crispy Match Stick Potatoes.


This is the Carpaccio. I can still vision it, taste it and it is something I will crave and remember.  It was special, something I have never seen presented quite like this and with every taste I ooed and awed and marveled at it’s beauty. The paper thin Albacore Tuna and Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio was simply dreamy.  I have never, ever seen Albacore Tuna Carpaccio in my life.  I order Beef Carpaccio whenever I can but this one in particular was a 10++. The creativity in its presentation along with the textures was what set it over the top.  It had a Pink Peppercorn *Emulsion and a Black Garlic *Emulsion.  The flavors were perfectly paired with both Carpaccio’s.  The Chef’s idea to add the Croutons some large and some in crumbles was genius and made the dish complete.  I loved, loved the textures. I also love Microgreens and appreciated them on this plate. 

*Two of the best known Emulsions are Mayonnaise and Hollandaise Sauce. A mixture of one liquid with another which cannot combine normally or smoothly; oil and water being one classic example.  Emulsifying is done by slowly (sometimes drop by drop) adding one ingredient to another while at a the same time mixing rapidly. 


Ron recommended we try this Housemade Chocolate Covered Bar on a Stick served with sliced Ice Cream.  Isn’t it so cute?  Everyone shared it and loved it.  It’s so simple yet so creative.


Ron brought the tiny Macaroons with a Burrowing Owl Chocolate complimentary.  I cannot recall if the flavor was Lavender or Blueberry and there was a Chocolate Filling. The texture of the Macaroon was perfectly chewy and very light. 


Look at how wonderful these Coffee Drinks look?  They are so different aren’t they?  I would like to try one of the ones that has Maple…


Cheers to us!

Fabulous!  Fabulous!

Happy Eating!

Check out my Reviews on Trip Advisor!

The Sonora Room – Burrowing Owl Estate Winery  500 Burrowing Owl Place  Oliver, BC, V0H 1T1, Canada Okanagan – Similkameen C 








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