Chef Victor Bongo to Take on The Food Program at The Naramata Inn
It may not be wine touring season quite yet, but it’s just around the corner, and each year there’s a few more spots to both wine taste and dine at. For one, we’ve just heard there’s going to be a new face behind the fires at the Naramata Inn, Chef Victor Bongo. Knowing Chef Bongo, he’ll be sure to add some of his international flair to the region.
I first met Chef Bongo at the Canadian Chefs Congress in Duncan in 2010, where he was representing the Yukon Territory, and I’ve had the pleasure of sampling his cuisine many times. Once again at Kitsilano’s Establishment, and many times while attending a variety of events he was cooking at, including the launch of his latest cookbook.
Bongo has recently been cooking at a pop up at Rooftop in Vancouver, but he’s packing his knives and heading to Naramata to open Ambrosia Restaurant & Lounge come spring. Bongo describes the restaurants style as “Unique signature global fusion cuisine; plates packed with flavor and whimsy presented beautifully in a casual/semi-formal and welcoming environment.”
There will be three spaces and themes at the Inn and here’s a bit of information from the release:
Ambrosia Restaurant is located on the main floor in the classic and dining rooming seating 91 guests with a patio that seats 17 for a total experience of 108 seats. The semi-formal dining room has two seating’s at 6pm and 8:30pm. You’ll see plated meals consisting of appetizers ($16 – $22), Mains ($26 – $40) and Desserts ($8 – $12) along with a small classic cocktail list and a healthy wine list with unique wine library of local producers expertly matched.
Ambrosia Lounge will is housed on the lower floor and will showcase west-coast décor and a nouveau prohibition style wine lounge that serves up Chef’s signature global fusion tapas. Ambrosia Lounge seats 68 guests and will operate from 4pm to 12am daily with Happy Hour running 4pm to 6pm. The menu is designed for sharing, and will include medium tapas ($8 – $15), large tapas ($16 – $30) and desserts ($8 – $10) along with a unique artisan cocktail program, uniquely appointed wine list and craft beers program.
Ambrosia Patio seats 60 and operate from 11am to 7pm. When the lounge opens at 4pm the entire happy hour and lounge menu is available to guests on the patio. The Ambrosia Patio offers a unique BBQ Pit with Chef’s signature marinades and rubs at a cost of $25 per person and includes 1 portion of local artisan proteins from and unlimited gourmet sides.
Before the New Year I was invited to a menu sampling while the photographer did a photo shoot for the new menu. I did my best to capture some of what’s coming your way should you stop in at the Inn for a formal meal. This year’s resolutions involve working on my photography (again) so it was great to watch a pro and take note of some tips for the future.
Chilled White Asparagus and Truffle Bisque with black truffle, crab and avocado remoulade and golden sturgeon caviar.
Chipotle Braised Lamb Cheek Tortellacci with Scallops, roasted chanterelle mushrroms, Frangelico sauce, sweet pea and roasted jalapeno puree, summer truffle
Arctic Char and Golden Caviar Tartar with Avocado wasabi mousse, mango habanero sauce, toasted sesame seeds, miso and squid ink sauce and crispy nori
Pan Roasted Arctic Char with sweet pea mint risotto, lemongrass and ginger creme fraiche and candied lemon maple butternut squash
Moroccan Pistachio Crusted Lamb with plantain and habanero pepper puree, butter and red wine braised asparagus, Gruyere potato pave and lamb jus
We’ll be looking forward to stopping in at the Inn this season. Maybe we’ll have to spend a night there before our wedding. Pre-wedding honeymoons are a thing, aren’t’ they? Well they should be. It’s really a darling place to stay with its heritage-style rooms and amazing lake views. I’ve had the pleasure once at Christmas a few years back and always meant to return. We’re wishing Bongo luck on the opening and we’ll see him and his crew very soon.