First Look: The Breakwater

Comox Valley

Breakwater – just think about the word for a moment. For me it conjures up thoughts of rough seas buffered by a calm sanctuary offering much needed relief from a storm. For the serene Kingfisher Resort & Spa their newly identified restaurant The Breakwater also speaks of the logging history of Royston. The warm, inviting dining room overlooks the sea via tall windows offering a protected glimpse of what the old time loggers and seamen had to contend with many years ago. Around the room are lovely commanding black and white stills of the wrecks which formed the breakwater evoking a feeling of security and highlighting the room with drama.

 Top Phot: Bottom Left: Hollie Wood Oysters done two ways. Top Left: Denman Oyster. Right: Locals Crab & Shrimp Stack

With this new identity comes an important appointment as well. After four years as sous chef, Philippe Gagne (formerly of Vancouver’s’ CinCin, Salt Spring Island’s Hasting House, and The Rosemeade of Victoria) now heads up The Breakwater as their new Executive Chef. Philippe hails from a small farming community in Quebec, bringing with him a love of rustic and locally inspired cuisine. He had no trouble convincing me of that as I sat down to enjoy his well thought out four course meal.


As the muted conversation of other diners wafted in the background, his eye-catching amuse bouche landed in front of me and my eyes feasted with abandon on two plump Hollie Wood oysters fresh from the local waters of Denman Island. The deep cup of this particular brand of oyster displayed creamy pearl oyster flesh topped with a dainty fresh honeydew, watermelon radish and cucumber brunoise – all of which left me wanting more!  Next came an artfully plated trio; crunchy manila clam and hand peeled baby shrimp fritter, quinoa salad with caramelized grapefruit, and a Dungeness Crab roll with tempura pickled beets and spicy ponzu. If dinner had ended here, I’d still be a happy diner.


Tannadice-Farm-double-smoked-chopChef Philippe likes to do everything he can in-house so he presented a juicy pink Tannadice Farm double smoked pork chop atop a sweet corn polenta ball filled with smoked fromage frais for his main course complimented by a dried fruit and white balsamic gastrique. I appreciated him veering away from the overused dark chocolate dessert and instead presented a to-die-for milk chocolate pave riddled with crunchy salted praline and caramel to finish.


The next day I was lucky enough to participate in an amazing culinary tour by Island Gourmet Trails and owner/chef Gaetane Palardy, along with Karma Brophy of Feast Concierge & Media. The wide range of talented purveyors we visited is all the inspiration needed to keep the menu fresh and exciting at the restaurant. It was a perfect end to The Breakwaters’ story and chef Philippe’s telling of it.


Check out the May/June issue of EAT Magazine under The Buzz, Nanaimo & North for a more detailed description of the tour.  250-897-1178 250-650-1956 250-668-3663


—By Kirsten Tyler





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