Certainly, one of the highlights of our recent trip to Ucluelet was dining at Pluvio – voted one of the Top 10 Best New Canadian Restaurants (2019) – as per En Route magazine. Chef Warren Barr trained at Le Crocodile in Vancouver and has worked at the Wickaninnish Inn (Tofino) and the Inn at Bay Fortune (PEI).
Pluvio (Italian for rain), is located in an unpretentious little building in the heart of Ucluelet. It has a few quirky policies – you won’t be seated prior to your reservation time – not even if you are 7 minutes early, as we learned. You are required to choose the menu you want – 3 course or tasting – in advance when you make your reservation. Bar-height seating is meant to allow guests a view of the kitchen and admire the preparation of all of the creations.
Once you get past the red-tape, Pluvio offers a delightful show – a constantly changing menu with dishes that focus on what is seasonally available and local. Our menu featured chanterelle mushrooms, duck, seafood, (octopus, shrimp, scallops), fresh blackberries, nuts, cheeses, farm fresh produce, edible flowers and herbs, truffles and the most delectable corn bread anywhere. Everything that was brought to the table was home-made – even a hot-sauce.
We were attended by delightful servers – well-versed in the nuances of each dish and the wine varietals. The tasting menu can be accompanied with a wine tasting. Our server, Valerie, was delightful and knowledgeable.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the tasting menu that we enjoyed at Pluvio – a highly recommended experience and one of the best restaurants on Vancouver Island, without a doubt.
The meal started with a few surprises to whet the appetite including tuna sashimi, (that was uncovered in a dramatically “smoking” dish), tasty tartlets, delectable breads and a chef’s reinvention of a hotdog made with octopus and christened a “humdog”.
Assembling the marinated fish lettuce wraps with the garlic aioli, pickled vegetables and smoked almonds added some playfulness and fun to the dinner. The chanterelle mushrooms were definitely one of the highlights.
Above: Yarrow Meadows duck breast with burnt onion jus. Avonlea cheddar waffle with truffle, apple and thyme and perfectly grilled scallops.
The sweet course featured lavender shortbread, blackberries, walnuts and white chocolate mousse.
Wine pairings included:
A Sauvignon Blanc from Little Engine Winery in Naramata, BC
A German Gewürztraminer from Endele & Moll
A superb red – Into the Darkest Woods 2020, Rigour & Whimsy winery, Okanagan Falls, BC
and the amazing Brandenburg No. 3, Venturi Schultze dessert wine from the Cowichan Valley. (OMG!)
If you visit the Ucluelet/Tofino area, you have to dine at Pluvio. Make your reservations well in advance (a couple of months may be needed.) Oh, and bring your wallet!
PLUVIO Restaurant and Rooms
1714 Peninsula Road
Ucluelet, BC, V0R 3A0