Ca Va?

Ca Va Bistro Moderne has opened up in the former Kulu location in Fernwood village. If you've lamented the loss of fine dining options in Victoria, you might be pleased with this new addition. The food has a definitive 'nouvelle' design. Yes, that might read as small portions, but it should also read as careful attention to detail and high labour. Personally, I don't need to roll out of a restaurant after consuming enough food for a small family, at least not every time I eat out. The prices are in line with the quality and labour, but in my experience they might be better off clientele-wise, increasing the price and portion by 15-20%.

I had the quail with burnt orange and pistashio puree ($9) as a first course. It was complex and well composed. The pistashio puree was very good and neither hummusy nor peanut buttery, the burnt orange was a little flavour explosion and the quail was lovely and crispy. Patty had the scallops ($11). They were small. I didn't know you could buy such small scallops commercially, but they were tasty. We both agreed, this dish would have been better had it cost more and had more scallop represented. For our main courses, I had the short rib with celeriac puree and prunes ($23). It was elegant and full flavoured. Everything on the plate was perfect. The meat portion was fine, but it needed a little more garnish to be a crowd pleaser. Patty had the salmon ($21). He was delighted with the perfect medium doneness and the carefully executed 'crackling.' For dessert we had the chocolate 'souffle' ($8). I think they should take the quotations off the souffle and call it want it is, a chocolate fondant cake. Like most things at Ca Va, it was again perfectly executed and served with sour cherry ice cream. The ice cream was a little grainy, but the flavour was very nice.

The ambiance is fairly sophisticated and some minor changes has certainly brought us some of the cleanest aesthetic enhancements to the physical space for a long time. They will need to buy an air conditioner in the summer. I don't know why no previous owner has bought one, but if you've ever eaten there you know it's a sweatbox in the summer.

The wine list is simple, a little bit creative without being alienating and reasonably priced. The service was surprisingly good. Usually new restaurants, especially chef driven restaurants, tend to be short on front of house training. Our server was very professional.

This style of food is a tough go anywhere, and I think it's going to be a tougher go in Fernwood. If you want to see this kind of restaurant in Victoria, you should make a point of heading out and supporting Ca Va now, not in six months. 1296 Gladstone Ave 250-590-7982

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