The Rosemeade

429 Lampson St 412-7673

NEW - April 9, 09
The Rosemeade Bistro and Lounge
429 Lampson Rd, Victoria BC, tel:
250-388-4353 Bistro Tues-Sat 530pm-9pm Lounge open daily 4pm-10pm

The Rosemeade, along with chef Richard Luttman, has re-opened under new management and a less formal approach. The menu is definitively more 'loungy,' but still with lots of interesting and tasty looking menu selections like a chorizo burger, chicken liver and toast, halibut with gnocci and as always, oysters. While I don't think the new incarnation is going to bring me back to the heyday Rosemeade glory, I'm willing to compromise as long as I have the opportunity to enjoy Luttman's food.

Review Update - December 20, 2007

The Rosemeade has undergone a lot of changes over the past couple years, including ownership changes and the loss of several key and uber-talented staff people.

I've visited several times during these changes and all in all the food will always be fantastic and innovative as long Richard Luttman is in the kitchen. That said, some of glitter is gone with competent, but not less exceptional front of house staffing.

The Rosemeade will easily retain position in my top three food destinations and maybe even number one for food creativity, but they've lost much of the energy that previously existed in their front of house.


We love going to the Rosemeade. There is no place else in town where we so consistently receive exceptional service, value and culinary accomplishment. Sure, they've gotten to know us a bit and that contributes at least to the level of service, but after some discussion and observation of other tables we concluded that we weren't having a unique experience.

I am hard pressed to find anything worthy of criticising at the Rosemeade, so when Patty and I arrived to find the front desk empty, I was relieved to know that I would have at least one, albeit minor complaint. Shortly after, our server, Leslie, whipped past us with some orders and enthusiastically directed us to the fireplace lounge, until she could provide us with her full attention. She returned a couple of minutes later with two glasses of sparkling wine. That's a welcome! We enjoyed our drinks at the fireplace and chatted about the wine list.

When we finished our drinks, Leslie took us to our table, returning a few moments later to take our appetizer orders. We assigned her the task of pairing the wine. She returned with a flight of wine for us to sample. The winner, no doubt, was the Joie - A Noble Blend. I love the opportunity to try new wines and Leslie had all the anecdotes to go with it.

My veal loin carpaccio ($15) arrived accompanied by a roasted salsify and parsley salad, raw tuna-olive dressing. I'd never had veal carpaccio before, but among carpaccios, it was maybe the best I'd ever had. I especially liked the balance of the dressing, too often I find the aioli-style dressings that accompany carpaccio to be overwhelming. The tuna-olive dressing was extremely flavourful with the creaminess of the emulsion and the salt of anchovies - serving to compliment, not dominate the meat. I'd never even heard of salsify (a lot like celeriac), but it made a nice fresh accompaniment.

Patty started with the pea soup with ham hock perogy. The perogy was ingenious, with the saltiness of the ham being the perfect compliment for the freshness of the pea. It's bright green colour was testament to the exceptional pea flavour - it was like eating a fresh pea - but better.

For our mains I had black pepper dusted venison loin, horseradish gnocchi, dried vine fruit and verjus sauce ($30). The venison was perfectly cooked and I was delighted by the strong horseradish flavour of the gnocchi. Patty had the poached Alberta beef tenderloin, Roquefort whipped potato, oxtail and onion broth with pickled beet salad ($30).  We didn't know what to expect with the poaching of the beef and the effect was subtle in execution. Patty seemed startled by how strong the cheese flavour was in the potato. He enjoyed it and appreciated the balsy'ness of the chef. He was also delighted with the oxtail, commenting on the attention to detail and prep time required. Leslie paired the main courses with the Vasse Felix Shiraz - a very indulgent wine, with big legs and tonnes of fruit, it served our red meat well.

For dessert we shared a trio - panna cotto, rice pudding and fennel cake. The fennel cake was interesting, but the pudding took the prize with perfect rice doneness.  The portioning of all the courses was great, leaving us full, but not uncomfortably so.

As always, we stumbled away from the Rosemeade high on culinary delight.  I'm always shocked that the Rosemeade isn't an expensive restaurant. Sure, it's not cheap, but you'll easily spend the same amount in an average downtown restaurant for a fraction of the quality. Truly a special occasion restaurant, if you ate here all the time, it would spoil you irreconcilably.

Also worth noting, The Rosemeade takes reservations by OpenTable

 Reviewed: April 3 2006


Review August 11 2005

I'm sold.

I had a favourite restaurant in Victoria, but I think I may have changed my mind (maybe not, but darn close). I just came home from an evening at the Rosemeade and am in a state of culinary ecstasy.

I was a little spoiled have gone with a regular patron (Ryan) who demands a certain degree of special treatment (liberal dosage of alcohol). That said, both the food and service were exceptional. Both our waiter and manager gave us great food and wine recommendation in a very congenial fashion. They were right on the mark in all respects. I thought it was especially funny, when our waiter Chad, showed up with our wine glasses for our mains -- before we'd selected the wine - he already had something in mind. I appreciated his assertiveness, usually I wouldn't - but he had confidence.

The whole meal demanded my utmost attention with an innovative variety of flavours and accompaniments. Those efforts were complimented by attention to portion size, thereby leaving me feeling satisfied, but not overwhelmed after several courses and a whole lotta wine. We were served yummy little salmon tartar amuse-bouches, which I always appreciate when I'm settling into a big meal. I picked the fois gras ($25) for my first course - it was nothing less than perfect. Seared crisp on the top with a crab apple jelly and liquorice oil. On the manager's suggestion I paired it with a glass of the 2003 Brandenburg #3 from the Venturi-Schulze vineyard on Vancouver Island. A sweet and rich wine it was a great match. Ryan started with a trio of Gaspacho ($9), one consommé, one yellow tomato with avocado and a fire roasted tomato. A simple starter, the trio worked well as a series. On my suggestion, Ryan paired with the Zanatta Damasco, another Vancouver Island wine.

For my main I had fresh argula paparadelle, with lobster and truffle beurre blanc. First off, I really enjoyed eating lobster without having to deal with the shell, but more importantly it all tasted (and looked) great. Everything was super fresh and the flavours were light without being heavy. The server's pick - I had a Hinne Valley Chardonnay with it. Ryan had the beef tenderloin (cooked exactly medium rare, as requested), with fingerling potatoes, caperberry and chorizo salad, and port syrup. I thought it was a bit tart, but Ryan was, "loving it." Also the server's pick, Ryan had the Mt Boucherie Syrah.

I skipped dessert and ordered a port for dessert. They didn't have what I wanted, but offered me a nice substitute; that said and to be honest, I was a bit tipsy and forgot to write down the precise name. It was great though. Ryan had another 'trio,' this time dessert ($11) - a burnt lemon tart, espresso cake and plum tarte tatin. He seemed very happy with it and since I had to taste to too, I can concur.   

The Rosemeade is the kind of restaurant that reminds you of how mediocre other restaurants can be. The food quality was extremely high and the menu thoughtfully prepared with an ample amount of culinary creativity. The staff appeared to take a similar level of enthusiasm with regard to service.

The atmosphere is above and beyond what you can expect in Victoria. A casual blend of Olde England and boutique hotel  - has that distinctively modern European feel.

I hate to be cliché (but sometimes it's called for and the Rosemeade is in deepest Esquimalt), the Rosemeade is a hidden treasure.  

 Reviewed: August 11 2005