Last month, my friends took me to NOtaBLE for a celebratory dinner last month. With their little one in tow, we managed to get reservations for an early dinner on a Friday evening. This was my third visit to NOtaBLE. I’d been there twice previously, once for their very first dinner service and also again for lunch some months later. I was surprised at how family/children friendly this restaurant was. We were seated at a booth, which was perfect for placing the portable seat for the baby which they had provided for us. The restaurant was packed and had a line up out the door. I was surprised at how busy it was at 5pm on a Friday evening. Personally, since I dislike waiting hours for a table, I’d much prefer to secure a reservation before attempting to go even though the reservations are sometimes hard to come by at NOtaBLE as they apparently reserve half their seating for walk-in customers.
We started off sharing an order of the Saltspring Island Mussels & “frites” ($16; add $3 for crusty bread). The mussels were prepared in a delicious, spicy tomato and sausage broth. I really enjoyed the mussels as they were fresh, flavourful, and perfectly cooked. The “frites” were crispy, well-seasoned and served with sides of ketchup and housemade saffron aioli. I was surprised at the generous portion and could totally see myself having this as a main for dinner on my next visit if I were wanting a lighter meal.
For our mains, my friend M and I both decided to order the Monthly burger inspiration ($17), which was a beef ribeye & chuck burger that was topped with rosemary back bacon, steak butter, aged cheddar, and anchiote mayonnaise. For our sides, we had a choice of house-cut fries, artisan greens or NOtaBLE’s daily soup creation. Since we had already had some fries with the mussels, we both chose to try the daily soup creation which happened to be a Curried Cauliflower soup finished with a raisin raita and slivered almonds. Personally, the soup was the least favourite part of the meal. I found the soup to be too sweet for my liking and not enough saltiness to balance things out.
The burger itself was just ok. I didn’t find the beef to be as flavourful and juicy as I had hoped. I was a little disappointed as I had high hopes for the burger since it sounded so good on paper. For myself, I found the portion to be huge and very filling. After sharing the mussels as an app, I had trouble finishing both the soup and the burger. Overall, it certainly wasn’t very memorable and far from being the best burger that I ever ate.
My friend S ordered the Wood-grilled organic Spring salmon ($28), which was served with a parsnip and goat cheese purée and a ratatouille vinaigrette along with a large dollop of saffron aioli. Normally, I shy away from ordering salmon at restaurants because I like my salmon underdone and I find most places serve the fish cooked all the way through and some. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this salmon was cooked perfectly as it was slightly underdone so it was very moist and juicy. All the flavours on the dish worked really well together. After tasting this dish, I was really wishing I had ordered this instead of the burger.
For dessert, we shared the Warm Carrot Cake ($9), which contained grilled pineapple and coconut and was served with a scoop of vanilla gelato. The dessert tasted ok but didn’t exactly have a wow factor. At least the cake was very moist and flavourful. Based on how it was described on the menu, we at first thought there would be slices of grilled pineapple served with the dessert instead of the pineapple being incorporated into the cake. I actually think a slice of grilled pineapple served alongside the cake would actually have jazzed up this dessert. Overall, I would say this dessert was average. I’d probably choose to try something else on my next visit.
Overall, our dining experience at NOtaBLE was very good. Our server was very patient and accommodating. It’s nice to know this is one of the places I could go to with my friends for gourmet food while with their kids in tow.
NOtaBLE – The Restaurant
4611 Bowness Road NW