Born of the desire to continue the experience of timeless hospitality embodied created and offered by the award-winning Magnolia Hotel & Spa, The Courtney Room delights locals and visitors alike with delicious local cuisine and exemplary service.
Offering a classically modern dining space that promises genuine hospitality, designer Sharon Bortolotto (BBA Design) created an elegant room where the old world meets the new by taking cues from the old grand dame hotels of Paris. The room features high ceilings and bistro-style lighting to create a casually elegant ambiance complimented by commissioned abstract expressionist artwork by Blu Smith.
The entry is highlighted by a classically inspired tiled entrance and chevron patterned wood floor, which lead to a brasserie-style velvet banquette seating and the main bar, which is regally clad with an elegant gray marble showcasing a custom glass station and illuminated back bar. The central bar and gathering place is a black granite installation framed between two panelled wood columns with white marble chevron details. Upstairs is a slightly more intimate area which provides an elevated dining experience in a space with white tablecloths and a glassed-in wine room. Vintage-style lighting, brass accents and bronze beaded curtains illuminate the room.
IN THE KITCHEN
Driven by an interest in the emerging, hyper-local food scene in Victoria, Chef Brian Tesolin joined The Courtney Room team in 2019. Over the years, he has elevated Victoria’s dining scene with menus that reflect his knowledge and experience garnered at both Vancouver’s award-winning Hawksworth Restaurant and Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa in Cambridge, ON.
Drawing inspiration from classic cooking techniques focusing on Pacific Northwest cuisine, Tesolin’s seasonal and special menus offer the best ingredients from the Island’s terroir. Menus include fresh produce from local farm partners (Littlest Acres Farms, Square Root Organics, and the skills of wild food forager Lance Staples). The dishes are ingredient-driven and built on a foundation of classic European techniques that celebrate the bounty of the Pacific Northwest and showcase local growers and products.
BY THE GLASS
The Courtney Room Bar Program focuses on the ebbs and flows of coastal offerings. The team thoroughly enjoys the research and art that goes into pairing locally foraged goods with the intent to showcase fresh ingredients from the Island’s bioregion through a variety of complimentary spirits (Ampersand Distillery, Sheringham Distilleries, Victoria Distillers), in-house ferments, and the experimentation of the bar team. As part of new cocktail season, a collaboration with a local tattoo artist resulted in a beautiful new menu of unique beverages with an astrological bent.
Featured is the ONYX—an otherworldly combination of Antidote Black Gin, Antica Torino Amaro, house vermouth rouge, Oloroso Sherry, 24K gold, and lemon oil. The Wine Program reflects the food philosophy. Selections are based on recognized classics alongside lesser-known regions and producers, all focusing on quality and a sense of time and place.
Being part of the Magnolia Hotel & Spa, the aim is to appeal to visiting guests and be a wine and food destination for the local community. The extensive wine selection, curated by Wine Director Colin Davidson, includes offerings from local vineyards Unsworth, Averill Creek, Sea Star, and Rathjen. For those preferring a local brew with their meal, available are a selection by Four Winds, Driftwood, Yellow Dog, and Ile Sauvage.
MEALS TO REMEMBER
From brunch to a plant-based Chef’s Tasting Menu for dinner, The Courtney Room delivered on a multitude of dishes to satisfy even the most selective diner. The morning’s hot breakfast of steel-cut oats, hand-crafted granola, fresh fruits, and a selection of non-dairy milks, were portioned perfectly.
Early afternoon crudite of crisp seasonal veggies, including crunchy heirloom carrots with the smoothest hummus, was accompanied by the avocado toast topped with kale, tomatoes, and radish slices. For our evening meal, we went off-menu at the suggestion of Ronette Nyhan, Director of Sales & Marketing.
The meal began with an heirloom tomato salad with fresh herbs, edible flowers, and tangy pickles, followed by battered foraged mushrooms with zesty hummus, dense house-made falafel balls, golden and red beet salad, crispy rice cakes in a savoury sauce, and blistered shishito peppers on a bed of deep-fried potatoes.
The Courtney Room honours the traditions of great hotel bars by holding strong roots in classic cocktails yet continuing to push the boundaries by exploring the nature of The Pacific Northwest.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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