The food is as polished as a monocle and smart as the fox who wears it at this cozy coast–side restaurant and bakery.
Something’s up in North Saanich’s sleepy Canoe Cove, and it’s not just the tide. Out of a plain box of a waterfront café – so unassuming that you have to circle around to the side of the building to find the washroom – chefs and IRL couple Ross Bowles and Tracie Zahavich have devised a menu inspired by modern European cuisine: elevated, comforting food that nods to tradition.
As unadorned as the room is, with its Shaker–style simplicity and antique cookware decor, there’s no hiding the kitchen’s fine dining pedigree: Bowles was sous chef under chef Rob Cassels at Victoria’s Saveur Restaurant and executive chef at the River Café in Calgary. He met Zahavich, a fellow Albertan, when she turned out to be his senior, as demi pastry cook, at Gordon Ramsay’s three–Michelin–starred resto in London.
That pedigree is apparent in his plump, sweet and super–fresh B.C. spot prawns reposing on a blanket of roasted red peppers dotted with crispy polenta croutons. One bite of the symphony of silkiness, briny umami and crunch and I know I’ll follow him anywhere. Ditto for her desserts, which range from precision–engineered building blocks of shortcrust, hazelnut praline and chocolate parfait bar to a comforting Eton mess. Elevated, but comforting, right? It’s the Fox & Monocle way: She’s his fox, and he, with his insatiable curiosity, is her monocle. Together, they’re ready to conquer the kitchen and beyond.
Don’t miss: The daytime café and bakery to sample as much of Tracie Zahavich’s delicious handiwork as possible.