Saturday, February 04, 2017

Eating Up the Hill: The #AlternativeFacts Taste of British Columbia at the Parliamentary Restaurant

Every couple of Fridays, The Parliamentary Restaurant allows the unwashed staffer masses inside for a buffet. And when I heard that last Friday's buffet menu was "Flavours of Canada: British Columbia" I, as a BCer, was obligated to make the trek up the Hill.

This is the second in what I surmise will be an ongoing series of provincial-themed menus -- you may recall the Taste of Newfoundland (but not Labrador) a little while back. I didn't have the authority to comment on the authenticity of that one, but as a BCer in Ottawa, I can definitely say this was not the flavour of my British Columbia.

Let's take a look at the menu. Curried veggie noddle salad? OK, we do have a large Indian population so that's a nod in the right direction. House-made granola? Now you're trafficking in stereotypes. Sushi? OK, I'll give you that one -- although you can't say California Rolls without California.

Most of the breakfast stuff is just standard breakfast stuff. Pancakes aren't particularly British Columbian. And putting smoked salmon on the eggs benny isn't really trying too hard.

Perhaps the closest to BC cuisine was the "side stripe prawn and oats, risotto style" which was delicious, even if I've never had it on the left coast.  And the Huckleberry Crisp was a good nod to the Okanagan, even though it had the consistency of soup. As for the cinnamon sticky buns, which I enjoyed, while I do have find childhood memories of the Aunt Bob's Cinnamon Rolls at the Driftwood Mall, we also had A&W in BC and that doesn't make it the flavour of BC.

If it was just a buffet without aspirations of reflecting regional cuisine, I'd give it a 6/10 -- where was the metaphorical beef, y'all? But as it was supposed to reflect the cuisine of the greatest province the grace of God put on the face of the Earth -- and failed badly -- it merits just 3/10.

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