No. 48: Agrius
ALL GREAT MEALS BEGIN WITH THE BREAKING OF BREAD, DIETARY TRENDS BE DAMNED.
At Agrius in downtown Victoria, a superlative basket filled with crusty wheat loaf, chewy boule and dense dark rye is the foundation of this extreme farm-to-table restaurant, where more than 90 per cent of all ingredients are certified organic and sourced micro-locally from single suppliers on Vancouver Island. Appointed in red subway tile and zinc countertops, the casual dining room and take-out counter are owned by Cliff Leir, who bakes his hand-milled, wild-fermented loaves in wood-fired brick ovens at nearby Fol Epi. Originally planned as a patisserie, Agrius grew almost by happenstance into a full-service restaurant that boasts its own full-time butcher (Paul van Trigt) and has taken the West Coast by storm.
Executive chef Sam Harris (formerly of Stage Wine Bar) deploys the Slow Food ethos with exemplary French technique: roasted black trumpets and Savoy cabbage are sautéed in a satiny sauerkraut butter sauce; non-traditional soupe de poissons is made extra-grainy with smoked trout bones; and meltingly tender duck confit is crisped in golden skin. Metchosin-raised lamb tartare mixed with preserved Meyer lemon and tossed with sourdough croutons sautéed in rendered lamb fat is a must-try when available. Paired with Cowichan Valley wines and superb B.C. craft cocktails, it’s all surprisingly sophisticated and delightfully wholesome, right
Monday to Friday 11:00 AM until 2:30 PM
Wednesday to Saturday
5:30 PM until 10:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM
IMAGES COURTESY OF AGRIUS