A VETERAN OF DESTINATION RESTAURANT KITCHENS in remote coastal towns (like The Inn at Bay Fortune, in Souris, P.E.I.; and The Pointe, at the Wickaninnish Inn, in Tofino, B.C.), chef Warren Barr set out on his own in 2019 — for the even less well-trodden fishing village of Ucluelet (population: 1,717). There, amidst that handful of locals, and the region’s customary mix of campers and hard-core cold-water surfers, Barr and his wife, Lily Verney-Downey, set up this small, charming hotel and its overachieving restaurant. The setting is warm and casual, down to the bare wood tables and earth-tone plates. The service, managed by Verney-Downey, is highly polished, and the food likewise. On the whimsical side of the culinary offer, you’ll want to try the “humdog” — grilled marinated Humboldt squid with fermented turnip, garnished with crispy shallots and shrimp chili aïoli in a mini brioche bun. For serious dining, there is a three-course prix fixe, as well as a five-course tasting menu. The food is hyperseasonal and sourcing is committedly local, from the forage to the farmed citruses and truffles. Barr’s kitchen makes everything possible in-house — baking, fermentations, preserves, you name it. In summer, you might enjoy sake kasu–brined humpback shrimp escabeche with radish, apple and salmonberry; in winter, a hearty dish of grilled prairie-sourced grass-fed beef short ribs with charred onion, fermented cranberries, local mushrooms, homemade sausage rolls and kvass jus. The wine list is heavy on B.C.’s finest, but not at the expense of the old world.
Chef Warren Barr produces some of the most exciting and finely crafted dishes in Canada.”
Photography by: Jordyn Giesbrecht