Beautiful scenery, good dessert, nice wines with incredibly slow service and very overpriced and terrible food. That would describe our experience on Thursday, July 1st. My mother and I had reservations for lunch at 1:30 pm. We had pre-paid $100 for the lunch (A "deal" with the Shaw Festival for 2 tickets to a show and 2 lunches at Hillebrand for $280) and still had to pay another $15 each for the wine pairings. We also could only order from a special "Shaw Lunch" 3 course menu. The first and last courses were set, and we had to choose between a hamburger or unnamed fish "du jour" for the entree. The first course was a "roasted red pepper" soup which tasted a bit like canned cream of tomato soup with a mini spoonful of crab and dot of caviar. The baguette and walnut bread were good, but the purple "wine butter" was a miss. It took over an hour for our second course to arrive, and we were a bit skeptical that it would ever arrive after we saw the table next to us receive their food and then have it taken away by the servers just minutes later as the servers had given them the wrong food! Another server came out moments later with two plates, walked around the patio looking at each table, and then returned back to the kitchen. It was scary!
We both chose the "fish" and were horrified to see a pitiful piece of "whitefish" on a soggy bed of bok choy, green peas, and pea stuffed ravioli. Besides looking terrible, I am allergic to peas! There was nothing on the menu to say peas were in the dish. The kitchen was nice enough to fix me another plate sans peas and pea ravioli, substituting more bok choy and mini gnochi. The bland and monochrome dish was tasteless, watery and so dissappointing.
The only saving grace was the nice dessert which helped take the awful taste away. I do recommend the Cabernet Frank Ice Wine that was paired with dessert. The whole experience took more than 3 hours, most of which was spent sitting in the hot weather, trying to move out of the sun, and find someone who could refill our empty water glasses.
Next time, I would only do a wine tasting or tour and skip the worst dining experience of our stay.
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