If you’re visiting the Whistler Blackcomb mountains this winter, a newly revamped Christine’s has finally opened. Through it’s summer renovations, Christine’s has been updated with a modern, sleek new look with an accompanying new menu and chef. I could make a joke here about taking elevated fine dining to a whole new level – but it truly is a breathtaking experience. Located right at the top of Blackcomb, it boasts stunning panoramic views both inside and on the patio along with fabulous dishes. Chef Steve Ramey, previously Sous-Chef and responsible for menu development at world renowned Hawksworth is head chef and brings his expertise to this dining experience.
The menu at Christine’s revolves around local ingredients and being sustainable – using the Ocean Wise seafood program. All the food brought up on the mountain (which is mind boggling to imagine delivering and receiving orders mountaintop) come from the region – including Pemberton potatoes, BC wines from the Okanagan.
The service is what you would expect from a full service, fine dining restaurant without the pretentiousness – which reflects Whistler’s laidback and friendly nature.
At the media tasting, we sampled three dishes, a BBQ duck salad, Soy braised beef shortrib and a quince and walnut crostata.
The BBQ Duck Salad is served with green papaya with black pepper, hoisin, sesame, citrus and topped with crispy taro. I absolutely loved this dish. The BBQ duck (which is hiding under all the vegetables, I swear!) was crispy and slightly sweet. There was just enough of the duck to balance out the crunchy and bright flavours from the papaya, carrots and dressing. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
My main course is the Soy braised beef short rib served with napa cabbage, charred scallion, roast carrot, king oyster mushroom and peanut. The short rib is incredibly tender and full of flavour. Not much effort had to be put in to pull apart the ribs with a fork. The incredibly concentrated soy flavour was consistent throughout the dish – so much so, I mistook the king oyster mushroom for a piece of short rib that might’ve fallen wayside until I bit into it. It was a fabulous dish.
Finally, to finish off our meal, we were treated to the Quince and walnut crostata served with smoked vanilla gelato and toasted oats. I like the use of quince in this dish (which I feel is often neglected and underestimated in cooking/baking), but I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if it was more flaky and easy to cut through (which, I know, isn’t crostata-like at all). I thoroughly enjoyed the interesting use of smoke flavour in the vanilla gelato – it gave it such an interesting aftertaste that I won’t soon forget.
Christine’s is located in The Rendezvous Lodge – which took part in the renovation during the summer. The lodge itself has upgraded it’s dishes entirely – no more “chicken strips and burgers” – but a diverse array of different items to fill you up after a day of hitting the slopes. You have your choice of Japanese ramen, Thai inspired dishes, a Mexican taqueria and naturally raised, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken and beef burgers along with Ocean Wise salmon sandwiches.
There are many choices up on the mountain that are now quite reflective of the diversity of our region – and I cannot wait to get back up again to try more dishes from the menu. I was thinking about who would this restaurant best cater to – obviously tourists and the Whistler locals, but I think it has enough going for it that it could definitely be a special destination dining experience – I wouldn’t mind coming up here during the winter to show off to visiting relatives or having a special anniversary dinner with my husband!
Disclosure: Please note that I was invited by Whistler Blackcomb for a media luncheon, but all opinions are my own.