Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar Reviewed November / December 2010
Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar sits high overlooking Turtle Cove
Each evening the shores of Grace Bay Beach draw throngs of eager spectators, a congregation of cameras at the ready in anticipation of Mother Nature’s spectacular nightly show. While there is no doubt a Grace Bay sunset is absolutely awe–inspiring, it’s certainly not the only show in town. Some of the best view seats in the house are found above and beyond Grace Bay Beach at Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar at the Miramar. Guaranteed to whet your appetite, the panoramic hilltop views are simply stunning and breathtaking – and after the sun seemingly plummets into the depths of the hills, the lights of Provo ignite, illuminating and embracing not only the infamous crescent of Grace Bay, but also Turtle Cove Marina, her admirable yachts and far–reaching sailboat masts, and the lovely, curvaceous stretch of the Blue Hills coastline.
Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Strudel
The rustic and nostalgic bygone days of Provo endure in the appealing hand cut native stonewalls that Magnolia has called home since 2002. Manifesting age and beauty with a distinctively stylish edge, it is a historic privilege afforded to only a few island–dining establishments. This is indeed the essence of al fresco dining; foxtail palms encircled in sparkling lights and lush tropical foliage, all oscillated by the luscious tropical breezes. Intimate and mellow, delight in a cocktail on the bar deck followed by dining on an expansive two–tiered deck allowing a virtually unobstructed sweeping view, with cosmopolitan touches like floor to ceiling drapes in flaming crimson and gold brushed plate chargers. Beautifully bound menus proffer an elegant selection of international cuisine with a compelling splash of Caribbean influences complemented by evening specials, all with an emphasis on ‘uncomplicated cuisine’ using fresh, local products, expertly prepared by Head Chef, Matt Gaynor. Owners, and long–time restaurateurs, Tracey and Gianni Caporuscio have honed dining into a fine art, making your evening perfectly seamless and absolutely memorable.
The wine list could better be described as an anthology, a comprehensive and impressive collection, indulging the wine connoisseur, and equally befitting those with a more cavalier approach. Each wine features its label, a brief description and even the Wine Spectator score.
Magnolia’s Appetiser Escargot
As we mused over the menu offerings a brief and delicious diversion appeared in the form of warm and crusty focaccia bread served with cruets of balsamic vinegar and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Don’t forget to check out the Chef’s Dinner Specials that also feature wine pairing suggestions.
If you’re like me, you want to maximize your menu choices as much as possible – and when it comes to appetisers at Magnolia, their Sample Platter allows you to do just that! For two or for three persons indulge in four Magnolia favourites: Chicken Spring Rolls – delightfully crunchy and served with an Asian Chili Dip that packed a palatable heat; Tuna Tartare – fabulously melt–in–your–mouth tender tuna diced with wasabi, capers, red onion balsamic vinegar and EVOO; crisp and delicious Sesame Tempura Shrimps with a to–die–for sweet and sour drizzle and the Grilled Vegetable and Fresh Mozzarella Stack – roasted peppers, zucchini and slices of creamy mozzarella finished with an intense and flavourful balsamic reduction. My favourite dining companion can’t resist Magnolia’s Escargot – sautéed in garlic butter with shaved parmesan and toast points. The Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Strudel earned top points for presentation – the flakey crust, concentrated mushroom flavour and house–made pesto equally impressed the palate.
Grilled Tiger Shrimp with Tomato and Coconut Salsa
A 2007 Pacific Rim Riesling from Washington State was a pleasurable complement to all of our starters – not typically an aficionado of a sweeter Riesling, this was agreeably dry with a wonderful tartness.
Main courses include Magnolia’s Signature Dish – Cracked Pepper and Sesame Crusted Rare Seared Tuna that has spawned a devoted and dedicated following while garnering new recruits each evening. Paired with a fantastic soy ginger sauce, this generous tuna fillet is expertly prepared and highly recommended.
After enviously observing his wife enjoying and raving about the Bacon Wrapped & Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin on a previous dining occasion, one diner had already pre–determined his culinary path for the evening. Wonderful bacon flavours; fork–tender pork and the accompanying tomato braised white beans added a ‘nice texture’ prompting my companion to confess, “You’re right dear.” Bearing in mind this particular phrase is seldom and rarely uttered! A Black Angus Tenderloin of Beef was to be my conduit to culinary cloud nine – expertly grilled medium–rare with a marvellous red wine jus and served with a superb selections of sides – roasted potatoes and a medley of wilted spinach, sautéed mushrooms and roasted red onions. A Homemade Pappardelle was one of three Chef’s Dinner Entrée Specials of the evening. Tender and perfectly al dente ribbons of fresh pasta were smothered in a fresh dill and absolutely creamy, rich lemon sauce and tossed with ‘shards’ of house–cured salmon. “I absolutely taste the salmon” was followed by an equally enthusiastic “this combination is fabulous”. My husband never misses the opportunity to indulge in rack of lamb, and Magnolia’s Oven Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb proffered flavours “one savours” – beautifully tender and flawlessly prepared medium–rare. Entrées also feature Grilled Tiger Shrimp with a Tomato and Coconut Salsa and a Pistachio Crusted Boneless Chicken Breast I simply had to return to experience. Moist and succulent chicken encrusted with ground pistachio nuts and served with a zesty and tangy spiced citrus sauce made this dish a tropical delight. Several vegetarian as well as gluten–free options are available in appetisers and entrées – sure to satisfy everyone in your party as well as a Kids Only menu.
Bacon Wrapped and Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
A memorable 2008 Momo Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand boasted intense dark cherry and mocha – a surprisingly hearty Pinot Noir that proved to be ‘meaty’ enough for lamb and beef; yet absolutely lovely with the pork and salmon dishes.
Decadent desserts include Vanilla Roasted Strawberries – the House Favourite, fresh strawberries roasted with Madagascar vanilla beans and red wine, served warm over vanilla ice cream and finished with a sweet red wine reduction. The Flourless Chocolate and Ginger Torte with homemade lime sorbet was an evening Special – dense and flavourful, the combination of chocolate, ginger and lime was divine. Treat yourself to Magnolia’s Homemade Sorbet Vodka – two scoops finished with – you guessed it – a shot of chilled vodka. While we’re on the subject of ‘drinkable’ desserts, the Liqueur coffees – specifically the Magnolia with Baileys and Kahlúa garnered rave reviews – while I requested one of my favourite after–dinner libations – Bambarra Reserve in a brandy snifter. You can sense those inimitable vanilla and caramel aromas a mile away – and while I thoroughly enjoyed my drinkable dessert – my dining companions repeatedly commented on also taking pleasure in Bambarra’s enduring aromas!
Our compliments to the chef, and to our hosts for a truly memorable dining experience and a visually enchanting evening. While our appetites for cuisine were now quite satiated, it was unanimously agreed that we could gaze out endlessly at Magnolia’s exclusive and ineffable views, and never be full!
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