It is just a small restaurant on a street in downtown Victoria.
Brasserie L'Ecole is located at 1715 Government Street, across the street from Silk Road, another glorious experience, when you have some time to spend in a small piece of heaven.
It's not the most noticeable storefront on the street.
There's a frosted glass door with the owners' names etched in the frosting.
Chef Sean Brennan and Maitre d'Hotel Marc Morrison are partners in this gem that has been nourishing their dedicated clientele for over 6 years.
Inside the front door, there are a dozen or more small tables along the left side of the restaurant.
On the right side, there is a bar.
Order a glass of white wine, specifically the 2007 Domaine du Censy, Haut-Censy Muscadet Sèvre & Maine.
It is spectacular.
It is also one of the cheapest wine on the menu, and it is delicious.
Graze your way through the appetizers on the menu.
Talk with the servers.
Have a conversation with Steve, as he's pouring a chilled white wine into your glass.
Chat with one of the owners, Marc Morrison. He's in and out from behind the bar, all night long.
Here's what we order...
The Soupe de la Maison avec Gruyere Crouton turns out to be French Onion. I love French Onion soup and I make a spectacular version. This is better by far than my own.
Heaping with melted and crisped cheese and hot as the proverbial hubs of hell, this soup is steaming enough to make my nose run like a mad thing. My grandmother always said a good soup has to do that, so I think she would have heartily approved.
Frites with parmesan, garlic, parsley and truffle oil...stellar.
Ragley Farm Organic Spring Greens with Lemon and Truffle Vinaigrette is a delicate and fresh salad, crisp and cool on my tongue.
Terrine de la Maison avec Celeriac Remoulade et Grape Moutarde, chilled to perfection, consists of coarsely-shredded meat in a small, delicious bit of gelled broth.
We save room for the crème de la crème of Crème Brûlées. The esthetician at the spa earlier in the day recommended this, telling us it is the best in the city.
I order a pot of Silk Road's Canton Orange tea. It tastes like no tea I've ever tasted before...like Earl Grey on steroids. After a few sips, I decide I actually love the muscular, bold flavor of this tea!
The Crème Brûlées are delivered.
Smacking the crystaline sugar topping with the back of my spoon to break through to the creamy inside, I notice that the creamed part is deep golden, almost orange in colour.
Tasting my first spoonful is a moment.
Silky, rich, creamy and deeply vanilla-flavoured, it truly is the best I've ever tasted.
After my little bowl is licked clean, I am stuffed beyond the beyond.
I would kill for another little bowl of Crème Brûlée.
I dare not, because I would never be able to eat it.
It's time for a discrete trip to the toilette.
As I expect, even this little room has been given graceful touches...a small stack of real terry hand towels, a lavendar silk box holds kleenex and a vase of fresh flowers completes the side table in the bathroom. Several posters and paintings decorate the walls, making this pit stop more than worth while.
The next time you are in Victoria, call for a reservation in plenty of time. They book up very early.
Or, go around 5:20 P.M. and grab a stool at the bar. I actually like that better than sitting at a table. We visit with a very cool couple also sitting at the bar and we have an enchanting conversation with them.
By 6:00 P.M., the restaurant is full to the rafters, bustling with people talking, food being served and wine being poured. This is a happy crowd, definitely coming to L'Ecole for a great meal and good company.
As the evening sun filters in through the casement windows over the front door, I sit in the golden haze that spills over the heads of the bar crowd and I think to myself, " This is more than worth every penny!"
Thank you, Brasserie L'Ecole, for the most delicious food and clearly the most enjoyable ambience in Victoria!
"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~ Luciano Pavarotti
1715 Government Street