If the gastronome Balzac had happened into Bacchus Bistro at Domaine de Chaberton winery, chances are he’d still be there. In Langley, B.C., this French-influenced bistro is an affordable fine dining oasis. Visitors walk through the winery courtyard to the bistro, while succulent and savory aromas greet patrons on their way toward the restaurant.

Statically located near the maître d’ station sits the dessert cart, groaning under the weight of delicate-looking, cream-and butter- laden handmade desserts. It took considerable willpower to resist the temptation that dessert tray provoked. Floor-to ceiling windows provide a view to the adjacent vineyard. Tables are close enough to be cozy, yet the room feels spacious and quite comfortable.

Lunch commenced with a $9.95 (Canadian) Duck Rillette, a shredded pate served with caramelized onion jam, Dijon mustard and toasted brioche. The intriguing combination of duck cooked in its own fat and lightly seasoned with herbs, along with toasted rich brioche and acidic onion jam set the tone for the rest of the feast.

My partner ordered the Ruby Trout Filet. In anticipation of a modest portion, we were surprised with a trout so large; its tail eclipsed the plate’s edge. Accompanied with the most delicately braised cabbage in a white wine sauce, the aromas of trout, white wine, vine-ripe tomatoes and caramelized bacon rivaled the marvelous flavors of the dish. Modestly priced at $20.95, this dish is a luncheon bargain.

Admittedly, I have a certain weakness for lamb. The moment I read Lamb Shank “Aux Épices” on the menu, the decision was made. Presentation of the dish was elegantly simple, a meat-laden shank set in a pool of light sauce. Each bite of this dish was full of flavor, and the lamb was moist and fall-off-the-bone tender. Curry perfumed the white wine and tomato sauce, and the remarkable balance of flavors seemed to layer one atop the other. Unlike so many other shank-based dishes, Bacchus Bistro’s interpretation is light, the meat perfectly braised and the sauce impeccable. At $21.95, this may be the best lamb deal around.

After a meal at Bacchus Bistro, many will undoubtedly include a visit to the tasting room. For others, traveling through the area, or in need of an afternoon escape from the ordinary, a culinary adventure alone will not fail to satisfy. Reservations are highly recommended. Visit domainedechaberton.com to see the full menu.

Bacchus Bistro
Domaine de Chaberton Winery
1064 216 St., Langley, B.C.
604.530.1736, domainedechaberton.com

"After a meal at Bacchus Bistro, many will undoubtedly include a visit to the tasting room."