It’s Always a Fiesta in The Kitchen at Da Silva Vineyards & Winery
By Roslyne Buchanan.
When Chef Abul Adame partnered with Richard and Twylla da Silva to open The Kitchen at their family winery in 2012 the result was a fiesta of flavours. French trained and Mexican born Chef Adame created a menu that perfectly paired with da Silva’s Portuguese heritage.
Originally called Misconduct Wine Co. as a playful nod to da Silva’s colourful youth, the winery was rebranded to Da Silva Vineyards & Winery in 2018 as a coming of age. At the time in celebration of the 10th Anniversary, the da Silvas explained, “We’ve unveiled this new brand to highlight our evolution, winemaking and family’s history. Our Da Silva label presents ultra-premium, small lot wines centered around the 11 diverse vineyards we manage.”
From the beginning when the da Silva family arrived at the Naramata Bench from Portugal in 1955, they worked hard and were able to purchase the first family farm in 1959. That hardworking farmer ethic translated well to the wine industry and today is “devoted to crafting wines of a place” reflecting the unique and diverse terroirs.
Chef Adame talks of his relentless drive to keep cooking despite long hours and kitchen grease. It led him to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts where he learned classic French cuisine. He discovered the simplicity of Italian food and later in his travels, learned about Portuguese and Spanish gastronomy.
Via successful stints at highly respected restaurants of French influence in Vancouver, Chef Adame discovered the wonders of Penticton and opened the acclaimed Amante Bistro. For those of us that mourned its closing, the news that da Silva had enticed him into a partnership was golden.
Fun-loving folks, they quickly agreed that the restaurant would echo their personalities – Portuguese tapas with Mexican flair in a relaxed atmosphere. For his part, Chef Adame noticed tapas were offered at other restaurants although none had truly adopted the concept of tapas as a social way of eating.
For Canada Day weekend festivities, it was fitting to find ourselves there for a cultural celebration. If selecting from the many tapas is a challenge especially if you’re in a group of six or more, try “Chef’s Choice”. Chef Adame presents a series of tapas including some surprises after chatting with your table to determine preferences. You can experience vegetarian, seafood and meat tapas and if asked, he’ll also handle wine pairing. By the way, the menu is 98 per cent gluten free – because that’s how Chef Adame eats naturally rather than as a response to trends or food sensitivities.
Relaxing on the patio as we overlooked the winemaking production facility, vineyards, Munson Mountain and hillsides, on this day we had no trouble making our choices. Given we’ve never been disappointed by Chef Adame’s preparation, we also wanted to lean toward dishes we’d not tried previously. Plus, we both had seafood cravings. As much as we love how the Da Silva wines have evolved, in hiking we’d worked up a thirst for beer.
Another summer day I’ll be back to linger over the rose or a crisp white. For me this visit it was BC craft beer Bomber Brewing Pilsner and for Mark a Spanish Alhambra 1925.
There’s a minimum order of two tapas per person and the menu forewarns they “arrive in a random order and time”. With Chef Adame’s exquisite skill with sauces and blending oils and vinegars, order the fresh baked baguette to lap up every morsel.
First up was the ‘Grilled sardine, rock salt and lemon-parsley salsa’. Chef Adame’s version is quite the eyeopener for those who’ve just experienced canned sardines!
The ‘Mackerel quick-cured, grilled bread and pesto butter’ looks dry at first glance and the layers of flavour are pleasantly surprising.
For a bit of balance, we added ‘Marinated mushrooms, basil and artichoke salad’. While our serving could’ve done with a few more artichokes, it was refreshing and a nice contrast.
‘Charales (Fried smelts, sea salt and lemon)’ was our final tapa and a tried-and-true treat for us that keeps delighting our taste buds each time we order it.
While we didn’t indulge on this occasion, if you’re a paella fan, you’ll want to try Chef Adame’s signature dish. It’s one of the best you’ll find and made with 100 per cent Spanish saffron rice, chorizo, mussels, clams, roasted chicken and prawns.
Until October, hours are Monday to Sunday for lunch, 11:30 am to 3 pm; and Monday to Saturday, dinner 5:30 to 8-ish pm. While Chef Adame may slip out for a siesta, there’s also “Happy Two Hours” Monday to Saturday from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. It features finger food, Portuguese conservas (preserves) or $2 pintxos – smaller snacks on a toothpick, and he jokes, “if I’m in ask for the hand-carved Serrano ham”.
With over 30 tapas that are ever evolving and reflect what’s in season, you can indulge in a fiesta regularly. For reservations, call 1-800-851-0903 or book online thekitchen-dasilvavineyards.com.
Watch for special events such as ‘A Da Silva Farm Table Dinner’ on September 28, 6 to 10 pm. Buy tickets ($120 plus tax and gratuity) in advance for this intimate farm dining feast with the da Silvas. The evening starts with a glass of Vino Verde Bubbles and traditional hors d’oeuvres, followed by a rustic hearty Portuguese farm table dinner paired with handcrafted small lot Da Silva wines.
Featured image: The Kitchen at Da Silva Vineyards & Winery, Penticton. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.