Pluvio owners chef Warren Barr and Lily Verney-Downey pose outside their Best New Restaurant located on Peninsula Road in Ucluelet. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Ucluelet’s Pluvio Restaurant + Rooms earns a spot on Canada’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants

“We want to be a reason for people to turn left at the junction instead of right.”

Ucluelet’s Pluvio Restaurant + Rooms is one of Canada’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants, according to Air Canada enRoute Magazine.

Pluvio owners chef Warren Barr and Lily Verney-Downey opened their fine dining establishment, or “fun dining” as they prefer to be called, in April.

“It’s a great place to take your time,” said chef Barr of his restaurant aptly named after the word ‘pluviophile’, which means someone who takes joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

“I love it when people just sit at the bar and have an appetizer, maybe read a book. There was group from Tofino that came in the other day and I think they were the first one’s in and the last one’s to leave,” he said.

Verney-Downey said they try to offer a complete experiential dining experience.

“Our guests are seated at eye-level with our service team so they really get to connect,” she said.

At the end of the meal experience, patrons are delivered an arrangement of shells and driftwood with hidden chocolates.

“It’s a little foraging experience,” notes Verney-Downey.

Pluvio ranked fourth out of a selection of 35 of Canada’s best new restaurants. They were the only rural restaurant to crack the top five.

“You have to work to be found in a rural place. The support of the Wickaninnish Inn was fundamental,” said chef Barr.

Chef Ian Riddick co-owns Heartwood Kitchen, just a stone’s throw away from Pluvio.

“That award validates the efforts of like-minded chefs who are showcasing the bounty of Vancouver Island. I can’t think of better ambassadors than Warren and Lily and the Pluvio team,” said chef Riddick.

Chef Francois Pilon owns Frankie’s Resto-Bar, one of Ukee’s favourite local spots. He said the award is going to make the town more visible.

“It’s putting Ucluelet on the map. Congratulations on raising the bar and making the Top 10. The more people talk about Ukee, the more they will come,” said chef Pilon.

The international exposure is not lost on Barr.

“I had a friend flying back from Paris and said he saw the article,” said Barr. “We want to be a reason for people to turn left at the junction instead of right. Or at least tack on an extra day to their trip.”

Top Chef Canada winner chef Paul Moran offered his congratulations on behalf of 1909 Kitchen and Tofino Resort + Marina.

“We are very happy to witness and share in the success of Pluvio. It’s great to see entrepreneurs Lily and Warren who have already given so much to the community succeed in their new endeavour. We now have another pillar of culinary excellence in the neighbourhood,” said chef Moran.

Pluvio is open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Reservations are not required.

“It’s not meant to be intimidating,” chef Barr said, adding that his fun dining experience tends to include a playlist of ‘90s pop music.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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