Anyone who has dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant will appreciate Hudson’s on First, the newest addition to the dining scene in Duncan. Opened in October, 2012, it has already shot up the ranks of restaurants in the CowichanValley, attracting clientele from far and wide as its reputation for fine dining spreads. It has most definitely upped the ante for other restaurateurs in the area, and with good reason.
We recently enjoyed our inaugural meal at Hudson’s on First and were also able to spend some time with the delightful young owners, Daniel and Andrea Hudson. A few minutes in their company is enough to explain much of why the restaurant has gained such immediate acceptance; a couple of hours enjoying the food, ambiance and impeccable service rounds out the story of their success.
While English-born Daniel has had some formal schooling as a chef, much of his background includes extensive experience working with and learning from Michelin chefs. He has been employed in great manor houses in England and in some of Vancouver’s most highly-rated dining establishments. Andrea, raised on Vancouver Island, has formal training in hospitality management and has augmented that background with extensive travel that expanded her skills as a dining service expert. The pair has distilled all of their knowledge to create Hudson’s on First – a blissful combination of innovative, fresh cuisine, superb service and a warm, friendly atmosphere in a 106-year-old renovated house in downtown Duncan. White linen tablecloths and napkins, sparkling crystal, candle light and the heritage ambiance of the meticulously-restored house add to the charm of the experience.
The menus, while not extensive, offer great variety and novel twists on some old favourites. Daniel’s English birthright shines through with such offerings as bangers and mash – except the dish on Hudson’s menu is anything but traditional. House-made flavourful sausages perch atop a heap of creamy mashed potatoes and are finished with duck confit and red onion gravy. The crispy fish sticks, served with mouth-watering fresh-cut chips and a fennel/apple slaw, are as far from customary Engish fish and chips as you can imagine. We were pleased, too, to see on the menu a winter vegetable soup featuring fresh produce from a young local farmer, just starting out on three acres of leased land. The support for such initiative is, we think, so important – and there can be no doubt that locally-sourced products will prove a bonus for both diners and the local economy.
In addition to the two dining rooms on the main floor Hudson’s on First also features a comfortable lounge area with a beautiful punched-tin ceiling. Upstairs there is a private dining room that can seat parties of 10 or less. A newly-added deck will offer al fresco dining during the warmer months of the year – something else to look forward to from the hard-working Hudsons.
Clearly, Daniel and Andrea have a great passion for what they do, which no doubt accounts for their meteoric rise on the restaurant scene of southern Vancouver Island. Hudson’s on First is one classy place in every respect. We can’t wait to dine there again!
Hudson’s on First is located at 163 First Street, Duncan
Further information on menu offerings and hours of operation can be obtained on their website:
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.781149 Long. -123.709729
N 48 46.869 W 123 42.584