No television. No phones in the rooms. No traffic noise. No fun? Heavens, no! It was all the ‘nos’ that made us fall in love with Soule Creek Lodge in Port Renfrew, and a whole bunch of positives.
We stayed two nights at Soule Creek, which has been operated since 2001 by brothers Jon and Tim Cash. Perched 600 feet above sea level at the top of a two kilometre (1.25 miles) uphill gravel road, the lodge dominates the skyline. There are sweeping views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains…and dead silence, thanks to the fact that the building is situated on 160 acres owned by the brothers.
We checked in after a long day of exploring the spectacular beaches of the southwest coast and found ourselves in a small-but-comfortable room that had a true rustic ‘lodge’ feeling to it. There was a small sitting area through the sliding doors, and a couple of easy chairs in the room gave us a second happy place to relax.
After a strenuous day of hiking we were looking forward to dinner at the lodge, which is a set prix fixe menu. Both Jon and Tim are experienced chefs and the promise of a meal that focused on local products had us in anticipatory delight. We certainly weren’t disappointed on that front.
After getting settled in to our room we hauled our tired bodies up the stairs to the spacious dining room. The three-course meal commenced with a green salad so fresh it almost jumped off the plate. Combined with pine nuts and kale chips and topped with an avocado oil dressing, it left us both impressed and looking forward to the main course.
No disappointment on that front, either. A beautiful plate featuring fresh water steelhead topped with a beurre blanc sauce brimming with shrimp, a perfectly cooked medley of fresh vegetables and an inspired couscous with organic English peas, corn, lemon juice, mint and lime leaf proved to be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. We have a penchant for interesting food that combines unique flavours without going over the top, and this main certainly fit the bill in that respect. The Cash brothers have an innate talent for combining ingredients with a deft hand, of which I am so envious.
Dessert – a luscious blueberry/raspberry crumble accompanied by house-made strawberry ice cream – topped off the meal. At the end of it all we were replete, but not feeling overly-stuffed.
Dinners are only available to guests staying at the lodge, and for $38 a head they are one heck of a wonderful deal. This is most definitely not your average fishing lodge ‘grub’ – it is more akin to haute cuisine, without all the fancy details – clean, fresh flavours simply served. And, a bonus for those who like an alcoholic beverage with their meal – you can take your own choice to the dining room with you. Soule Creek doesn’t have a liquor license, but there is no corkage fee when guests supply their own liquor.
We slept soundly in a comfortable bed that night and headed upstairs the next morning to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. While my husband chose a larger meal consisting of bacon, farm-fresh eggs, blueberry pancakes and fruit salad I was able to opt for a smaller repast featuring the items of my choice, in the quantities that I requested. I liked that aspect of the breakfasts at Soule Creek – the wait staff is happy to take individual orders rather than just put the prescribed ‘breakfast of the day’ on the table in front of you. Nice, too, that the lodge accommodates special diets.
After breakfast and before heading off to explore more beaches we took a wander around the property, enjoying the gardens and spectacular views. Our only regret from our entire experience at Soule Creek was that we didn’t book dinner there both nights that we were in residence. We opted instead for a more famous but nowhere-near-as-good restaurant down the road. Won’t make that mistake again!
Further information on Soule Creek Lodge can be found at:
The lodge is located at the top of Powder Main Road in Port Renfrew.
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.543948 Long. -124.413385
N 48 32.637 W 124 24.803