By Brittany Tiplady
Entering Fort Langley is like stepping into a page of Canadian history. The idyllic village caters to history buffs, trail walkers, and coffee shop dwellers alike. As for food and drink, the options for casual fares are plentiful. The classic Fort Langley dining staples still stand strong: Wendel’s, Beatniks, and the Fort Pub and Grill to name a few, serving regulars and tourists with a hint of small town charm.
Today, as Vancouver millennials slowly migrate from city life to suburban haven, the energy in Fort Langley has shifted into a more youthful local community, while still managing to keep the beloved, historic charm, intact. City-inspired hot spots like Trading Post Brewing and Little Donkey have moved into the village with much acclaim, but the new kid on the block, Fortitude Restaurant, is creating quite a buzz within the community and abroad.
Fortitude brings a fresh, fine-dining atmosphere to the Fort Langley village. With an intimate team and a humble presence, the restaurant opened its doors in the early summer and has been serving a full dining room of enthusiastic guests ever since.
Chef Romy Prasad and his team have curated a menu that caters to all palates, and more importantly, all cravings. The menu has a healthy selection of appetizers and entrees, and the option for the “Fortitude board” which is the chef’s selection of a few house bites to share.
The wine list is hand selected by partner Marle Simmons and focuses on a vast selection of local BC wines. The menu is complimented by an inventive cocktail list, brimming with new creations and well-loved classics.
The food is no fuss, and all flavour, creating dishes that are bound to please for many years to come.
I sat down with Chef Romy is get the low down on what Fortitude has to offer, and what’s to come.
Brittany Tiplady: Why Fort Langley?
Chef Prasad: I love Fort Langley. Our main idea was to stay as close as we could to the valley and the values of the farms and products in this area. Unfortunately, for now, we are not yet a farm to table restaurant. But we would like to work as closely as we can – and we do.
BT: Are there any themes to the food and the restaurant concept?
CP: That’s the million-dollar question! The theme and the concept of the food is based on what is seasonally available to us. I, myself, personally worked a lot in Europe, as did my sous chefs. There are a lot of influences there. But this restaurant is not an Italian spot, or a French restaurant.
Why I have the menu selections, and why they are all prepared differently is because I would like to expose the restaurant to everybody. You don’t wake up and say, “I feel like having an Italian meal, I’m going to go to Fortitude.” Instead, I want customers to say: “I feel like having a great meal, I’m going to dine at Fortitude.” That is the idea of the restaurant. We try to emphasize what is natural about the food. We don’t hide behind it. The ingredients are always fresh of course, and staying as local as we can.
BT: What are the stars of the menu?
CP: Everything! You can’t ask a chef that! One of the personal favourites from my client’s point of view is definitely the seared albacore tuna. It’s served rare, on a bed of du Puy lentils, smoked bacon, and asparagus.
BT: What has been the community response so far?
CP: We have had an excellent response and support from the community. Absolutely fantastic. The restaurant has been full every night, and we have not done any marketing. We quietly opened the doors, after a soft friends and family opening, and have simply been operating as is. We are now open for brunch on the weekends, and we will be opening for lunch shortly as well.
BT: How is your team?
CP: It’s a small and tight team. We work closely together – it’s very responsive.
BT: I’d love to know more about your career background. Can you tell us what led you to opening Fortitude?
CP: I’ve been working in Vancouver for 15 years. I worked with Umberto Menghi in Whistler at Il Caminetto. I worked at CinCin for a number of years and then I was a chef at a restaurant called Savory Coast for a number of years as well. I was at Federico’s Supper Club on Commercial, and the Richmond Country Club. And after all of that, Fortitude happened.
Fortitude is open seven days a week for dinner and is now offering brunch on weekends and will soon be open for lunch. Call 604-371-1377 for reservations.