You’re an Olo to my Heart in Victoria’s Chinatown

soupOlo Restaurant
509 Fisgard St.

Victoria, BC
(250) 590-8795

There are weeks where I go solo because James is broke, and OLO moves to the top of my hit list since a certain buddy prefers to eat on a budget and I’ve been moving towards the sky’s the limit. At least we agree on one thing: hitting operations who prefer to source all their ingredients locally. And they love sustainability! This establishment used to be known as Ulla (with a similar mandate) and just following what they offered made me wish I was making more money to afford eating here. The offerings are delectable and reasonably well-priced, but I rarely haunt Chinatown (real spirits notwithstanding). When I heard they (as OLO) were one of the six establishments working in concert with bringing Bugs on the Menu, I knew this was a restaurant to finally hit.

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I was visiting to specifically try their caramel cricket crunch sorbet. But that’s a dessert item, and since I was here, I pondered hard over what I could have that would classify as a light lunch instead of a dinner-sized meal.

For sheer comfort and relaxation, this place is excellent! I loved the decor, food and ambience (and hopefully they will still have the Squid Ink Chitarra when I decide to return). The menu varies every few months, and I’ve been waiting long until they offered something I was after. Just when I want to visit requires me to keep tabs. I love restaurants that offer dishes to challenge the taste buds.

The staff was very friendly. We chatted about the Bugs on the Menu offering, and how they became involved. We even talked about the future for the food industry. I also realized that this multi-eatery promotion is for those people interested in trying out how crickets or mealworms can be incorporated into a meal while this documentary is in town.

porkrinds

Hopefully, my suggestion to operations to make bugs on the menu a periodic (maybe annual) offering will be considered. Not every restaurant can sell products containing the basics — crickets or mealworms — year-round. But at the right time of the year, it’ll satisfy the daring diner wanting to enlighten their palette.

I’m still salivating at my taste bud’s memories of the freshly made pork rinds lightly sprinkled with chilli sea salt. It was still popping when the small bowl arrived and it was still crackling when I decided to take a quick picture. I was intending to save the crumbs for my soup to sprinkle any leftover bits on, but not even any of that could be found. They were just that awesome!

Roast at The Victoria Public Market should learn from this operation in how to make them. Although theirs come in larger portions and is prepared a different style, I much like Olo’s — they were served hot, fluffy and fresh, a huge difference!

I can easily turn vegetarian with the Cauliflower Soup as it was definitely freshly made and still hot to the touch. I waited a bit for it to cool down. The blending of two main flavours, which included chickpea, made this the ultimate comfort food. There was a light crunch from the roasted chickpea crumbs that I truly appreciated. I can easily see this dish being popular in the winter. It warmed the old soul in me in ways I did not realize. I had a spiritual awakening! But I’m not that ancient ….

edandcandy

The next dish, the crème de la crème, did not take long to arrive and I had to admire the artistry of the presentation. With candy glass showing the crickets and mealworms like a mosquito suspended in resin ala Jurassic Park, I was licking my lips like an eager anteater. There was a mild nuttiness to this sweet delight and there was more cricket in the bread-like side that I had with the vanilla sorbet. Only an inch-sized scoop was offered.

In three bites, like a Tootsie Roll, it was gone! I could have had three dishes of this magical delight to get a proper fill, but thankfully the other plates of food I had before made for a perfect light meal.

I’m not sure what I needed to do to get a larger serving, (can you imagine me begging like a cat?) but alas, I suspect the restaurants had to balance what limited stocks they had to last, and the evening was still young.

After having at least tried half the establishments offering bugs on the menu, I’m ready to graduate to the next level of becoming an avid entomologist. Where can I get my giant grasshoppers or silk worm? Hey, the latter is a delicacy in China, so why not?

4½ Stars out of 5

Olo Restaurant (Previously Ulla) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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