Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Moon Under Water

Address:  350B Bay Street
Phone: 250.380.0706
Price: $10-15 entree, $5-6 pint
Notes: Victoria's newest brewpub with English-style table service and fabulous beer & food.

The Moon Under Water had it's 'soft' opening this Fall, but is having it's grand opening this week. I love this place. Even though it's all shiny and new, it does really remind me of being back in England, eating at the village local pub and just having a fabulously relaxed, social experience.  It's hard to find a good pub in Victoria that isn't covered in TVs and actually has good beer, but the Moon ticks every single box. They only have one TV, which is in their games room which also has a free pool table!

As members of CAMRA (which I have argued before you should join!) we nearly always seen another member when we're there which speaks to the high quality of the beer. We were lucky enough to be around for their pre-opening tour (it was part of a CAMRA event) and had some "gravity pulled" beer (amazing!), and it makes me really, really hope that they do this on occasion although I'm sure they are conscious of not competing too heavily with their almost-neighbour, Spinnakers, where you can get casks many week nights.

The service here is different than most places in town, in that it's "English Style." What this means is instead of waiting for a waitress to come around, you go up to the bar, order and pay and then take a number to your table. I think this is smart... it certainly seems to speed things up! It might take Victorians a little while to adjust to, but I think it adds to the feel of the place.

October 23, 2011
Sadly, I did not get a photo of the epic dish which is the Sunday night roast beef dinner special ($15, for the record). It was truly, truly epic. A slice of roast beef as thick as my thumb in places - and I do not by any stretch of the imagination have dainty lady digits! Side of veggies and potatoes were also massive. Huge yorkshire pudding on the side. My bite was epic. The one thing it could have had more of was gravy, but that's easily fixed.

The burger here has changed significantly to the first incarnation I had when they first opened (a year ago! hard to believe...). I know they have gone through some staff changes in the kitchen so I suspect that has something to do with it. They have also added an epic double burger (no small purchase at $18), but the single patty moon burger is only $11 and wins my vote for the best valued burger in the city.

The texture of this burger is comparable to the burger I recently had at Brasserie L'Ecole. Charred to perfection on the outside, not overcooked and topped exceptionally. Even thought it was not cooked medium like the Brass burger, it still remained juicy. Fries on the side were pretty good too - medium cut with salt.

February 18, 2011
Even though it's "grand opening week" I'm excited to see how packed it is in here considering it's only 5:30! If we had been any later we would have been sitting at the bar, or even waiting for a seat. Clearly they are hitting their stride and filling a niche in the market.

I opted for the daily specials - a lovely, bitter India Red Ale, and a juicy, savoury lamb burger with chutney.  It certainly hit the spot! It's pub food absolutely, but there is nothing wrong with that. When they first opened, my main criticism was that they were using pre-made fries, but they have fixed that! They also had a pretty cookie-cutter hamburger bun, which has also been changed to a clearly locally-made bun. They really do have a plan to be locally-made, good ingredients but still reasonably priced pub food. I support this fully! I was disappointed there was no chocolate porter left, but I am hopeful this means there might be more in future (hint hint!).

My partner-in-life-and-food had the fish and chips (not the first choice, but their menu is rapidly changing) and I really liked it. The fish wasn't quite as amazing as at somewhere like Red Fish Blue Fish but the beer batter was flipping fantastic (which I think speaks to the quality of the beer!).