Monday, July 11, 2011

The Village Butcher & Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria

Address: 2032 Oak Bay Ave.
Phone: (250) 213-1226 (Whole Beast) or (250) 598-1115 (Village Butcher)
Price: seemed pretty reasonable!
Notes: meat meat meat and some pickled vegetables and marinades and more meat

The Village Butcher, an Oak Bay institution (although I had never been before this visit), has just moved locations and combined forces with Whole Beast Meats, the latest charcuterie on the 'butcher block.' I'm reviewing them together because they're pretty complimentary to each other and you can walk in between the two freely, although they do have separate tills.

We visited on a Saturday afternoon and they were pretty busy. Luckily there was a lot of room to wander and peek at the various options before making your decisions. I got a bit overwhelmed at the sheer number of choices, especially since I didn't really know what I wanted and wasn't really set on Meat (silly choice of places to go, I suppose!).

The Village Butcher side has a wide selection of cuts of assorted meats, prepared burgers (including bacon & cheddar burgers with the bacon and cheese put right in the pre-made patty!) and a tempting selection of sausages. The Whole Beast side has a huge selection of cured and smoked meats (they apparently have a 'lab' not a 'kitchen') although I think they're going to take a little bit to ramp up to the demand.

July 9, 2011
Service at the butcher was quick & helpful - gave advice on what to choose, options for slicing and were very friendly in general. We had to wait a bit for service if only because little scottish old ladies were chatting up the scottish gent behind the counter. Can't fault that too much, I've been on the flip side of that conversation in the past!

At the Whole Beast the lone man behind the counter looked utterly overwhelmed! I feel for him - first weeks of business, out of half of his product and scrambling to meet demand and figure out the process of the space. He did well - and was very apologetic about the lack of selection and that it would take them several weeks to get restocked (this is real slow food people!). I didn't mind, I got the last of the andouille (sorry everyone who came after me!).

July 9, 2011
Picked up three things from the Whole Beast:
One the way home we split a small piece of pepperoni - I was surprised to find it softer than the dry pepperoni I'm used to, but I liked all the flavours. Spicy and smokey were the two ones that stand out in my mind after the fact.

The maple-smoked bacon was brilliant with breakfast - a tad saltier than I typically like my bacon, but paired with a soft-poached egg it was perfect. The slices were so nice and thick and the colour was very pretty and pink which made me feel like it was fresher or perhaps happier pigs! I like the option to buy bacon by the slice - my pet peeve with bacon is that you end up opening the whole big package and having to re-package it all or cook the whole schwack at once and then freeze it. This is much more sensible!

The andouille sausage was phenomenal in an improvised jambalaya for dinner. Andouille is a hard one to find in town and whenever we have it's been there and then gone again and never consistent so I really hope it sticks around! It was nice because it was a proper soft sausage, not too dried, and the edges curled up and browned nicely in the pan adding a really nice flavour to the onions and garlic. I'm looking forward to the leftovers for lunches!

Village Butcher smokies are massive and lovely looking and smelled phenomenal cooking up! They were a lot juicier than any other smokie I've had in ages, although not the most flavourful ever the texture more than made up for it - again, lovely!


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