Monday, October 10, 2011

The Fernwood Inn

Address: 1302 Gladstone Ave
Phone: (250) 412-2001
Price: $5-15
Notes: Fernwood's upscale neighbourhood pub

The Fernwood Inn

As a long-time Fernwood resident, I think a part of me will always, always miss the George & Dragon. Yes it was grungy and dark, and the menu was small but the fries were amazing and it had the authenticity of a neighbourhood pub in England complete with the sketchy bathroom situation. Part of me will always feel a little bit resentful about this loss. I probably will never love it here as much as I should.

The Fernwood Inn is more like a restaurant than a pub. The space has been decorated with deep paint colours, TVs and art. There are three main areas: tables, booths and a side room that can be booked privately for special events. Fun fact: when it was renovated into the Fernwood Inn from the G&D the backers were the owners from such illustrious venues as the former Boom Boom Room. Since then, the ownership has changed (at least once) and things have shifted to a bit more of a local and personal feel.

October 7, 2011
The service has always been my biggest hesitation about being a regular here - I have never had a good experience. Admittedly I was watching and it did seem like I was the the only one at our table being snubbed so perhaps it's just bad luck. This evening, for example: the server visited three times between when I was ready to order and when I actually got her attention despite making direct eye contact at least once, my pint glass disappeared long before our pitcher was empty and she was a little short with us about us settling up quickly considering that we hadn't received our bills yet and then she then disappeared and left us waiting to pay up as requested. Oh well - it least it wasn't as bad as the time that I was up-sold "the chicken" (aka a plain chicken breast) on a pasta which ended up turning a reasonable curry into a $20 over-priced disappointment. Yes, I am still bitter why do you ask?

October 7, 2011
Despite my continuing reservations about the service, my opinion was changed about the food. The menu seems to have expanded into more adventurous territory, and everything others ordered sounded like it hit the spot nicely. They have also improved the local beer on tap list significantly since I was here last, although they still have the sneaky "Fernwood Ale" which sounds awesome except that it's pretty much just their sponsor's beer rebranded which is just such a weird thing in a city with such fabulous beers.

Ginger Fried Beef via

This was a post-dinner beer meet-up with old friends from out of town, so I opted for just an appetizer instead of a full meal. Ginger beef seemed like a weird thing to put on the appetizer menu so I was kind of drawn to it. I am kind of surprised it hasn't been paired with some rice and veg for a main, as it doesn't really have the share factor of your typical appy, but as a small plate it is a good choice for less than $10. The beef was really nice quality, and the spicy sauce had a lot of depth and spice to it - the menu names black peppercorn, ginger and szechuan which sound right. This is not your sweet, red ginger beef - a bit more sophisticated.