December 02, 2013

Day 2 - Oak Bay Hotel, Oak Bay

I went first to Oak Bay Hotel back in March when the website promised brunch was not yet up and running.  It's still not, though they have added Lunchtime specials of Eggs Benedict and Monte Christo Sandwiches on Sunday, so that was close enough.  They aren't advertising a brunch, so expecting it was wishful thinking it turns out.

The Snug has one of the finest views for a bar in Victoria.  Looking out across the end of the Haro Strait towards Discovery Island, you got the best of the West Coast.  Sea, mountains and the weather.  Grey seas were rolling and surging on the shore.  And I was all cozy and warm inside with three good friends from Vancouver (two visiting, one recently moved here).  I really do need to go back for the beer.

So, I sat myself down with a view across the room to be able to catch the NFL game scores.  I'm not sure why I did that and got myself distracted.  Bad manners, and really, the bar is trying to be a 'Snug' not a sports bar, so it was a touch incongruous.  Snugs in the UK are small, warm and a source of quiet conversation and good beer.  Bit harder to replicate in big area, but the place works for a good conversation over food... there's little ambient noise and no piped in muzik that I could hear.

Service was odd. There's this air of trying to be refined silver service, but having only read about it and never been trained.  Cutlery was adjusted just so when laid out, and sugar packets whisked away when emptied. All very nice. But plates were brought to the wrong person, orders mixed up and much reaching across and shuffling around when the food was served. It's like they looked at the details, but missed the basics.  It's not helped by huge plates and tableware that made a big 4-seater table positively crowded.

The coffee was great, and the eggs Benedict perfectly done.  A light Hollandaise, that was almost frothy, perfectly poached eggs, crisp muffin ready to soak up the sauces and yolks and a slice of ham that neither interrupted or made its excuses. Great stuff.  The 'hash browns' were country potatoes.  Crisps cubes of potato, but not very interesting.  The Quiche and Soup my friends had went down well, and the conversation was kept going with coffee and tea on tap.

Price wise, it was $15 for the Benedict, plus coffee and taxes.  You'll get better for less in town, but not without the great view. This is spot ideal for taking your mum when she visits on the weekend, or to have a bit more of a gentle lunch. It might be even more suited to a beer and little side snack (it's fully licensed, so no need to buy food to drink there).  I just have to find out.

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