January 30, 2014

Bridgeman's Bistro, Mill Bay

So, what do you do after a 10km run where you hit your targets, felt great afterwards and have a sense of acheivement?  You eat, because refuelling is important.  And I run to eat.  If I didn't run, I'd probably be even lazier than I am now, and on my way to my first major heart attack.

So myself, and Andrea the runner went to a place mentioned to me by a Mill Bay local.  His knowledge was mostly based on the Hoyne Beer on tap, having not eaten there, but having just run and driven their, beer was a not a good idea. But it was a good sign of some care being taken. And any advice on places to try is always gratefully received.

The Bistro is on a pier at the Mill Bay Marina, a short drive from the Mill Bay crossroads on the Island highway.  You know the place you slow down at after having zoomed across the Malahat.  And I always comment that the gas seems to be 3 cents cheaper than in Victoria.  But never stop.  There's always a long road ahead.

The building looks great.  A solid modern glass, metal and wood structure, with lots of light, and great views over Mill Bay and the marina. At least I imagine it has great views, the day we went, it was foggy, and seeing beyond the end of the submerged log 20 metres away was the limit.  But I'd imagine in summer, if the roof does slide back, the patio will be wonderful place to sit, sip and watch the boating world go by.  This time they had the patio heaters going full bore, much welcomed as both of us were shivering post run.   The industrial meets rustic look of the place appeals to me.

The place was busy, and we were warned we'd have a 10-20 minute wait before our order could be taken. But the promise of coffee was good enough to get us in and seated, and we could at least chat and pick over the run.   Coffee came quickly, but well, it was not well made.  The Americano was not good, and my drip coffee was thin and lacking in flavour.  Given the surroundings, I expected a little better than cheap roadside brews.

The menu ranged from simple appys of mussels and poutine, to a range of burgers, and five 'Design Load' main courses.  The blackened salmon sounded great, as did the steak, but both a little more than I wanted to spend.  As was the family meal, at $60... for 3-5 served 'family style'.  All main courses, though come with free kayak rental.  Personally, I'd prefer to kayak then eat, drink and relax, rather than mess around with a full stomach. But I suspect the voucher doesn't have to be used that day.

Food came out for other tables, and it looked fantastic.  Clean white trencher plates, sandwiches stacked -just so-, salads piled high with garnishes and bowls of fries in bowls with a sloping cut to show of the crisp yellow chips inside.  The service for tables came out in with a troop of servers, to make sure everyone got their food at the same time.   It look efficient and well run.

But, here's the thing where I may have failed you, my loyal readership.  I mentioned I had just been running.  I was hungry.  I'd done a good run, and wanted fuel.  So most food was going to get at least a decent mark for being filling and in front of me.  So, if something tastes great, but you've got your munchies on, is it really great, or was the hunger over riding your analysis?

So when I say, that was good Club sandwich I had, you'll have to know it didn't last on the plate very long. It had all the bits you want... crisp bacon, grilled chicken, cheese, salad with extra avacado. I do expect a club sandwich to have three layers of bread, not the two that it came with.  Not that I could have handled the extra width of a two-layered filling.  But, you know, just saying.  It was a fine feast.  Nothing made me sigh contentedly afterwards, but everything worked.  And when I say I really like their crisp, fluffy fries, it was filling a hole.  They were good fries. Dressed with a little chopped spring onion, a little black pepper, and all was eaten quickly.

I tasted some of Andrea's black bean burger, which also tasted good.  A little dry, though the piles of mushrooms and dressing on the burger would have covered that up fine.  A proper vegetarian burger with all sorts of beans and veg, rather than fake meat mince.  And a side of mayo for the fries was a very smart idea, and worked with them.  Charging a dollar for mayonnaise was a little surprising, mind.

So, we paid ($20 each with tip, coffees and meals) and we left. I'd probably think about going back in the summer if in Mill Bay for some reason.  I just can't think why I'd be in Mill Bay for some reason.


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