September 27, 2015

Hawk and Hen, Downtown Victoria

I'd seen that "Hawk and Hen" was coming into the spot once occupied by The Podium.  The Podium was a big "sports bar" that failed to offer up sports in any way that differed from the other 15 places in town. I can watch a TV with sports on and drink beer in many places.  If your not giving the live commentary on the feature matches, and really pushing the 'place to watch' angle, then your just another bar.

So Hawk and Hen has a big location to fill, with lots of seats, so I was a little surprised to see the soft opening (no website I could find till very recently) and the west-coast niche it was filling.  Seems like a big ask to fill and 100+ seater place on a regular basis.  But, I did see that Liam Quinn was named as executive chef.  Liam runs the "Salt and Pepper Fox" (review), and if you work downtown and haven't had sandwich delivery from him yet, you should try it.  So, I was expecting good, fresh local food.

I got good, fresh food.  I have no idea where the albacore tuna I ate came from.  In fact, I have no idea where you find albacore tuna in general, and who smokes it to this rich, velvety, powerful flavour.  But I do know that the Tuna Melt I had was great.  Thick slices of the beautifully rich, meat, slapped onto a thick wedge of crusty white bread, covered in cheese and grilled to a cheesy, gooey mess.  The cheddar had enough bite to balance the soft white bread, and the tuna itself.  Yes, you can make a tuna melt at home... but this was a really good one.

I had mine with a side of Rösti potatoes.  These are grated potatoes, cooked into a crisp pattie.  Like a (proper) hash brown that had been cooked longer and with more fat.  Crunchy, and still rich and earthy.  Yum.  Would order these again and not be disappointed.  The dish was completed with a small pile of greens, which featured long shavings of celery, and a simple french dressing.

My friends complimented the meatballs as being big, rich and juicy, though the tomato base they were in was a little too chunky... the smoother sauce with the hash met with much more approval. The bacon served with the benny was big, thick and cooked to a stiff crisp... but not so far that the tasty bacon grease had all dried up.

The service had a couple of small problems: one item we ordered was no longer being made (the bread and butter pudding), but it took a trip to the kitchen to find that out.  Apparently it was not selling.  We mentioned that was odd to take it off for a place that had just opened.  We were told it had be at least a month they'd been in business... I guess long enough to know what doesn't sell.

Our table and another also had to have follow-ups to check how some of the orders should have their eggs cooked.  In a brunch first place, this should be a second nature to always ask.

That said, the service was fast, there were plenty of refills on coffee and water. The staff did seem enthusiastic about the food they were serving as well, which is key when for a place pushing local produce.

This has definitely gone on the revisit for brunch list. We all said we'd go back again, highly enjoying the food.

Hawk and Hen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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