Sherman's Food Adventures: St. James's Well

St. James's Well

How about that, I ate lunch at Brewster's Pub yesterday and now here I am at another pub today. It seems like I get on these tangents such as ramen 2 days in a row recently at Santouka. Now, unlike yesterday, I was off work and could enjoy a cool one. I had been wanting to visit St. James's Well (what's with the spelling?) for some time now; but something always gets in the way. In fact, we were suppose to go about 3 weeks ago. Strangely enough, I got an email from RBC (yes, he works there and those are his initials...) on that same day suggesting I try the place. Well that was a sign. So Pomegranate and I went straight for the well right after work. Since RBC loves the place, he joined us as well.

Due to a scheduling boo boo, which I am the only one to blame, RBC had rushed over early to meet us, only to find out we were not there. I got tied up at work and didn't leave on time. He had left and finding out that we were still at the pub, he came back. He's a good guy for not getting mad at me. Well, he does read my blog everyday, I guess he just wanted to be mentioned? Anyways, while we were waiting for him to return, Pomegranate and I shared the Stuffed Baby Yorkies. These are essentially Yorkshire pudding stuffed with roast beef and topped off with horseradish cream. This to me is a very unique; yet ultimately logical dish. Think of it, everything you see in a traditional English roast beef dinner in one package. I though these were pretty good, although Pomegranate has had them before when they were hot outta the oven. Thus, he thought these were not as good as the last time. For me at least, I enjoyed the nice bite of Yorkshire pudding with beef and horseradish cream, the perfect combination. Dipped into the au jus made it even tastier.

If that wasn't enough for an appetizer, both of us got a cup of Guinness, Crab, Corn and Cheese Soup. My goodness, this was a very rich and creamy soup. If this is a cup, then I don't want to think how big a bowl is. This was more than enough since it was really so rich. The flavours in this soup was actually quite mild and I really didn't get a sense of the Guinness. Rather, it was mostly sweet due to the corn and crab (which I also didn't see much of). Since we had 2 very filling appetizers (and beers), we weren't really in the mood in eating much more. Thus, we decided to share Sablefish & Chips. We substituted Poutine for the chips. It's not often you find sablefish (aka black cod) as a choice for fish 'n chips. When we got our order, it was quite obvious why halibut is the most popular fish. Being that sablefish is quite fatty, frying it in batter just didn't seem to work. Although the fish itself was cooked perfectly being moist and flaky, the entire thing was very greasy. To me, that didn't work, especially when dipped into more fatty goodness - the tartar sauce. However, the tartar sauce was quite good. It was very flavourful with lots of dill. We also liked the side of mushy peas. It still retained some texture and with the addition of mint, it made for some nice flavour.

I'm not sure why we ordered a dish of French-Canadian origin in an English Pub. Serves us right though because it wasn't so good. The fries were not crisp, in fact, they seemed very generic. Best to use double-fried fries in this particular dish. Despite the generous portion of cheese curds, they were way too small and completely melted into a blob-like mess. I like it melted, but not in this way. However, the gravy was quite nice, having depth without the saltiness. RBC settled on the Steak & Guinness Pie. Visually, it was quite appealing with a crisp, flaky crust and a good amount of meat. He really enjoyed the pie stating that it tasted really good and rich. However, on his last bite, he put something into his mouth that he thought was the last piece of steak. Wrong. It was a blob consisting of undissolved roux. If you can imagine the concentrated flavour in that, He didn't enjoy it and almost horked. Thus, he told our server such. To the restaurant's credit, they offered a replacement (even though it was all finished) or a dessert. Since we were leaving, both were not
options. Consequently, they paid for his beer. It's a small token; but hey, we thought the restaurant handled it with class and appropriateness.

As with any pub, generally, the expectation is that the food will be generic, fried and unimaginative. Yet, the food here at St. James's Well definitely bucks the trend. Sure, there are the pub classics like fish 'n chips, meat pies, burgers and such. However, there are many English favourites such as Bangers and Mash mixed in with some dishes you won't find anywhere else. Although my visit didn't yield any gastronomical revelations, I found the food decent and interesting enough to warrant future visits. The great service we received didn't hurt either.

The Good:
- Some interesting items not found anywhere else
- Pretty decent food for a pub
- Great service

The Bad:
- Possibly some things sounded better than they turned out to be

St. James's Well on Urbanspoon


Laura said...

I don't know if I should say this, but I thought Pomegranate was a she! Still love your blog and read it every day!

Sherman Chan said...

LOL... Actually Pomegranate is quite sensitive, so does that qualify? But he indeed very much a he. Thanks for the kind comments!

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