We were shopping for furniture in Vanier, of all places, and got hungry. I decided the place for us to go was just up further on Montreal road: the Newfoundland Pub. Mel had never been, but it is worth the detour even if it is a bit far from downtown.
The place looks like nothing from outside. It is not an area of Vanier known for its architechture – in fact, it looks like an industrial building. There is a small parking lot available for patrons.
You enter and notice immediately the decor. It is a bit old and tired, but it is part of the charm of the place. Newfoundland is all over, complete with a Lobster on the ceiling.
They have live bands in the evening, pretty much everyday, but the place was not very busy on this Saturday afternoon. As usual, regulars looked up when we walked in – we must not look like Newfie expats. Still, it has a laid-back and easy-going atmosphere. We picked the table right in front of the big screen tv, an older model but working ok. The Mitchell Bowl is on: perfect, I’ll be able to cheer for Laval, my alma mater.
The staff is always very friendly and provide excellent service, especially on weekends. The waitress came and cheerfully took our drink orders – they have many beers on tap.
We looked at the menu – deep fried seafood has a strong presence, bringing the taste of down-home to O-town. The food is reasonably-priced – but if you want to eat healthy, the selection is limited to a few salads.
But why bother? Fish and Chips is the way to go, for sure. Two types are offered on the menu: their regular (made with cod) or the English-style (she said haddock but didn’t look very sure).
We ignored the Cow Tongue and the Deep Fried Mars Bar; Mel decided to go for the English-style.
I decided to go all-in with the fisherman’s platter.
“That’s funny”, our friendly waitress said, “there was a couple sitting right where you are before you who ordered the exact same thing for lunch.” Ha, ha.
Our meals arrived quickly.
Three big pieces of haddock were in Mel’s plate, nicely golden with herbs showing. The beer batter was great, well seasoned, not too thick. The pieces of fish were flaky and moist. Surprisingly, the pieces were not too greasy – no oil residue at the bottom of the plate.
The healthy serving of chips that came with was not stellar, but passed the test. They were crispy and of a dark golden colour – a bit overdone as some pieces were a tad dry. The dish was served with coleslaw (correct, nice vinegar flavour, a bit salty though), tartar sauce and lemon.
My fisherman’s platter included also a piece of fish, cod in my case. It was a little thicker than Mel’s piece, but otherwise very similar in taste and texture. The platter was completed with scallops and shrimp – including two grilled shrimp as a bonus. Lemon, coleslaw and tartar sauce were of course there, and an industrial seafood cocktail sauce. There was not a lot of scallops, and they were not bad, but the delicate flesh does not deal with deep frying very well. The shrimp fared much better – they were well cooked, no chewiness, crispy outside, nice texture inside, I was engulfing them easily. Funny enough, they were better than the grilled shrimp, which were a bit overdone.
If you are in the area or if you are looking for a very good fish n’ chips in a different place, you should not hesitate to drop by the Newfoundland Pub.