J: What started out as a celebration for a pre-Robbie Burns day turned into a wake for the Blethering Place. The little old tea room, woven into the fabric of Oak Bay’s society, is closing. Yes, that’s right. According to staff members, the owner, Ken Agate, sold the establishment to Floyd’s Diner, who allegedly plans to convert it into a bistro.
Closure is expected to take place at the end of January. With what little time there is left, I would suggest a visit (or revisit) to this grand old lady before she’s defrocked.
E: At the party we attended, the festive mood hid that sad little fact. But as we listened to bagpipes and the address to the haggis, I was slowly getting excited.
Unlike the Highland games from last year, no scotsman have been harmed in my quest to try haggis. Even though what I tried was just a small portion, I must say it tasted great. I wanted to be like Tony the Tiger and exclaim the delight.
J: My dad said you’re not a man until you consume haggis and like it. I was rather fond of being the big kid on the block. I can just see myself and Ed calling ourselves such—hair not where it used to be and also where it shouldn’t be; our big bellies flopping as we perform for our supper (or make other people lose theirs). But I digress. I can safely say, I’m a man now. I climbed the mountain of maturity and now everyone can see up my kilt.
E: And look at how tiny it is.
I’m still choked at the size of the portion. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
While this celebration is the last for the Blethering Place, let’s hope there will be other restaurants offering an affordably priced meal that includes more than just a sampling of this sausage like food. I found the oats and the pluck (sheep’s heart, liver and lungs) to be very delectable. The spices made for an interesting combination. The taste was similar to lamb and it was smoshy.
J: The haggis was merely the appetizer but our main course was a good looking roast beef dinner complete with mashed potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pud. The mashed potatoes were deliciously made from scratch. The Yorkshire was a bit harder than what I’m used to but it still made for a great gravy sponge. The disappointment were the veggies—these were local. But while the asparagus was very tasty, the carrots may have sat for too long and lost much of their flavour.
E: I have to agree with James about the veggies. I’ve tasted garden fresh and these carrot rounds were like bland beetles. The meal was decent, but nothing spectacular that I’d rave about.
And the people in the kitchen messed up my order. I received beef; but where’s the pink red juiciness that’s associated with making it rare?
J: Ed is right, the beef was uneven. It was tough in some places, too fatty here and there while remaining perfect everywhere else. The gravy at least was of the consistency of melted butter. But after saying grace, listening to the evenings entertainment and the toast to the Queen, the greatest jewel in the crown was still to be presented.
E: The gem of the evening certainly had to be the dessert. The pineapple trifle tasted just right. It wasn’t too sweet and it had a nice crunch. I was whipped to a frenzy after I sampled the homemade whip cream. This was one time I wished I had Gene Simmon’s mighty tongue so I could lick my cup clean.
J: I’m sure if I had Gene’s tongue, licking the cup would be the last thing on my mind. Some rock stars, unlike food critics, have their priorities straight.
3½ Blokes out of 5