658 Herald St
Phone: (250) 590-9251
ES: Tasty morsels can be found at Saveur Restaurant, located not too far from the cosmopolitan Victoria Chinatown. The location is not really off the beaten path, but is tucked within the same block where Brasserie L’Ecole is also located. My guess is that the city blocks around this former Asian area may well be our city’s answer to an “International District.”
DK: The extent to which Saveur fits into a real or imagined “International District” is seen in some of their menu items over the years. A menu from 2017 showcases “Pakora Battered Broccoli” with Ponzu. A previous version of the house chicken wings was served with “Louisiana Style Remoulade.” The house wings are now “Korean BBQ Wings.”
Viewing the menu as a marketing tool, what remains constant from the earlier years of Saveur to now is “local” items sitting next to “international” flavours (would you like “Chilled Soba Noodles” with miso for lunch? Or perhaps just a salad made with “Mason Street Greens”). What has changed is tourist-pleaser type fare (fish tacos, a burger and a pork belly sandwich) replacing multi-course tasting menus.
ES: This operation is great when wanting a quick bite from the “handheld” section of the menu. Service was reasonably fast. I ordered the soba noodles and it is as the menu described, deliciously cool and thankfully not with a heavy miso flavour. The dish was light on the veggies. In the number of sliced thin radishes gave the dish the right bite.
The highlight of the meal was with the 1/2lb of BC mussels that Don and I shared. They were deliciously soft, and beautifully complemented with a smoked tomato sauce. I’m sure we could’ve gone for two plates worth than one. I assume we’d get more bread too.
DK: Ah, the sauce (they sell them too). The kitchen here does a great job of balancing sweet, salty and spicy. My big complaint is the bread was too stiff to sop up the extra sauce.
The pork belly sandwich, however, is unassailable. It was truly fantastic and did not last long on my plate. The belly was lightly caramelized, the peasant bun delightfully chewy. $19 (once you factor in the mandatory service charge) for a sammy with no side isn’t cheap, but dare I say it’s worth it. Thankfully a tactful Ed was more impressed than disgusted at the speed with which I wolfed down my meal.
ES: It could’ve been worse had I decided to slurp my noodles like ramen and spray Don. Thankfully, this dish was not of the liquid variety.
All in all, Don and I are likely to return since there’s other delectable dishes to try out. The portion-size are correct for the light eater, but once when you’re super hungry, one plate and a shared appetizer isn’t enough. You’ll be wanting a three-course meal here, or spend the $50 for their “large plates.” Yes, I’m eyeing the Beef Duo for next time.
4 Stars out of 5