Side Dish: Eastern Food without the Exotic


Side Dish Restaurant
1008 Langley St.
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 477-9995

E: Strange. In a region that was once known as Persia, I would expect the food to include the exotic. I’m fascinated with the ancient culture because of the sun god Mithras. His secretive religion is as mysterious as the restaurant that does not bear his name.

At Side Dish, I love the baklava desserts offered and that’s what I should have picked up instead of one of their traditional dishes. I have to agree with what another fellow blogger, Your Restaurant Sucks, wrote about the quality of service and the food. As colourful and simple as my dish was, I wondered where did the flavour go? Was the pomegranate fruit forgotten or the sumac spice not applied?

There’s nothing wrong with the freshness or simplicity of the meal. I also think seasonal visits to this place is required to find the best in what the harvest can offer. I think it’d be neat if this place also offered the very delicious Sangak bread.

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Keeping in Touch with Efes Donair House

Efes Donair Kebap House 
788 Yates Street
Victoria, B.C.
V8W 3S2

J: If you’ve read my Efes article you’ll recall how it was still under construction. I’ve eagerly anticipated stepping into a much needed restaurant to liven up Yates Street and now I have my chance. Like all new businesses there are kinks to work out and projects to finish and Efes is no different but boy did I like what I saw. I’m liking the look of the place. We were definitely looking to sit down but I was changing tables on Ed.

E: On a chilly night about town, I guess James needed a good fireplace to roast his rump near. Although this operation is over a month old, their soft opening is certainly gathering a crowd. While their wraps certainly filled our tummies, I knew I had to come back soon to try their donairs.

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Cleopatra’s Happy Hooka

Cleopatra Hookah
and Coffee Lounge

732 Broughton St.
Victoria, BC
(250) 590-7240

E: Very rarely will I ever have the eyes of a hawk and spot a new establishment offering, of all things, something Egyptian.

James and I were leaving the downtown library when the arms of Cleopatra embraced me. Like Marc Anthony, I was drawn to her mystique, and this shop offered more than just coffee.

J: Cleopatra must like to leave furniture in places customers least expect. I was soon to learn this after almost tripping over a foot stool as I entered. The place was cluttered but the decor of red painted background with framed Egyptian art on papyrus was a nice touch.

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A Taste of West Africa: Le Petit Dakar

Le Petit Dakar
711 Douglas Street
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 380-3705

J: There is more to a Friday night than getting fall down drunk. If one walks about this great city of ours one could have an enjoyable evening for very little money. After a trip to National Geographic’s IMAX theatre for a viewing of The Wildest Dream, seeing that frosty topped mountain gave me the ice cream urges … to Beacon Drive-In it was for our fill.

We weren’t prepared to do any reviewing this night. On our way home, the moon was shining our way to the nearest bus stop. But before we reached that destination, Ed and I did the mid-step pause. There was a new establisment in the old Crystal Gardens building. It looked small and the bright neon open sign was inviting.

E: Le Petit Dakar beckoned the both of us in. This little eatery was a perfect way to end the day, and I couldn’t decide on what spicy delight to partake in. After looking at the menu, I got the sense that most of the tastes are from the north western to north eastern region of Africa (but I could be wrong), and after James said the magic word, I took a chance at the Saka Saka ($8.75) to shake the cold away. I asked for hot sauce as a side while James didn’t go for any.

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How to do the Fringe Part 4: Going Club Med

Blair Mart Mediterranean Foods
924 Pandora Ave
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 721-1626

The fact that this grocery store is open after 8pm can easily have me singing the praises to Allah than that other deity. But if I am to look around the corner, I might find a shrine to Zeus tucked way and I’d still be awestruck.

To see this store still open (9pm) after Whiskey Bars: a kabarett with the songs of Kurt Weill must show that the staff has dedication. Actually, I think there’s only one guy who operates this store and he’s very accommodating to the night life in Victoria. People can venture in to buy groceries or grab a bite to eat nearly any time of the day. There’s a small deli serving up Halva’s, Nougats, and Baklavas. For me, it’d be the authentic and homemade Turkish Delights.

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Another Taste of India, Tandoor Style

Sizzling Tandoor Restaurant
637 Johnson St
Victoria, BC
(250) 388-5450

Temptation could not stop me today when I passed by the Sizzling Tandoor. The scents coming from this establishment have often been very enticing, but when the billboard advertising their butter chicken poutine ($6) hasn’t changed for weeks, today was the day I’d go in to try this tantalizing meal.

I wasn’t disappointed. The fries were satisfyingly good but not super exceptional. If I were able to say supersize me, I would’ve had a meal. The serving was appetizer sized, just enough for lunch, and the amount of chicken piled on top was light. It balanced out the other flavours, like the lightly spiced curry-like gravy. But a poutine isn’t a poutine without a heapful of curds.

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