The Roost

“If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three – wine, food, and art – as a way of enhancing life.” – Robert Mondavi

 

Who on the Saanich Peninsula — and beyond — doesn’t know about The Roost?!

    

There are plenty of chicken motifs around, but none wears it more proudly than these gorgeous kings of the roost!

Maybe because it’s close to home and close to the Panorama Rec Centre with indoor and outdoor tennis, maybe because my visitors can easily find it — it’s the place I frequent the most for casual dining or just coffee.
Not to mention that the food and coffee are reliably good!
Baked quiches, meat pies, Mac ‘n’ cheese bakes………..

    

……………muffins and cookies, fruit pies and tortes, and so much more!  Everything is house made and SO good!

Get your coffee and snack and enjoy the fare and surroundings at the outdoor front awning-covered tables, or in the picnic area…….
      

        

…………….or in a separate “room” created with hedging……..
     

……or in the iconic bus which has its ever-present, faithful driver, watching over the tables behind him.

Or have breakfast, lunch or dinner served to you inside the Bistro………

……with the familiar smell of good quality, fair-traded coffee and the changing artwork by local artists surrounding you.
    
On this occasion, some of the pieces on offer were chicken paintings by Catherine McLeod,

and landscapes by Mary Pearson.

You can dine outside near the fireplace in a screened-in area,

or around the rear of the building in a secluded, sunken dining area…..

……the sunken dining area from the other side………….


………….adjacent to a pleasant water feature.

On this occasion I had the spinach & pear salad

and my husband had the ham & cheddar sandwich with a Caesar salad.   Perfect!


The Roost sits (give me credit for not saying that it roosts!) on about ten acres of farmland owned by Hamish, below.
That’s a combine behind Hamish’s right shoulder, and the dust behind his left shoulder is from another combine, harvesting the wheat that will be made into flour which will be used to bake so much of the great fare offered at The Roost.

His daughter, Sarah, grew up here, and now she and her husband, Dallas Bohl, own and operate The Roost.
But clearly, this is so much more than just a coffee stop, or even just a local restaurant.
This auger moves the wheat up into the grain bin for storage until it’s needed.
The tractor is a working piece of equipment……

…….as is this vintage Chevrolet truck.
    
The wheat is milled and finished on-site and is used to bake the breads offered at The Roost.

In addition to milling their own wheat for flour, this family keeps chickens for fresh eggs and meat…………..

………sheep for milk, cheese and meat,,,,,,,,,,,,,

……..and bees for their honey.
The honeybee boxes are in the fruit portion of the farm, which includes the blueberry bushes behind the boxes……

…………green apple trees…………..

…………..red apple trees……………..
    

……..strawberries, black tomatoes…………..

…………and grapes.  Oh, the grapes!  Rows of vines hanging full of grape clusters!
The Roost farm produces both red and white wines, available in The Bistro with your meal, or for sale to go.

Tastings of The Roost’s wines are available here, as are other mementos and gift items,


just inside the main Bistro entrance — next to the piano.

This is also where you can sign up to paint your own chicken!
Indeed, The Roost is so much more than what meets the eye!

There’s the large outdoor tent for private functions………….
  

……another area for private functions……..
………a games area with a bull riding simulator for kids of all ages………..

………………..and a ping pong table, plus a soccer billiards game.

And then there’s Hamish’s private collection of vintage cars and tractors…………

—————and the pumpkin carriage in the back corner!

And if you haven’t already figured out that this family loves having fun, and loves providing a venue for others to have fun, you have got to see [….ominous music here…..]……..

………the Dungeon!
What lurks behind those imposing doors, you ask?

The first room is deceptively benign, with its long tables (crafted by Hamish) ………..but look to the far end, behind the door with steel bars where there should be windows………
   

…………standing guard over the wine aging barrels beyond his right shoulder is a full suit of armour, and behind that is a somewhat uncomfortable-looking standing squeeze box……..

…………..and a true, functional rack!…………..

   

…………….and a throne to which none wishes to ascend, and the remnant of some hapless one, hanging on the wall!
Do you see the humerus?!

    

Full of tasty, wholesome, home-grown food and drink — plus plenty of room for a good time — Welcome to The Roost!

 

Roost Vineyard Bistro & Farm Bakery
9100 East Saanich Road
North Saanich

250-655-0075
www.roostfarmcentre,com

Sun – Thur 8 – 8,  Fri & Sat 8 – 9

 

Sült Pierogi Bar

“This is my unvariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun!”  — Julia Child

My Mom used to make perogies — she loved to try many different kinds with various fillings and sides. And they were SO good!
Soooo………….what about today?  A downtown perogy place?  — OOPS! —  “pierogi” place!
Well, we discovered Sült Pierogi Bar.

Sult Perogie Bar 3 (Medium)

Trust me, this place has pierogies nailed!  No matter how you spell it, I call it “More, please!”

Sult Perogie Bar 2

The menu includes various combinations of fillings, sides and number of pierogies for your order.
Sult Perogie Bar 1
The restaurant is finished in industrial chic style.Sult 7

The walls are filled with artwork by Dallas Segno (www.dallassegno@gmail.com).
Sult 4

And there indeed is  a bar!

Sult 5
This space formerly housed a bank, so the door to the bank’s vault remains in place at Sült — but it looks nothing like your bank’s vault door!
Sult 9         Sult 6

And there’s take-out!  So following this sumptious tasting, we had out-of-province company staying with us, and we treated them to Sült pierogies — this was a BIG hit!

Sult 1Check it out!   You will NOT be disappointed!    Sült !

Sült Pierogi Bar
609 Yates St
778-265-7858

www.sultpierogibar.com

Mon – Thurs 11 am-9 pm,  Fri – Sat 11 am-12 am,  Sun 11 am-6 pm

Cafe Brio

“Dinner is not what you do in the evening before something else. Dinner is the evening.”  — Art Buchwald

And so, we went for dinner.

Exterior1Walking along Fort Street, it would be easy to miss Café Brio.  But it would be a big miss!
Linda at entry1

The open-air courtyard seating was a real treat on this perfect July evening.
Sunlit courtyard seating1

However, the indoor ambience is very pleasant as well.
Indoors1

But the star of this show is the food – all of it!
Bread-001

We were started with fresh bread which is baked fresh in-house daily.

Cured ham1

That was the perfect accompaniment to the cured smoked ham, thinly sliced, with two house-made mustards and a side of pickled sea asparagus.
The owner smokes and cures the meats by hand, and sources the meats locally from Island farms. Delicious!
Contorni1

We shared a contorni, which is an appetizer made with four different greens:
–  shaved cucmber slices with fresh green sprouts, fennel and a sorrel dressing;
–  sautéed frisee with toasted pumpkin seeds;
–  grilled long green beans with chili and almonds;  and
–  fresh garden greens with a strawberry mint dressing.
This in itself was a star!
Halibut1

I had a half-order of pan-roasted halibut with garlic-sauteed spinach, cauliflower puree and sea asparagus. Perfect!

Roast duck1

Linda had a half-order of roast duck breast — tender and moist, and came with pea and ricotta tortellini, braised romaine with smoked bacon, and a condiment of almond and mint.  Delicious!

Choosing desserts was a difficult consideration.

Linda chose a house-made dark chocolate truffle.

I chose a mini vanilla bean crème brulee to punctuate this outstanding dinner.
And I cannot wait to return!

Cafe Brio
944 Fort St.
250-383-0009
www.cafebrio.com

5:30 – 10 pm daily

 

The Pier Bistro

“Sit in reverie and watch the changing colour of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”  — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And what better place to do so than at The Pier Bistro!

Pier view

Located at the very end of Beacon Avenue, Sidney’s main street, right out on the end of the pier is where you’ll find the aptly named Pier Bistro.

Pier Bistro 5
There’s indoor seating for blustery days, but we were here on a gloriously sunny day and chose a waterside table.  We watched the waves lapping in the sun, boats out on the water, seagulls lazily soaring by and even a proud mother duck and her six ducklings paddling by just beyond our table.

The Pier’s crab cakes were made to just the right done-ness, with just a bit of a spicy bite to them, but not so much that you become suspicious of what’s being hidden.  Good flavor!

The Spicy Thai Salad was refreshing with interesting greens and lots of cashews.

The piece de resistance was The Pier Bistro’s eggs benny, which is a Crab Benny, served on a crab cake instead of a biscuit.  Unique and delicious!

Come here when your company arrives from landlocked locations – they’ll be impressed!

The Pier Bistro
2550 Beacon Ave W, Sidney, BC
(250) 655-4995
Tue – Sun  9 am – 9 pm
Mon  9 am – 4 pm

Axe & Barrel Brewing Company

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”   — Mark Twain

Enroute to Bear Mountain in Langford and needing some sustenance, we spotted the Axe & Barrel.

Axe & Barrel 1

Newly established, with a new menu, this is the Westshore’s first craft brewery.

Axe & Barrel 4

The interior space feels homey and immediately comfortable.

 

In addition to its beer menu, the Axe & Barrel offers a menu that highlights its barbecue angle.

 

Axe & Barrel 2

We  asked about the most popular items on their menu, and the immediate response was the seafood chowder soup.  My husband is somewhat of a connoisseur of  seafood chowders, so he immediately chose a cup of that option.
Axe & Barrel 6

The soup base is a creamy broth (not at all flour-y), and tasty on its own.

The chowder was loaded with seafood including prawns and garnished with two mussels.

A cornbread mini-loaf accompanied the chowder.

Verdict?  My husband said it’s the best chowder he’s had on the Island!
Hefty endorsement, for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Axe & Barrel 5

We shared a plank of nachos that are totally different than  the usual pub fare.

These came totally smothered in toppings, including tender pulled pork, halved grape tomatoes, sweet and savoury carmelized onions, and house baked beans –plus the usual cheese.

We added salsa verde made from green tomatillos, which accompanied the flavors perfectly. A most tasty and satisfying appetizer that actually served as a meal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No question — we’ll be back!


Axe & Barrel 3

Axe & Barrel Brewing Co.
2323 Millstream Rd.
778-433-6746       250-474-1989
www.axeandbarrel.com

Sun – Sat  11 am – midnight

 

Boondocks Cafe

“Lord have mercy on the boy from down in the boondocks”
— Billy Joe Royal from ‘Down In The Boondocks’ song

Well, if the boy needs mercy at the Boondocks café, it’s likely because he can’t decide what to order from all the tempting choices!

Situated on a quiet street, Boondocks is a pub-style restaurant with the space divided into several areas for either an open pub-like atmosphere, or smaller spaces for more intimate dining.
Boondocks stirfry
The pleasant surprise for us was the covered patio at the rear of Boondocks surrounded by sunlight and plants, yet we were in the shade on this hot day.  Perfect!

The chefs are also the owners of Boondocks for over two decades, carefully sourcing their meat, produce and baked goods locally.

The Boondocks Burger is a favourite of regular clients. The all-beef patty is made fresh in-house daily from beef produced by 63 Acres Farm in southern BC.  Yummy!

Boondocks stirfryBoondocks features a stir-fry every day, and today was pork.   The pork medallions were very tender, and the stir-fry had lots of vegetables.  Tasty and satisfying.

Boondocks Café
9732 1 St, Sidney, BC
250-656-4088
www.boondocksinsidney.com
Mon – Saturday 11 am – 11 pm
Sunday Noon – 8 pm