Golden Spoons Review: Craft Food & Beverage Co.

| 20/07/2018 | 0 Comments

Craft Food & Beverage Co.(CNS Foodie): While not considered “fine dining”, the gastropub that is Craft Food & Beverage Co. is perfectly suitable for a casual meal with friends and family or a cosy date with that someone special. The atmosphere at Craft is pretty laid back, and the food…well, it can easily be labelled “comfort”.

Upon arrival, you are greeted by a friendly hostess. There are a variety of seating options – around the large square bar in the middle of the dining area; at one of the many tall tables lining the bay of windows facing the busy West Bay Road; in the semi-secluded dining area, conveniently set up to accommodate small or large parties; or at one of the many tables on the outdoor patio.

We found ourselves tucked away at the back of the restaurant, nearest the kitchen and facing the backside of the bar, where we could observe the servers flit back and forth as they waited on tables. Watching the bartenders produce some interesting concoctions, I scanned the drinks menu, bypassing the countless international beer options, for which Craft is well known, and opted for the signature Craft raspberry wine spritzer ($8). Described as “homemade, real fruit, no artificial crap!”, it was quite refreshing and fruity.

CNS Local Life

Bison nachos

On this particular evening Craft was putting on its wild game night, a “changing selection of venison, bison, wild boar and more”, which is rolled out every Tuesday. From appetiser to main course, this bespoke menu features a selection of options not typically available. We immediately gravitated to these special options, forgoing the standard fare of burgers and other pub grub.

Our server was quick to circle back and pleasantly explained the wilder options to us. We settled on the bison nachos ($12) and the seared duck ($11) for starters. Served in a heavy cast iron skillet, the nachos bore the look and smell of a Mexican dish, but were uniquely flavoured and very savoury. The bison was ground and generously topped with salsa, cheddar jack, pickled onions, avocado, jalapenos, sour cream and served with corn chips in a brown paper bag. The meat was juicy but not gamey or overpowering and the combinations of flavours left me craving each bite.

CNS Local Life

Seared duck

My date chose the duck and, full disclosure, I have not been a fan since I tried it many years ago, so was more than a little wary of how this would turn out. But that previous bad experience melted away once the dish arrived: slices of duck served on a bed of arugula with plum tomatoes, oranges, cranberries and a citrus reduction. And it was…delightful. Lean slices of seared breast arranged on a wooden slab had a wild side, full of flavour but so simple. The combination of savoury and sweet was the perfect pairing and every bite produced a discernible symphony of tastes, each with a refreshing finish.

CNS Local Life

Wild boar stew

Our main courses arrived soon after the removal of our very empty appetizer plates. With three options on the wild game menu, I chose the wild boar stew ($18) and my companion picked the wiener schnitzel ($17). The latter was a bit of a surprise to be honest, as I don’t consider veal to be wild or game. The stew was served as a wild boar tenderloin with carrots, parsnips, rosemary and colcannon (a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage). We tend to avoid pork dishes, but with the third option being rabbit (which neither of us fancied) we decided to give it a try. The dish comprised chunky pieces of tender, juicy boar mixed with hearty veggies in a tasty sauce over a serving of colcannon – the perfect comfort food for any occasion.

CNS Local Life

Wiener schnitzel

I thought we were doing well until this point, but when the veal arrived, we were immediately wary of the oil that was seeping from the meat onto the wooden block on which it was served. The meal included potato salad and a fresh salad, with lemon wedges and parsley. My date cut into the schnitzel and hesitated to take that first bite, but we were here to do a job, so to heck with cholesterol! It was tender and clearly very juicy, but lacked flavour, seasonings and any imagination that had benefitted the other dishes that we’d enjoyed thus far. Schnitzel for me is always hit or mis. I find it doesn’t have the same oomph as fried chicken, for instance, as the method leaves it a bit dripping with oil and, unfortunately, not flavour-packed. It’s a risk on a menu where patrons will be expecting something wild and exciting.

On the upside, the potato salad was very tasty and a perfect complement to the blandness of the meat. The green salad was a light mix of chopped romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, radishes and red onions in a light vinaigrette.

We finished dinner feeling well filled and overall gratified. Craft isn’t necessarily a craving that needs to be satisfied regularly, but it’s always an option for its consistent menu choices and service. You know what to expect and what you see is what you get. And if you feel the need to be entertained while waiting for your food, the pub offers an assortment of classic board games to play.

We’d definitely recommend Craft for an affordable, hearty meal in a casual and non-fussed environment.

The total bill was $89.13, including 15% gratuity

Craft website

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Category: Dinner, Golden Spoons Review

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