Island’s Best series – The Crow and Gate

In 1972

something truly magical happened. No, it was not the year I was born. If only.

The Government of British Columbia introduced changes to the beverage industry to allow neighborhood pubs in the Province.

Click the image at right for an enlarged view

Like the specialty coffee revolution (currently well underway in Canada) the arrival of the Pub on the Canadian dining scene would forever change the fabric of the eating out experience.

So let’s celebrate shall we? Please raise a glass to one of Canada’s finest pubs (and I have visited a few); The Crow and Gate Pub in Cedar, British Columbia – a few KM south of Nanaimo.

The C&G is somewhat unique in that it is located kind of in the middle of no where. Well, countryside is not exactly in the middle of no where. Close perhaps. It is a bit of a drive for the average Island resident. From Victoria, it is about one and 1/2 hours at the posted speed limit – just under 100 km. Do yourself a favor. Take the Island Highway straight up along the East Coast of the Island, past Duncan, Chemainus and Ladysmith and turn off at the Cedar road exit. Do not panic – it is probably about 12 km down a series of country roads and there are signs everywhere. The Crow & Gate pub is at 2313 Yellow Point Rd., Cedar, B.C.

The Crow & Gate is a very solid copy of an English pub. It is not a Pub Style restaurant by any stretch. It is a Pub. Keep this in mind if you are a family with children. You must be 19 years of age or older if you wish to partake of the food and drink here.

The Food – Everything is made fresh at the Crow & Gate. Nothing comes out of a can. Typical English favorites include Steak & Mushroom, Steak & Kidney Pie, Ploughman’s Lunch, Fried Oysters, Scotch Egg, Melton Mowbray and the like. If you do not like English food at its very best, you are not going to like this stuff. I do and the quality is superlative.

The Drink – The Crow & Gate does not serve watered down American Beer. This is the real deal folks; Kilkenny, Smithwicks, Guinness and a wide selection of local and regional artisan beers are on tap. The beer and the food are the perfect compliment to each other.

My meal – In the photo above, I ordered the Steak and Mushroom Pie. It is, as always, the best I have ever tasted. Perfect pastry surround a wonderful beef stew filling with just the right amount of beef gravy. Each meal comes with a serving of side green salad and potato salad. Pate is an option if you are eating with someone who has ordered a Ploughmans. The Pate here is incredible.

Summary – If you like food and drink (and who doesn’t?) and are visiting Vancouver Island, the Crow & Gate Pub is a must do while you are here. No exception.

In a continuing series on Island food and drink, Colin Newell critiques the best of the best among Island establishments.