My lovely mother and I visited Fernwood Inn on a bustling Tuesday night prior to seeing a play at the Belfry Theatre (2 Pianos 4 Hands – it was a fantastic show!).
The atmosphere at the Fernwood Inn is casual, warm, and inviting. When you first walk in, the bar area is straight ahead, with mostly tables with bar stools in the first room. It is bright and bustling – obviously a great meeting spot for beers after work. I got the sense that this place is a sort of ‘small town watering hole’, with many people seeming to know each other or unknowingly bump into friends. This type of atmosphere is hard to find in Victoria, with many of our restaurants and pubs being considerably more buttoned-up.
The service was average. Our server was polite enough, though not overly friendly. She did her job though, which was the main thing.
The menu at the Fernwood Inn is pleasantly varied, with something to appeal to most tastes. They have a good selection of beers on tap, as well.
My mum got the “Inn Salad”, and seemed to enjoy it very much. There was a plethora of blueberries and macadamia nuts, which proved a creative and delicious combination. Her only complaint was that there could have been more brie cheese. There were two small slices.
I got Scotty’s Veggie Burger, with the Carrot Coconut and Ginger Soup. The soup was delicious, though served a little cool for my tastes, and a little sweeter than I would have liked. A few chili flakes would have brought it up a notch and distracted from the sweetness. The veggie burger, however, was great! Clearly a homemade patty, the folks at Fernwood Inn know how to make a vegetarian happy. It had a curry flavour, was moist, and overall succeeded in being a vast improvement on the generic veggie patty
Mandatory dessert: the Vanilla Creme Brulee. This is my mum’s absolute favourite dessert, and she was very impressed. I am not much of a creme brulee eater, but my bite was delicious, and I could tell that some thought was put into this dessert by the little vanilla pod seeds dotted in the mixture. That was a good sign. However, as you can see in the picture, the caramelized layer did not shatter as it usually should, and was a lot more “bendy” – not disastrous. The biscotti? Not so good. It tasted like it just came out of the deep freeze, though it may have been nice had I been drinking coffee.
I’m going to say that the value is pretty darn good. It isn’t overly cheap, but it certainly is more affordable than many of the other pubs in Victoria. The food is good, the atmosphere is lively – it’s definitely worth it, for the most part.
Fernwood Inn is worth straying from downtown for. It isn’t perfect, but it fills the niche of a place to meet some friends for good food and a beer.