The Park at English Bay

The Park at English Bay is now what used to be Checkers at the Sand’s Best Western.  Not only is this place the sight of far too many beers drank by me in the past but it’s a destination drinking spot that offers weekly live music and free UFC fights.  Food wise the place was so so and after a renovation and re-branding of a sort The Park at English Bay has been born so let’s see if they’ve really changed thing’s up.

I started with some Mac and Cheese topped with Guanciale for $9.  On the menu they say that the sauce is a blend of Sharp Cheddar and Gruyère but when I eagerly dug into this I was left with a starchy sauce that lacked the flavor of the mentioned cheeses.  The portion size was alright for an appetizer size but isn’t big enough if you’re looking for a main.  The saving grace was the guanciale topping which added a great texture and saltiness.

For my next Item I went with the chicken sandwich on the menu-the Le Parc for $14.

The Le Parc was a nice twist (in concept) on the traditional chicken sandwich and something that you normally wouldn’t find in a pub.  It was a combination of grilled pear, creamy brie and grilled chicken breast on a ciabatta bun with lettuce and mayo as described on the menu.  My sandwich was lacking grilled flavor on the pear and also the pear was lacking flavor-namely sweetness.  The creamy brie dominated the sandwich and the chicken was more filler it seemed.  On the bright side the bun was outstanding both flavor and texture wise.

The side salad was a let down.  They used a bag salad mix I think and didn’t go through it first as there were some browned and rotten pieces in the lower half of the bowl.

Seeing that I love burgers I had to give the house burger a try, it was pretty good before so I was curious to see the improvements.  They have appropriately named it the The Park Burger, it’s a house made chuck patty with bacon, mushrooms and cheddar cheese along with all the standard lettuce, onions, tomato and pickle.

You get your choice of fries, mixed green salad, Caesar or Yam fries.  I went with the traditional fries were alright but could have been crisper on the outside.

The burger itself was really good and was the best thing out of all the dishes I’ve tried off the menu.  The meat was very juicy and was nicely charred.  The toppings were also really good, the bacon packed some nice salty flavor and the cheese was ooey and gooey.  Lastly this bad boy was packed with sautéed mushrooms and they helped back up the beefy flavor of the patty.

The Ocean Wise Crab Cakes were up next.  They were described on the menu as like this ” Ocean Wise crab is featured in our traditional crab cakes. Served with a Vietnamese slaw, a fresh seasonal salsa and drizzled with a Chipotle aioli. Three unique cakes and three unique accents, it’s no coincidence.”  When they came to the table I was puzzled-I couldn’t see the three unique accents so I thought that the cakes must be flavored individually but to my disappointment they weren’t.  The crab cakes themselves were alright, they had a great crunchy breading and the filling was all crab with hardly to no filler but they could have been on the thicker side-these cam in at maybe a centimeter thick.  The Vietnamese inspired salad had some great flavor and was refreshing and the aioli was alright.  The salsa on the other hand didn’t seem fresh and lacked moisture that you would expect to find in a fresh salsa.  These ended up being 3 alright crab cakes but didn’t live up to the menu description of having 3 different accents.

So out of all the items I had the burger was the clear winner for flavor and quality of ingredients.  The other items I had looked great and they get points for presentation the dishes still lacked impact and ended up being kinda ordinary.  If your looking for a solid place for drinks and live music I’d recommend the Park at English Bay and try the burger!, I also hear they have a pretty good fried chicken.

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