Tuesday, 29 June 2010

THE CHESHIRE CAT PUB, Kanata ON

It's funny how things work out. My good friend Julianna from the good old days at the Chestnut (and some wing reviews on here) has been living maybe a 20 minute drive from me, and we have only seen each other once, back in like November 2009 since we both moved to the Capital Region. Well that was way too long a time and we decided we should have a mini-reunion ,catch up and get a bite to eat.





Julianna was up for doing a wing review, so I looked into somewhere to go in Kanata for wings. Not many places came up, and the few that did, I've reviewed. But just on the fringes of this suburban community were a few options. The first suggestion I had for Julianna was a little pub on the way to Carp ON (home of the Diefenbunker) and before I could even say the name, she was like "Is it the Cheshire Cat Pub?" I was like yes, and since we both heard good things, the decision was made without bothering with the others.



Just minutes from Kanata, in the hamlet of Huntley, the pub was renovated a few years ago from the 'Mulligan School' from the 1880's. If you go to their website you can check out the photos from the renovations. The grounds are great with lush greenery and a classic British telephone booth.

The inside the pub is tiny, rustic, and feels like you are in an old English pub. In fact they call themselves a "A Traditional English Pub". There is a lot of character inside, and a lot of patrons! Pretty impressive for a Monday at noon.




The weather was perfect though for sitting on the patio. Just a little bit of sun, a nice breeze and a very comfortable patio. I love the cottage/rustic feel with the old brick building, vines, big trees growing through the cobblestone ground. This automatically is one of my favourite patio's ever.



We had two servers who were friendly and knowledgeable. I didn't catch either of their names, but they were great. Even when there was a little ordering snafu, they quickly rectified the situation. There were lots of decisions to go over and food to be had. The menu is a great mix of classic British pub food like fish & chips, liver & onions, bangers and mash, and steak and kidney pie. But there is also North American pub fare like jalapeno poppers, sweet potato fries, and of course wings.




The ordering of food and my pictures here are a bit out of order. Above, the salad Julianna ordered was her meal that came out later. The deep fried pickles I'm sporting are an appetizer that came out first. But I review the wings last. And Julianna also got wings, so they too are reviewed last. So I will start with Julianna's meal that came out last along with my pickles that came out first, and the wings that came out first for Julianna and my wings that came out last as my meal. Got it?



One great thing The Cheshire Cat Pub does is locally sourced food. Julianna beverage was from a local brewery Hog's Back Beer. Her lunch was part of a special highlighting fresh Ontario strawberries in season. The salad was strawberry, watermelon, avocado with a balsamic vinegar dressing on greens. You might notice some chicken on there that was accidentally added. I was told it was a very good salad.




I'm a sucker for deep fried pickles. And these rocked. They were homemade, and came with a great buttermilk ranch (that's what it tasted like anyway) dip. Crispy, juicy, dilly. So good.


Not featured by photo, but some desert was also had. A piece of Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake found it's way to our table. The coconut was in the crust, the strawberry (fresh Ontario again) on top of classic cheesecake. It was so good. When we told the second waitress how good it was, she said the other waitress and her were having that for lunch themselves.


The chicken wings came in a variety of sizes and flavours. I went with an order of ten. They come with carrot sticks and the menu offered a variety of dips, but mine was absent. But after our discussion on dips, I was happy to have them au naturale.


The sauced wings were nice and wet. There wasn't a pool of sauce, but each wing was almost perfectly coated.



The chicken was about a medium in size, but very meaty. And so juicy. These wings were clearly fresh, and they came hot from the fryer. They above are done Buffalo style, with no dusting and tossed just right. And the skin was crispy the way a wing skin should be. Both Julianna and I ordered wings (but in different quantities) and different flavours to do a bit of sampling.


HOT

This was my main dish. 10 crispy, hot saucy Buffalo wings. The sauce was clearly Frank's based, so it wasn't burn my mouth at all, but the taste was heaven.


SALT & PEPPER and HOT & HONEY

Julianna went with a kiddie order of 5 wings, which is great for sampling just a few. On the side she ordered Hot & Honey, just in case the sauce was too spicy for her. And it was. I was expecting a honey garlic with a bit of hot sauce, but it seemed like Frank's with some honey added - but Frank's was definitely the dominant flavour.




The base wings were tossed in salt and pepper. It looked like kosher or sea salt with fresh ground pepper. Crispy and seasoned, Julianna said she really liked these.





SUICIDE

I got a side of suicide with my hot, just in case the flavour wasn't very good. It too was Frank's based, but much more peppery. Possibly cayenne pepper added or Tabasco? An individual wing wasn't very hot, but eating a few in a row really put the burn on the back of the throat all the way down to the heart.



FINAL SCORE: I can't tell you how fresh, crispy, juicy and tasty my wings were. They may not have been the biggest, but the quality was much more important than quantity here. The Hot was just regular Hot, but it was just so good. Suicide had a peppery kick. Salt and Pepper were perfect for Julianna and while Hot & Honey was too much heat for her, it was a tasty flavour. The food was really fresh, the staff friendly and the atmosphere was great. I will definitely be coming back for wings. 7.5/10

It was great sitting on a patio on a beautiful June day, catching up with an old friend. It was too long, but worth the wait. Thanks for lunch Julianna!


The Cheshire Cat Pub
2193 Richardson Side Road, Huntley (Kanata) ON

4 comments:

Julianna said...

I agree- a fab place with fab company!

We should do it again soon Jeffy- it was certainly a great afternoon and super yummy food! :)

Lord of the Wings said...

Julianna - Much sooner than 7 months later!

Teena in Toronto said...

What a fun place!

Chris said...

Great looking place, I love the outdoor dining. The selective color in the one wing shot is eye catching!