The Blue Fox Cafe

101-919 Fort Street, tel 250-380-1683

I dislike waiting in queues, but we nevertheless wanted to visit the Blue Fox, so we tried to find a time when there wasn't a line up streaming out the door. We couldn't, so we bit the bullet and went for what seemed like a shorter than average wait.

After about 10 minutes of waiting at the door we were seated and given menus. The restaurant was crowded and the servers out-paced by the volume of customers. We waited more than 5 minutes to be attended to, at which time we were offered drinks, but couldn't order ('I'll get your server'). I appreciate the division of labour issue between servers and their support staff, but at breakfast, the odds are it's not going to take me more than five minutes to determine my food and drink order. Our drinks arrived before the server did - so about 10 minutes after being seated we gave our breakfast order. To be fair, the server was polite and efficient in dealing with us, but was in no position to do anything more than relay information to the kitchen - there was very little 'service' available. After that it took 35 minutes to get food delivered to the table. No wonder there's a line up out the door!!!  It took us an hour an half from arrival to exit - unacceptable for breakfast. The reason they have a line up isn't because they have a fabulous restaurant, it's because the servers are understaffed and the kitchen is too small to output food at the volume with which it receives orders. Remove 6-7 seats from the restaurant and the staff would be able to keep up, the queue would be shorter (or non-existent), the turnover faster, the customers happier and the owners just as prosperous.

The food has its merits. They bake their own bread, make their own jam and use a variety of local products. The quality is generally good and the prices reasonable. However, I take issue with their wasteful use of potatoes as plate filler. My huevos rancheros ($8.95) occupied only half the plate, the other half was a mountain of mediocre fried potatoes. I looked around the restaurant to see uneaten potatoes everywhere. Excessive potatoes may fill you up, but they do not alone create value and neither does waste. Value is is the correct amount of food at the correct price.

Otherwise, my dish was tasty and the eggs cooked properly. The refried beans, however, were bland and I would guess straight from a tin. I was provided with chilli sauce, which is good, but it was nothing special (Frank's Red Hot, or the like). Patty had the Blue Fox Grill ($9.95) - a mountain of breakfast meat (sausage, bacon): 3 eggs, toast, fried mushrooms, tomatoes and of course, potatoes. It was acceptable value and the quality decent - other than the sausages, which he wasn't a fan of, and of course he couldn't come close to finishing the potatoes.

Other than the service and the gluttonous approach to value, the Blue Fox is an upbeat environment with cheery (albeit a bit gawdy) ambiance. They should be commended for their use of local products, but they need to watch corner cutting with the not local/homemade products.

To be perfectly honest, there's similar quality and value available for breakfast in Victoria, without the aggravating queue and slow kitchen.  

reviewed August 10, 2006