The Crow and Gate Pub

2313 Yellow Pt, 250-722-3731, Nanaimo, BC(Cedar)

By Patrick Simpson

A hidden treasure.  You could live on the Island all your life and never know that the Crow and Gate pub existed. Located in Cedar, a small rural community just south of Nanaimo, it's a bastion of the ol' empire.

One of the most striking features of the Crow and Gate are the grounds surrounding the pub. Set up like an English country inn, complete with a duck pond and perfectly manicured lawn, you would never know you were in Canada - if not for the absence of cigarette smoke.

My lunch dates today were my parents - Bob and Dorothy. Bob, who is a regular patron, told me you can't complain about the service because there is none. Indeed he is correct. There is no table service at the Crow and Gate. If you want food or drink, you go up to the bar and get it yourself. While coming as a shock to many first-time patrons, I think it adds to the quaintness of the establishment.

With a good base of British and Irish ale on tap, the Crow and Gate also carries an impressive selection of locally produced draught beers and ciders (including Philips, Fat Cat Brewery and Merridale cider.) My parents and I settled on Fat Cat India pale ale.

The menu posted on a chalk board behind the bar has most of your old English favourites with a few north American add-ons. I decided on a 1/4 roast chicken with a half rack of ribs ($16.95). Not the cheapest thing on the menu by any means, but the chicken and ribs were tasty and the portion generous - I thought it was good value. Bob had the beef dip ($9.95). He was happy with his choice and noted that the greens were fresh and crisp. Dorothy had the Stilton ploughman's lunch ($8.95) - one of her favourites. If you have never had a ploughman's lunch, the Crow and Gate may be the best place around to try your first one. It consisted of a huge scoop of potato salad, a large chunk of Stilton cheese, olives, pickles, bread, a large green salad and a piece of paté ($2 extra) - a hearty portion to say the least.

I think the Crow and Gate is one of the best pubs on the Island. If you can find it, in the wilderness of Cedar, you will be rewarded for the journey.

Reviewed April 21/06