Sips Artisan Bistro


425 Simcoe St tel: 250 590 3519
I don't know how long I've been bemoaning the lack of wine bars in Victoria. Slowly, but surely they appear to be emerging. Located in James Bay Square, next to the Spinnaker's Spirit Merchant, Sips offers a simple menu with a 'tasting' theme. We went for lunch and were presented with a selection of salads and sandwiches and a generous array of speciality cheeses and charcuterie.  While there aren't any mind blower menu inspirations, it's a well constructed, bistro inspired menu. They also feature a dinner menu with more complex dishes. The best part about Sips is that they sell bottles of wine at retail prices!! That's great value. The menu also has some high food cost items at very reasonable prices. Pair that with the bargain wine and I'm a happy camper.

We started with an a la carte Hillary's Red Dawn cheese and Choux Choux jambon de Champagne (kudos to Luc on this product - I'm big fan of European style hams). Good portions of both, this type of thing is never cheap andI felt I was getting reasonable value. I had the the heirloom tomato, arugula and soprresseta salad with Moostruck White Grace Cheese. Served with croutons it was a meal sized salad. The tomatoes were surprisingly ripe, the arugula fresh and the salami beautifully sliced. I found the dressing a bit light however, and the cheese a little strong for this pairing, but enjoyed it as a whole.

Patty had the smoked trout sandwich. He really liked it and we both remarked that we don't see enough smoked trout on menus.

The service was friendly and reasonably attentive, but could have had a little more menu training, with a couple questions loosely answered.
The bottle of French Chablis we drank made the ensuing shopping trip next door to the wine store a little useless, but I was given the option to take the end of the bottle home. I'll try using that kind of restraint next time.

note: Spinnaker's Wine Merchant next door is an excellent pick for buying local wines

May 09