Fresh Bakery and Bistro
3115 Cedar Hill Road
Victoria, BC V8T3J4
Tel: (250) 595-2624
Despite reading reviews of mediocrity surrounding this somewhat new establishment, a friend suggested we try it out for their dinner service. A touch out of the way, Fresh Bakery and Bistro provides an experience and ambiance unlike that of the not so distant Victoria downtown core. Pops of pop art and mod decor gave the space an interesting and eclectic feel. The bakery section when you first arrive is tempting and impressive. We were informed that they are open for all meals of the day, and it’s easy to see why they are because who doesn’t want an Eccle cake or a brownie to nibble on for lunch-break.
We chose to sit near the window in a comfortable booth with available light. It was a pleasant surprise that live-music was offered on weekend nights, yet another charming addition to the ambiance. As the artist’s humble and smokey vocals played in the background, the menu called us for attention. Friday night= cheap beer, all Philip’s brew( a tasty Victorian delight) for only $3.75 a pint, a steal if you ask me. That was an easy decision. A short menu with an array of salads, pizza’s and appetizers was simple but with some nice options. We hit up the prix fixe menu, 4-courses for a reasonable $19.99.
Both my friend and I ordered the same, starting with a Bruschetta, a Caesar salad, Beef Bourguignon for our mains, and a delectable Orange Suzette crêpe for dessert.
Each course arrive promptly, delivered by a sweet and coy server who was observant and checked-in often but not in the least pushy. The bruschetta packed punch of sweet fresh tomatoes and onions with basil, garlic and shards of parmesan. Personally, I like my bruschetta to be slopped onto a firm and crunchy croustini, so for that reason this wasn’t the best bruschetta I’ve tasted. The chef used a nice French baguette, but did not toast it, and all those beautiful tomatoes soaked right through.
The Caesar salad was refreshing with a nice and light lemon-y vinaigrette, crunchy croutons and mixed romaine greens, and lent itself nicely for a transition into our somewhat hearty main course. Beef bourguignon is a classic French preparation of a beef stew, with red wine and mushrooms. Fresh’s version was ladled into a puff-pastry boat of sorts, and it provided a nice textural element to the dish. Accompanying the richness of the gravy was a medley of carrots and parsnips and char-grilled asparagus which I particularly enjoyed.
Ready to be rolled out in a wheel-barrow at this point, our final course arrived in all its glory. With my single espresso , I enjoyed each bite of this crêpe, with caramel-orange and whipped cream.
Overall this was a good dining experience! If you are in the area you should give it a chance. The prices are reasonable for the amount of food you get, and regardless of the food, the ambiance is fun and casual. The music was better than I had expected and the staff were friendly and not the least bit pretentious. This is a good local haunt and in the end I would give it
I will definitely go back sometime for some treats from the bakery, and some live tunes whilst sipping some good local brew!