Penny Farthing Pub
The Penny Farthing Pub is a great place to be for the experience except if you are from UK. Why other way would you travel thousands of miles to finish ending in a place with the surroundings of a genuine English pub? On the other hand, for the rest of the world it is recommended.
It is situated in Oak Bay (must be pronounce with a slighted British accent- Oowk Bay). It could not be located in a better place since this neighbourhood still have a very nice feeling of an out of the road unpretentious English village. Oak Bay still lacks big buildings but provides many interesting shops like antiques, books, gardening (of course) and art galleries. Penny Farthing Pub, with its frosted decorated windows, fireplace, stain glasses and dark wood panelling all around put you back easily in another time, in another place.
Myself, I was transported to a few years back when I was living in London, many years before we bought Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast in Victoria. I remember one day waking near Saint Paul. It was a deserted, cloudy Sunday afternoon that Don and I with a few cousins visiting from Canada stepped into a pub.
It was beautiful, the dark oak so shining and the elegant lamps and them those slabs of slighted green alabaster covering the walls! The waiter was eager to tell us that when the new owner bought the pub, just recently and as all new owners do he started the pertinent renovations. One of the first thing to be done was to get rid of the awful wallpaper (you know “either that wallpaper goes or I go” – Oscar Wilde). To the enormous surprise of everybody under the paper they founded those gorgeous pieces of alabaster that besides adding a very sophisticated touch of luxury it put more valuable to the property.
Penny Farthing Pub doesn’t have alabaster but neither your ear has to endure the insufferable high pit accent of The City’s talks. On the contrary the folks in the pub are the people that lives just around the corner, no many tourists in here unless they are friends of the locals. The pub has something very Victorian- that is a numbers of little areas that goes deep into the back of the building. These areas are half hidden or cozy corners where friends can sit and have a pint and chat about the other group of friends without being over heard. It has a grand stairs that lead you to an upper area with more areas to enjoy. The pub is decorated with nice warm colours lot of carved wood and stain glasses as well as old pictures and photographs plus the original penny farthing bicycle that gives name to the pub.
For lunch I had a very nice vegetarian Garden City Burger (brown rice and mushroom patty, smoked cheddar, red onion marmalade on a cracked wheat Kaiser) with fresh salad and of course some fries to make the meal not tooo healthy. Don had a nice home-made Irish stew (lamb shoulder braised tender in a savoury broth of celery, carrots, gold potatoes, thyme, served with traditional soda bread) that would make you forget about the weather outside. I don’t drink beer so I guess you have to came and try they have plenty from local brewery to international.
It’s about a 15 to 20 minute drive from Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast to Penny Farthing Pub. The below map will give you specific driving instructions.
View Driving from Albion Manor to Pennyfarthing Pub in a larger map.
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Irish Stew (from the Penny Farthing Menu)
Irish stew is a filling, flavourful dish made with the most readily-available ingredients. The Irish raised primarily sheep and root crops for subsistence. The sheep provided wool for warm clothing, milk for drinking and making cheese, and eventually food. Potatoes were the main food crop, prior to the potato famine.
Irish stew, or “stobhach gaelach” in Irish, is traditionally made of lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions and parsley. Sometimes, only lamb or mutton neck bones, shanks, and other trimmings were the only basis for the stock. Yet, these would-be discards still held enough flavor after a long simmering process to do justice to a hearty bowl of stew. The root vegetables added further flavour and thickening power, as well as filling sustenance. Some cooks added turnips or parsnips, carrots and barley when available.
When the Irish people began immigrating to the United States, they naturally brought along their food traditions. The stew evolved and adapted to include the local offerings. Sheep were not as plentiful, so other types of meat were often substituted. When made in the traditional manner, the result is very thick and hearty, not thin like soup. The recipe has evolved to often include Guinness stout and Paprika. Some variations have exalted this original peasant dish to near gourmet status.
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