Do you know that place , you know that one that you have passed by about a hundred times, the one that every single time you go by it you say “We should go there one day”. Well, The Grove Pub & Restaurant at 164 Stafford Street had been that place for me.
Since its opening in 2010, I have literally passed by this cozy looking little corner restaurant / pub at least 5 or 6 times a month, sometimes more, but never less, I always comment that I want to go there, and my wife always responds “One day when we don’t have any of the kids, we will go there on a date” …. well this week with the youngsters out-of-town visiting their Nana and Granddad, we had another opportunity for a date night, and when I messaged my wife “where do you want to go for dinner?”, and it came back “How about The Grove? we’ve always talked about going there” we seized the moment to finally check this place off of the list.
So It’s a Tuesday night, we had both finished work, we quickly went home got changed into something a little more date-night worthy, and headed out the door. At this point the anticipation of going to The Grove had almost reached a boiling point. I thought to myself “Am I building this up to much?? Can it live up to 8 years of anticipation??”
We park the car at about 8:00pm just across the street on Grosvenor avenue, and as we walk up we can already see that the place looks really busy. There are 2 main doors, turn left for the pub, right for the restaurant, We turn right as we are looking for a more intimate setting for our dinner, two hostesses greet us and ask for how many, I tell them that we are looking for a table for 2 and they reply that they are a little busy tonight and that it would be about a 20 minute wait… now I know, 20 minutes to eat at a restaurant you’ve been waiting to go to for 8 years doesn’t sound like much, but it was late, my wife and I don’t get many date nights, so I must admit there was a brief “It’s not meant to be moment”. However, I quickly shook that thought out of my head, and with my wife nodding at me that it was OK, I gave the hostess my name and we sat in the waiting area and my wife and I caught up with each other on how our days went.
Almost to the minute, our hostess came to us with 2 menus and told us our table was ready. We were sat at a quaint little table for two right by the window. Our waitress was there shortly after, she told us of the specials, a delicious sounding tomato soup, and an incredible pot pie as the other. She then left to get us a couple of glasses of water, and to give us a chance to review the menu.
The menu was a traditional pub style menu, lots of appetizers and smaller bites, a great list of personal sized pizzas as well, and then a few mains to choose from including a braised lamb shank, and a couple of Ole English traditions with Bangers and Mash, and Fish and chips. For us this night it was the Burger and Sarnie page that caught our attention ( The Oxford English dictionary defines Sarnie as the British informal version of a sandwich in case you were wondering )
My wife chose the Chicken Sarnie, a spicy chicken sandwich with avocado, lettuce, tomato, and onion with basil mayo on a ciabatta bun, while I enjoyed the Harvard Burger which had a fresh beef patty, bacon, jalapeno relish, mayo, grilled pineapple, and pepper jack cheese. We had the option of hand cut chips, Caesar salad or mixed greens as our options for sides, and as you can see we both went for the chips.
Both of our meals were cooked to perfection, tender and juicy chicken and patties on each, every bite had a dash of freshness added to it whether it was from the avocado on one or the pineapple on the other, the hand cut crisp were crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and coated with a wonderful seasoning, the only thing missing was the spice, both the burger and the sarnie seemed to be made for a more sensitive pallet, both the spicy chicken on the sarnie, and the jalapeno relish on the burger missed the opportunity to blend some subtle heat into these dishes, but with that being said , we both still enjoyed our meals immensely .
Last but not least, I enjoyed this meal with a well-balanced London mule, a perfectly balanced drink with Gin, fresh lime and orange juices and topped off with ginger beer. This was one of many crafted cocktails they had, and like any true pub, they also had a full selection of beer and wine, including many beers from some of the fine Winnipeg breweries
Overall, The Grove Pub & Restaurant was a fantastic experience, my biggest regret is that I waited so long to come here. The food was great the drinks were refreshing, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. We will definitely be going back 😊(and it won’t be another 8 year wait I can guarantee that lol)