The Clay Pigeon
1002 Blanshard Street
Victoria (250) 590-6657
A lot of my work involves facilitating discussion, observing, listening, and writing – and on a Friday night after a particularly stimulating week, I was not feeling my after-work run so much as a little date night with Mr. ST to debrief and reconnect. We love food that is simple but thoughtfully composed, and restaurants that are casual yet special, and in the Clay Pigeon we found all those whims deeply satisfied.
I first heard about the Clay Pigeon from Ken at Street Level Espresso who helped design the cocktail menu and can always be relied on to know where all the fine arts, fun and good food are in Victoria.
He also serves one of the best Americanos as well as baked goods from Devour. Painfully unproductive conference call? Maddeningly hedge-filled meeting? Unrealistic deadline plopped on you after days of waiting for direction? A coconut, chocolate, oatmeal cookie from Devour has solved all of these problems and more.
The name Clay Pigeon – and the promise of offal and charcuterie – reminded me of the English pubs we went to on our honeymoon.
I had a mild obsession with tracking down are the silly names!
Leave it to British people to sound dirty but in a perplexing sort of way.
But back to the bird! The Clay Pigeon occupies a space that has rotated through a few unsuccessful diners concepts, most memorably Valentino’s, as the corner of Blanshard and Broughton. Bookended by Devour on one side and the Pink Bicycle on the other, my office area is becoming quite the little hip foodie hub! But don’t hold that against it.
For a small joint, they had a nice variety of less-than-standard wine options, including ones from Mt. Boucherie – a West Kelowna winery we don’t often see on lists in Victoria, especially not a Gamay Noir. It has lots of berry flavour without being jammy and has a lingering flavour without major tannins. It balanced the firey zing of my garlic-lover’s Kale Caesar Salad.
Speaking of ceasars, Mr. ST had himself an excellent virgin caesar.
He shared the bean with me because I have a serious addiction to spiced pickled beans. There are worse things to be addicted to, I supposed – like these strips of fried pig ear, served with a sticky sweet chilli sauce on the side.
If someone took pork belly and turned it into french fries, this is what you’d get!
We also munched on these root chips with homemade aioli.
They were an excellent primer for the biggest hit of the night: the bison tongue reuben on carraway bread.
Take me away, Calgon! I don’t even care that they are crap-tastic Iphone photos. Ooozy cheese like this defies all resolutions.
If you still haven’t tried my three steps to charcuterie love, I think I just found the new first step for those who need a little more coaxing. After all, it’s hard not to acquire a taste for something if you start by smothering it in melted gruyere.
As we were paying, I noticed a wall full of lunch hour take-away sandwich options, all under $8. My usual go-to sandwich shop is the Italian Food Imports, but it’s nice to know there’s another Euro-twist sandwich option right around the corner now.
For more on the Clay Pigeon, check out EAT Magazine’s First Look.