Boom & Batten Restaurant & Cafe (Victoria)

British Columbia’s hospitality industry mints trendy resto bars. You know, the restaurants that occupy a lot of space so there is a large bar, plenty of seating for tables of various sizes, often a patio area, and soaring ceilings so you feel it’s size, but with warm tones and lighting so it feels casual as well. Some restaurants have become chains that have scaled across Canada, such as Joey’s and Cactus Club, and I bet Boom and Batten may join the club.

Located by the harbour in a luxurious residential neighbourhood, Boom and Batten’s cosmopolitan vibe could almost seem out of place. As the well-heeled crowds of Victoria make their way into the restaurant on a weeknight, the place is busy and seemingly draws all age groups and occasions.

Their menu is extensive and includes a multitude of shareables that will entice even those who are just there for drinks to sample one nibble. The elk carpaccio ($17) is a lighter choice with paper thin slices of lean meat (don’t worry, it’s not gamey) that’s topped with black garlic aioli, puffed rice, and what seems like a lot of mustard seed but works. Eat the carpaccio on its own or on top of the lavash crackers, both create a great snack. 

The meatballs ($16) and spicy clams ($16) both incorporated a lovely sauce that had us reaching for the grilled sourdough to sop up. While the pork and beef meatballs were large, they broke apart easily and were wonderfully tender and delicate. I thoroughly enjoyed the smoked tomato butter and romesco sauce that covered the spicy clams but found that they could up the chili peppers as its heat just began to tickle the tongue. 

It wouldn’t be a B.C. resto bar without pizza; Boom & Batten showcases their pizza oven prominently at the front of the restaurant where we watched the chef prepare pie after pie as we waited for our reserved table. The show enticed me to try the prosciutto pizza ($23), which oddly uses a cream sauce as its base yet, when combined with roasted pear and truffle honey creates a sweet and sticky element against the cured ham and peppery arugula. This pizza is made for sharing as it’s also fairly heavy. 

Of course, trendy restaurants also need to feature local ingredients and the wild sockeye salmon ($36) was a good dish. While the fish appeared to be overdone upon arrival, it was nonetheless moist and flaky. The dish could have done without the rye crisps as it already included blocks of crispy potatoes that could rival McDonald’s hash browns any day. Instead, it would have been nice if the main had another vegetable, other than just roasted beets, to balance out the meal better. 

Boom & Batten’s atmosphere and our unexpected seating in their private dining room was likely why we had to stay for dessert. Truthfully, I didn’t need a bite of their chocolate bar ($14). By this point, I was stuffed to the gills, and we were carrying out half the pizza. However, if you’re a chocolate fan (I’m not), you’ll love their decadent deconstructed version incorporating a mound of crunchy hazelnuts, a wedge of silky chocolate mousse and malt chocolate caramel, and some ice cream, because why not? 

In fact, there’s something about B.C.’s resto bars that makes me think, why not? Dishes are enticing yet not overly fussy, price points are reasonable, and as you look over to other tables you want stay and enjoy the moment a bit longer. It almost conjures up images of old Keg commercials where people are laughing, women alluringly toss their hair back, and wine glasses are raised at the table. Boom & Batten, when you make your way to Ontario and need someone to feature in your ads, give me a call. I’ll take wine and meat balls as payment.   

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Victoria, Canada
 Address: 2 Paul Kane Place

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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