I've become a regular at the Elephant & Castle over the last several years, and sometimes I wonder why. It's such a mixed bag, every damn time. First, the pros:
- Friendly service. They recognize regulars and have a couple of very attentive servers.
- Some of the lunch and dinner entrées are really good. The traditional pub items and the Jameson's Chicken are particularly enjoyable. Great comfort food on a cool day.
- Good selection of beer.
Now, the cons:
- Service at lunch is sloooooow. If you only have an hour for lunch, avoid it altogether. This is aggravating to find in a downtown eatery surrounded by office buildings. Almost everyone who comes in between 12 and 2 on a weekday has an hour for lunch. Know your customers and get your shit together.
- The drinks are horrendously overpriced. Don't bother with the seasonal featured cocktails - some of them are quite nice, but they are way too expensive. $8 for a martini? Fuck you, this is Winnipeg.
- Some of the appetizers are a rip-off. An appetizer order of spring rolls, for instance, consists of a few average spring rolls cut in half, with a totally unremarkable dipping sauce that is, I gather, supposed to be sweet chili. For $6.50.
It's frustrating. The place has a lot going for it - great location, cozy atmosphere, some really tasty food. But every time I go, I just end up pissed off because I spent too much money and I don't feel like it was worth it.
This particular evening, I had two featured cocktails, two lime margaritas on the rocks, and shared an appetizer sampler of spring rolls, fish bites, and bruschetta with my companion, E. My bill, taxes and tip included, was $50.64. I was hungry when I got home, so I made toast. I crunched that toast with annoyance, dear readers.
All in all, the Elephant and Castle is woefully inconsistent. If they could iron out a few of the kinks, I wouldn't even mind the high prices. Alas.
Two sticky beer coasters out of five.