Captive Audience at Stanley Park
The plan doesn’t change much, regardless of what we’re going to see at the Malkin Bowl:
arrive earlyish to get a decent parking spot
wander around Stanley Park for a bit
eat dinner at the Veranda Grill in the Stanley Park Pavilion
watch a show
The plan went off without a hitch until dinner. The Veranda Grill that I remember from times past used to have a reasonable sized menu of pleasant food. You could go there and order a salad, couscous, quiche, lasagne or burgers and there were always several deserts to choose from, everything at reasonable prices. Sadly, it seems that the establishment has changed hands and is nowhere near what it used to be.
My initial impression walking in was that the layout had changed, somewhat. A great deal of the decor had been replaced with a large display of alcohol from Whistler Brewing Company. That in itself did not bother me much. The previous restaurant had served alcohol and I am by no means a prohibitionist.
When we arrived at approximately 5:45 pm, we agonized over the greatly diminished menu posted on the wall. When we went to the counter to place our orders we were informed that the kitchen had already closed for the day, and that left us with only two options for dinner: tuna sandwich or ham and cheese sandwich, of which they had several pre-prepared in the counter display. We weren’t particularly pleased by this, but because we had already paid for parking and didn’t want to lose our spot, we were a captive audience for dinner. We ordered five sandwiches and a couple nanaimo bars, no drinks.
We found out just how captive we actually were when the lady rang up our order on the cash register and it ended up being fifty dollars.
I will take a moment to describe the sandwiches. Each one was made out of approximately a third of a baguette, three tomato slices, two-to-three slices of ham and the same kind of cheese slices that you get at Subway. Each came packaged in a standard sandwich bag. There was nothing wrong with them, but as far as quality and presentation is concerned, I feel that they were hardly worth the amount that we paid for them.
I wasn’t particularly impressed by the service either. There was nothing marked anywhere to indicate that the kitchen closed at such a ridiculously early time of day, and no apology made for the fact that the foods displayed on the menu and their website were not actually being offered. The sandwiches were not marked with the flavours or prices, and the staff did not bother to explain anything about them, unless asked. I am not accustomed to having to interrogate staff for information, but our conversation ran somewhat like this:
Our kitchen is closed.
Do you have any other food?
What do you have?
We have sandwiches.
What kind of sandwiches?
And what flavours are they?
Ham and cheese and tuna.
Do you have any vegetarian options?
We have ham and cheese and tuna.
The people directly behind us had obviously walked in with the same expectations as we had, and had to go through the same conversation.
It became clear quite quickly that the main purpose of the Veranda Grill is now to serve overpriced alcohol. It offers just enough food that it can legally be considered a restaurant and not a bar, as bars are subject to a higher amount of regulation and taxation. With that in mind, I don’t think I will be back any time soon.
Picture of the Pavilion courtesy of this website.