Chef Chat, Part 3: Shiva Patel of the Queen Vic Pub and Kitchen

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In this week's chef chat, we caught up with Shiva Patel of the Queen Vic Pub and Kitchen (see our conversation here and here). I stopped in just in time for High Tea, a small meal-between-meals that traditionally consists of lighter fare -- sandwiches, scones, and the like. I've been keen to sample the food at The Queen Vic for some time now, so I went overboard and started with a beer flight and some poutine.

I built my own beer flight, which came beautifully arranged with four five-ounce glasses of beer appropriately served on a wooden tray shaped like a cricket bat. Featuring beers from near and far, from the Southern Star Brewery in Conroe, to Scotland's Brewdog, the Queen Vic is on its way to building a unique beer program.

If you've never heard of poutine, don't let the name fool you. Originating in Quebec, poutine is a heap of frites, cheese curd and brown gravy, often consumed as late-night grub to soak up the alcohol. There are variations of the dish -- here in Texas we have chili cheese fries, and in Maine they make a dish called mixed fries. The Queen Vic's spin is called Lamb Keema Poutine and consists of paneer, ground lamb, peas and mozzarella on a bed of chips, or crispy fries. Although a hearty dish, its flavors of paneer, peas, and curry were well-balanced, distinct, and subtle.

I couldn't go to tea without having a tea sandwich, de-crusted and all. The Queen Vic offers an array of sandwiches for afternoon tea, all served on a white doily, and I went with the smoked goat cheese and rocket salad. It was simply prepared with white bread, goat cheese, arugula and cherry tomato, and, after the poutine, a veritable palate cleanser.

Don't let the unassuming exterior fool you: The Queen Vic is as bold as they come as far as flavor and originality are concerned. Patel is offering a diverse, creative menu, from High Tea to Sunday Roast.

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