Chef Chat

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

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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Nancy Kerschen