One of the pleasures of performing in the Vicar of Dibley was getting to know my cast mates better. Most were strangers when we started, but I would now call them all friends. Most of this friendship building took place during rehearsals, but on several occasions we went for post-rehearsal beers to Jekyll & Hyde’s Freehouse at the corner of Stradbrook and Osborne.
It had been quite a while since I had last been to this location. If my memory serves me, it was known as the Academy when I went hear a friend of mine who was performing in the Monday night Jazz jam.
Freehouse Finger Food
One of the things with bar food is that it’s great for sharing. It’s also the kind of food that facilitates conversation. We would have check-ins at the beginning of rehearsals, but being around a table with food and beverage once the work of rehearsal was behind us, allowed for a more relaxed conversation.
I think if there was one dish that we all liked, it was the Jekyll chips with dip. These were uniformly well cooked. Lots of crunch with a soft inside on the larger chips. The first time we tried them, the Parmesan Oregano seasoning was a little sparse, but the second time there was plenty.
On our last visit to Jekyll & Hyde’s Freehouse, most of us decided to order some personal favourites, but for sharing also. My choice was the dry Cajun wings. I found the wings to be real crispy, but thought that there wasn’t a real Cajun flavour to the wings, and they were a little overcooked. (I’ve since tried much better Cajun Wings at Underdogs).
One of the dishes that went over big with the group was the spinach and artichoke dip served with tortilla chips. The dip was smooth, creamy and flavourful. I liked the choice of tortilla chips in place of bread. It’s easier to scoop the dip with the chips. Unfortunately this is also the one dish that I didn’t get a photo of.
We also tried the calamari. This came with a good crunch coating. The calamari itself was chewy but not too chewy. The mozza sticks were also quite good.
A couple of times when we went we also shared the Nacho Platter. This was also quite good. It had plenty of topping, and didn’t have much of a greasy feel to it.
Of course at a place like Jekyll & Hyde’s Freehouse, you hope they have a good selection of beers. They do. With a fairly large group drinking, you can expect to find a wide range of beer preferences. We were all able to get choices that satisfied. My picture at the top is of the Kronenbourg 1664. I also tried a Shocktop White Ale. This has a real crisp, citrus flavour, along with sitting lightly in the stomach.
Our visits to Jekyll & Hyde Freehouse took us both inside and out. Even though it was a little cool outside, the patio space was large enough to give us a sense of being on our own. The highlight of the patio was a couple of young people who came along and serenaded us with a rendition of God Save the Queen. One of the joys of the outdoors. Inside we also had plenty of space. There are lots of TVs if you are interested in following things such as the NHL or NBA playoffs.
The service was quite good. It can be a little challening for servers when members of the party are arriving at different times, but on the whole they handled it well. Jekyll & Hyde’s Freehouse was a great gathering place after rehearsals, and I would happily gather there again with my castmates, or anybody, really.