Reviews and Such Restaurants

Elephant and Castle

This is my second go round at Elephant and Castle. Yesterday I revisited Yellow Dog Tavern, and I decided to give another pub a try last night.

Big Elephant in Musth | Cooling him...
Big Elephant in Musth | Cooling himself with water

My initial review, which is underneath this one, occurred just after they went through a major renovation. They may have made some changes since then(2015), but it feels pretty much the same.

Elephant and Castle Beef Soup
A good, warming spicy beef soup from Elephant and Castle.

I found a table for for two in an area without many customers. I had in mind that I would order something traditionally English, and settled on the Sunday Roast. Along with that I started with a Spicy Beef soup.

I requested and received my soup before my main dish. Coming in from a cold, windy, Winnipeg evening, the soup really hit the spot. The heat is not overwhelming, but it’s the kind of heat that warms you through and through.

Sunday Roast
Elephant and Castle Sunday Roast, with Yorkshire Pudding.

I quite enjoyed this dish. I did find the beef a little on the overcooked side. However, that lends an air of nostalgia, as I grew up on roasts that were done to one of two consistencies: Well done, or shoe leather.

On the other hand, these roasts were always cooked in a liter of fat from the drippings bowl. Fat equals flavour, and I remember those roasts as always being flavourful. Kind of hard for a contemporary restaurant like Elephant and Castle to compete with that memory. Nonetheless, the beef came apart quite nicely.

I really enjoy the mashed potatoes with the crunchy onion toppers. I was also very pleased that there was a full portion of green beans. Often there are only four or five beans served with a meal.

bread pudding
A massive piece of bread pudding to finish off the meal.

The meal was satisfying, but I felt I could do with a little dessert. That almost turned out to be disastrous. I ordered the Highland Bread Pudding. My server told me that the Big Ben Brownie was very large. Given the portion of bread pudding I received, I figure the brownie could serve as an entire meal for a family of four.

Despite the size of the portion, I was really glad I ordered it. The pudding is surprising light, and mixing the pudding with the rum caramel sauce and the whipped cream makes for one delightful bite after another.

Elephant and Castle Red Ale
Elephant and Castle Red Ale.

To drink I had the Elephant and Castle Red. This is a little heavier than some of the other Ales I enjoy, but this seems to go well the roast.

It’s been a while since I lasted visited Elephant and Castle, I plan on the time between now and my next visit not to be as long. 

Original Elephant and Castle review

Over the last several years, the downtown of Winnipeg has slowly been changing. From a food perspective you notice this from a number of new restaurants such as Sana Soup House. 

You also notice it from the way some older restaurants update themselves. True there are some like Ming Court that will probably never change.* However, there are other places such as the Elephant & Castle that have undergone substantial renovation

*Since writing this, Ming Court has indeed undergone a change. This change has produced the same great food but with a much more pleasant atmosphere

Elephant and Castle Menu
The revamped menu at Elephant and Castle is compact but with a good selection.

Dining at the Elephant & Castle:

The Elephant & Castle has been one of the places I like to go for lunch after Sunday Services. I’ve mentioned before that preaching and presiding are activities that burn up a lot of nervous energy and I find myself quite hungry afterwards.  It’s also a good early supper place. If I want a complete meal(dessert isn’t necessary for me to consider a meal complete), Elephant & Castle is once again a good choice. Finally, for Jets fans, it’s located really close to the MTS Centre.

The change in decor was definitely an improvement. The whole place is more open, and with a brighter look to it. With the change in decor I wondered whether or not their would be much of a change in menu. There has been, but it hasn’t been done at the expense of the classic pub menu that was on offer before the change. The most noticeable change in the menu is the menu itself. What was once a large book is now a small tablet. Not the computer kind, but around the same size.

Bangers and Mash
The Elephant and Castle Bangers and Mash are first rate. The sausages are tasty, but without any kind of greasy feeling.
Elephant and Castle, sauteed mushrooms.
The sauteed mushrooms are a nice add on to your meal at Elephant and Castle pub.

In keeping with the idea of the classic pub menu, the first main dish I ordered was the bangers and mash. It came looking more artistic than the previous version. It also came tasting better than the original(which was quite good). They had managed to maintain the flavour while making it less fatty in texture. The image won’t scale so I haven’t included it, but below is the picture of the quite nice Beer & Cheddar soup that went along with it.

Soup featuring beer and bacon.
The Beer, Bacon, and Cheddar soup is rich with plenty of bacon.

One of the new additions to the menu is a poutine bar. While I wouldn’t put the poutine I tried there at the top of my list, it was still pretty good. Also, the sauteed button mushrooms make a real good addition to a meal.

On my most recent visit I went for another pub classic, the Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding. This wasn’t quite as good as the Bangers and Mash. While the beef was sliced nice and thin, I found it a little on the dry side. I liked the fact that the green beans were good and crispy and I like the mashed potatoes.

The Yorkshire was reasonably fluffy. The one thing I didn’t like was the Horseradish Sauce that came with it. I had to try two bites before I was able to recognize the Horseradish. While I know not everyone likes the sinus draining style of Horseradish I prefer, this was bland, runny and mild beyond belief.

Yorkshire pudding
The Elephant’s Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding.

As you would expect there is a good selection of beer and ale on tap.  You have to ask, as the servers seemed trained to offer Bud and Bud Light(Really? At a British Pub?). All drinks are served as pints. I went with the Rolling Rock.

Rolling Rock Elephant and Castle
I enjoyed a pint of Rolling Rock with my meal.

Speaking of the service, I’ve generally found it to be quite good. I did have one rather poor experience, but the management looked after me very well when that happened. The service is quick and friendly. The meal generally comes in reasonably short order. There are also plenty of TVs, so if the place isn’t too full, you can often get what you want to watch.  The Elephant & Castle is one place that I will keep going back to for meals on an occasional basis.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.