The history of the Cumberland Hotel dates back to the 19th century. The original building was destroyed in the fire of 1933 that devastated the village. The hotel was then rebuilt in its present Tudor Revival style.
These days, the Cumberland Hotel features live music and a new menu combining western and oriental cuisine.
In terms of pub food, there’s green and Caesar salads, french fries, poutine, yam fries, chicken wings, soup of the day, and fish and chips. The story behind the ‘Caesar salad to the max’ is especially interesting. The salad dressing is a ‘secret family recipe’ created by Maxine, who is the mother of the boyfriend of chef Crystal Harrietha.
The burger portion of the menu contains four choices: the herbivore, the carnivore, the albacore tuna burger and the grilled chicken burger. The herbivore burger is, in fact, the bun — the veggie burger is sliced in half, so no need for bread — topped with avocado, sweet onion and tomato salsa.
The menu also features an assortment of sushi, including the Smooth Operator and Gardener’s Delight ‘high rollers.’
“I’m trying to keep things fairly common,” said Harrietha, who manages the adjoining Crystal’s Place restaurant which opened Jan. 1. “You get that combination of classic Japanese and comfort foods.”
I started with a tasty broccoli and five-cheese soup, followed by the albacore tuna burger and salad topped with a sweet onion and apple dressing.
This was no ordinary burger. Served with wasabi mayo and marinated vegetables, local albacore tuna is mixed with sake and green onion. Mine was even juicier, done medium rare, topped with a fresh bun that merely dressed — not hid — the burger. It truly was ‘succulent,’ as the menu suggests.
My dinner guest was nothing less than delighted with everything that appeared on the table: spinach gomae (blanched spinach with the house’s own sesame dressing); the Qualicum roll with brown rice (tuna, green onion, cucumber and tempura bits rolled together with avocado, tuna and salmon on top); the Livingstone roll (tuna and salmon rolled in nori); and the Johnny Apple Seed roll (cream cheese, salmon, mango, tempura bits, black sesame seeds topped with avocado).
We finished with deep fried ice cream. I opted for one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of mango.
The dessert menu also features fruit tempura.
The hotel/Crystal’s Place is participating in Dine Around The Comox Valley that runs until March 18. A three-course menu is available for $15. Course one is miso soup and edamame (soy beans), course two is gyoza (steamed and fried dumplings) and course three is a choice of rolls.
The pub hosts Wednesday night blues jams and electric jams on Sundays. Saturday nights feature live music. Friday is karaoke.
A deck is available outside Crystal’s Place for summer celebrations.
The hotel welcomes special events and large parties. It is located at 2714 Dunsmuir Ave.
For more information and to view the menu visit www.cumberlandhotel.ca.