I was unfamiliar with the popular Parksville lunch spot, Real Food, until they opened a second location in the Heritage Mews in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. On the recommendation of a friend we decided to check it out.
The web site www.realfoodfast.ca (under construction) shares a vision that includes simple food and unprocessed, chemical-free ingredients. The menu has a narrow focus with soup, sandwiches, light entrees, and salads. I’m good with that: do one thing and do it well. There are too many restaurants trying to be all things to all people.
The menu selection of soups was impressive. The soups actually available that day? Not so much. Apparently there was something about an accident and spillage involving soup meeting floor. Bummer.
Fortunately there was one serving of tomato-based vegetable soup left. It was filled with a selection of beautifully tender, nicely uniform vegetables. What I didn’t expect was the level of spice, which leaned more heavily on the heat than I expected. (To me, a vegetable soup should be mild enough to feed a toddler. But that’s just me.)
Sticking to the theme I went for the mixed vegetable sandwich and was a little perplexed when I wasn’t quizzed on bread choice. The bun it arrived on was delicious and fresh but felt a little small for a carb-glutton like me. It was, however, stuffed to bursting with fresh toppings. They were tasty. They were particularly tasty when taken together in one bite. The unfortunate reality was that things slid around and about and most of the toppings wound up on my fingers and plate. It was a three-napkin sandwich.
I am a fan of quality ingredients and I do love to eat local where I can but it felt like an expensive lunch, and not in a good way. Local food is, unfortunately, expensive. Go figure.
This was real food, it was fast food served in what felt like a fast-paced lunch joint, but the price-point on the meal just didn’t scream “value” to me. In this economic climate it’s pretty dodgy ground to open your doors on.
Food or fail rating: Fail