We finally made it into the ‘new, improved’ Mad Chef Café in Courtenay recently. This place has always been one of our favourites, for a whole slew of reasons. And we were not alone, to the point where the crazy crew there recently pulled up roots at their old haunt and moved to a bigger, renovated space right in the heart of old downtown.
The ‘new’ Mad Chef is a huge contrast to the restaurant’s initial location, which was much smaller, almost always crowded and kind of funky. The new digs seat about 60 patrons and have a very industrial feel to them. There is more elbow room, to be sure, but a completely different ambiance.
I am delighted to report however, that the food is as good as ever and that it continues to come in very generous portions. I ordered a ‘cup’ of the sublime Orange Dragon bisque, which was closer to a portion that would fill a tureen. The soup was a flavoursome combination of coconut, cream, curried butternut squash, yams, pears, onions, garlic and ginger. Took the leftovers home and happily slurped it for lunch for two more days.
My husband consumed the Shroom of Doom pizza, a delicious house-made concoction featuring roasted exotic mushrooms, lobster, cream cheese and pesto. He allowed me one piece which, as so often happens, had me wishing that I had ordered that dish and left him to try something else. But then, I would have missed that lovely soup…
The environment and vibe at the Mad Chef is as wacky, off-the-wall and sometimes, bordering on rude, as it ever was. The extensive menu is a source of great delight as well as great temptations – light-hearted descriptions of what the innovative genius in the kitchen has concocted always leave us chuckling. And salivating.
The back end of the café features icing sugar artwork (by the chef) and a wide variety of silly signs that may affront some more ‘sensitive’ patrons. If you are easily offended this may not be the place for you but in all honesty, anyone with a minimal sense of humour and an appreciation for folly will be just fine – especially once the food hits the table.
While I have to admit that the industrial decor finish to the ‘new’ Mad Chef is not my favourite atmosphere in which to dine, we will continue to patronize the place for the simple fact that the food is so interesting, flavourful and fun. Service is good, and prices are in line (especially when you consider the huge servings). And, of course, there is always the guarantee that you will find something to make you chuckle when you are there.
Further information on the Mad Chef Café can be found at the website:
Price rating: $-$$
The Mad Chef Café is located at 444 Fifth Street, Courtenay
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 49.690249984659864 Long. -125.00058280310833
N 49 41.415 W 125 00.035