Good eats and beer in the ’burbs

Fergus & Bix is almost good enough to make you want to move

Located in West Springs Village Fergus & Bix Restaurant and Beer Market is a welcome addition for the suburban community serving up decent eats and a fantastic selection of local brews.

As we enter we walk past the bar and grab a private booth in the back of the pub. It is busy for a mid-afternoon Monday — this place must be hopping on weekends.

The menu seems immediately familiar. As it turns out Fergus & Bix is the sister restaurant of Crush Socialhouse located downtown (see Burger Hunt July 9 issue of Fast Forward Weekly ).

For appetizers I order six handmade chicken and bok choy wontons (half dozen $8; dozen $13) while my wife who is 8.99 months pregnant has the half-pound of Musquodoboit mussels ($9; full lb. $14).

The wontons arrive topped with chili-garlic oil set around a second smaller bowl filled with five-spice soy sauce. Pieces of bok choy and cilantro serve as garnish. The wontons are plump and tasty and would be fine on their own but they are even better when dipped.

I sample the mussels which are loaded with bits of fresh garlic spinach and shallots all in a white wine cream sauce. There are 18 mussels with no duds and they are tasty. My wife wipes up the remaining sauce with a buttered piece of baguette as we get ready for our main courses.

My beer Springbank amber ale which is reasonably priced at $5.25 for 16 ounces is custom brewed for F&B by Wild Rose Brewery. It has a nice maltiness and I’m a little disappointed it’s not available elsewhere.

F&B has done a great job of hosting local-ish microbrews: Wild Rose Big Rock and Brew Brothers from Calgary Alley Kat Brewing from Edmonton Grizzly Paw Brewing from Canmore as well as Rock Creek Okanagan Springs Whistler Brewing Fernie Brewing Tree Brewing and Shaftebury from British Columbia.

For my lunch I get the 12-inch caprese fresco pizza served on an organic flatbread ($15). The flatbread comes topped with fresh arugula Portobello mushrooms sliced provolone tomatoes bocconcini fresh basil and olive oil. According to the menu the pizza is topped with roma tomatoes but these seem a bit too big. I suspect they’re hot house but are tasty nonetheless.

Overall the pizza is decent — the fresh basil and bocconcini stand out — and the crust is thin enough to fold East Coast style which I like.

My wife orders Fergus & Bix’s fish and chips. Two generous pieces of pacific halibut come cooked in Springbank amber ale batter with Kennebec fries and homemade tartar sauce ($16). The fries are simply amazing. The Kennebec potatoes produce a superior fry. The halibut is moist thick and nicely battered and the house tartar is thoughtfully kicked-up a notch with some horseradish.

F & B is the type of neighbourhood pub every community should have. As I write this review I can’t help but sit and ponder which would be a better option: opening a pub like F&B in my current area or moving to West Springs?