Me and the Mrs. love to eat Vietnamese, so we thought we'd try a new place close to my office, and I left thinking: Are we seeing the beginning of the end for good, honest Vietnamese food at a decent price?
Colonial is located in Downtown Calgary at 7th Ave & Centre Street- in Art Central. This restaurant's space used to be occupied by "The Bistro at Art Central"- a nice retro-looking room that served up overpriced Bistro food and (very) pretentious service. Colonial serves up overpriced Vietnamese food with the decor and service more or less the same as before. I realize that a lot of us downtown folks are on expense accounts, or some may be looking to be seen at a hip, happening new place; but the prices and atmosphere here are so high they are mind-boggling.
What did we eat? We stuck with our Vietnamese favorites, so it would be easy to compare against our other fave places.
To start, Mrs. Fuji and I shared the signature Colonial Spring roll- a spring roll stuffed with shrimp, chicken, etc. This dish was gorgeously presented- the roll itself was sliced and arranged on the plate in a flower shape, and there was a real flower (a purple/yellow orchid-y looking one) on the plate as well. The taste of this (single) spring roll was good,with a light, flaky wrapper and a good blend of flavours, but it was so small it barely qualified as an appetizer, and the cost was $14- which worked out to $2 per bite. For mains, I had sate pho, and she had bun- both are available in chicken or beef, and both are $15. The flavour was good, but nothing was mind-blowing, which is what I would expect for a $15 bowl of soup!
The food is tasty- I have no issues with what we had- but I cannot see any logical reason to charge such high prices for this food, it is perplexing. This is downtown Calgary, and you can walk 3 blocks in any direction and eat same or better Vietnamese food at a much better price. As for the uppity atmosphere, I believe it has a place, but that place is not Vietnamese food.
Am I wrong to think this may be the beginning of a trend? Would appreciate viewpoints form others, especially those who have eaten here!