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“Give it a Chance”

White Whale Public House
Ranked #24 of 146 Restaurants in Courtenay
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed July 25, 2014

I felt the need to write a review after reading all the bad reviews. Give it a chance people! This is a new PUB (hence the pub style menu) and they are still working out the kinks and testing the waters. I have been twice and both times have been quite happy with the food and service. The first time was with a group of 5 & the hostess went out of her way to find us a table on the deck- even rearranging and adding chairs and tables to fit us in. Service was not the fastest but the place was packed. We all enjoyed our meals- I had the house salad ($12- not $27 as indicated by another reviewer. I added the tuna- which added to the price, but was given an ample amount of lovely seared tuna) One of the our dinner companions had the fried chicken and said it was the "best fried chicken her ever had" (not battered) They also have loads of unique drink selections (try the Salty Dog- yum!) The 2nd time I went was earlier in the evening so not as busy and the service was much faster- had the burger with the pork belly and it was amazing! Very unique flavour ($15- which I think is a fair price) Go with an open mind and don't read too much into the bad reviews.

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1  Thank Ter500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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229 - 233 of 239 reviews

Reviewed July 24, 2014

Last night my husband and I met business partners for dinner - the staff greeted us politely and showed us to our waiting guests and then it went downhill from there.
The menu is horrible! The portions are more like appetizers and the prices are outrageous.
I had the house salad and was given the choice of a protein - I chose salmon. The salad was huge and topped with what it looked like a flake of salmon ($27 for salad) My husband had fish and chips ($19 for fish and chips) - two tiny pieces of deep fried cod and a few fries. A $9 - 6oz glass of wine? Seriously?
The atmosphere is very outdated and there were fruit flies everywhere - I actually had to use the coaster to cover my glass of wine so the flies wouldn't drink any of my $9/glass of wine! Bathrooms are clean but very small. The bar seems to be in the way of customers coming and going. Waitresses were not attentive and no one should have to ask for vinegar for their fish and chips. We had to ask for salt and pepper for which containers were delivered to our table looking like something that had just been purchased from the dollar store.
We will not be returning to the White Whale - kicking ourselves for not recommending Black Fin in Comox.

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2  Thank oysterchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2014

We've made 3 visits so far, in 1 month. The July 1st sampler for $10 was a great way to introduce the WW to the public and it was a popular event.
2nd visit for dinner. Both of us ordered steak, one with salad and one with fries. A bit of a wait on the deck but it was quite busy that night. Fries were cold and were soon replaced with a fresh, hot order.... but the steak was barely warm - properly cooked as ordered and very tasty and a good portion. Looks like these 2 orders were sitting in the kitchen for too long. Hot meals delivered hot is crucial to any restaurant.

3rd visit Saturday lunch at 1 p.m. The deck was busy but not completely full. We were quickly seated by Chris with menus. The
server for our section didn't make an appearance. One of us went to another station and from that time on we were taken care of by the more experienced (short,blond hair) serve. Very cheerful and did her best to take care of us even though her section was at the other end of the deck! Kudos to her. Wish we had gotten her name to give her proper credit.
Three of us were quite happy with our Cubano sandwich and fries/salad. Lamb dip for the 4th and it wasn't finished - rather bland.

As previously talked about in other reviews, service was slow and uneven. I think it was very smart of the new owners to keep Chris at hand and to hire the experienced servers. If they can possibly get the new staff to smarten up there is hope. There is no point hiring pretty girls with no experience! I noticed that two of the new staff have very long hair that wasn't tied back - just flopping around their shoulders - very pretty, but maybe not neat enough to be around food. braid or pull back the hair so that I don't have to worry about it getting into my plate.

I was interested in ordering of the two martinis that caught my attention - they are using tinctures - I couldn't figure out how they were going to taste from the description (malt tincture?)... server didn't know. when we asked at the bar about them, the bartender was new and didn't know either. Huh? I'm not going to spend $9 on a gamble and not like the drink. Maybe offering a sample or offer to replace the drink if it is not enjoyed would help. I drank water. The beers that we've tried so far are very good - like the White Wh'ale ale.

I have also heard several people who are disappointed with the small menu. Also heard feedback about being charged 18% gratuity without any notification of this - maybe it was for larger groups? Never have been in favour of this 'policy' - but if it is your policy, make sure that notice of this is made very apparent - and not hidden on the back page or in fine print! I don't know where the 18% mandatory tip idea came from in the first place - what's wrong with 15% for large groups - if it is, indeed, really necessary? This goes double when the service isn't satisfactory. I would push back if presented with a pre-chosen (not by me) mandatory tip. It's not exactly the law, just a 'policy'.

One more thing - dining on Saturday for lunch - pizzas weren't available; dinner menu not available; but the burger form the dinner menu was... it's a little confusing about what you can or cannot have at lunch time - gets annoying when you see a menu and a good portion of it isn't available. since it's a small menu to begin with, maybe you could make all of the items available all of the time?

So - better, consistent service is needed. Hot dishes served hot - heating the plates should help. Portion sizes on some dishes may need to be adjusted upward - no one is going to complain if there is too much food.

I'm sure this is all going to be cleared up within the next month or so - we all want you to succeed in this location! I hope that you take all of the advice that Chris (former owner of Monte Cristo's) has to offer.

We'll be back one more time. It would be a shame to waste this lovely building and location and not succeed. Best of luck to the new owners.

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Thank Cathy815
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2014

I don't want to repeat what has been said before but seriously disappointed with my first experience at the White Whale.
Our server seemed to be inconvenienced with us even being in her presence. Not one quality check throughout the meal. My boyfriend was ordering a new drink half way through his current one because he knew he would be waiting 15 minutes or so for the next one to arrive.
We ordered the charcuterie plate for an appy…expecting a mixture of meats and cheeses. We were taken back when our server asked if we would like one or the other. We chose cheese. When the appetizer arrived I was beyond appalled. A few slices of cheese. No description of what they were. 4…yes 4 small croustini, and plastic cups of jam and honey. The croustini were gone in about 3 minutes and then of course the server was no where to be found to ask for a couple more. This cheese plate was $15.
I had the cobb salad….drenched in dressing. Gross. And my boyfriend had the burger which was more the size of a slider with a few fries on the side. He was starving so he ate everything. He said the burger was tasty but again for $15 not worth it.

From reading the reviews and not seeing any responses from the new owners I am even more disappointed for them. I hope they take the time to listen to what their customers have to say because the service staff certainly didn't care to ask.

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1  Thank Hmgtstudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2014

it was a very hot Monday evening so we decided to check out the new pub. It was quite crowded but we got a table on the deck which was very pleasant. The beer selection was good;mainly craft beer from Vancouver Island but the service was very slow and the staff seemed a bit disorganized. The two people at the next table ordered their food after we did but got their dinner quite a bit sooner than we did. I had to keep reminding the waitress about our order. My cobb salad was disappointing, however the octopus appetizer was very good. We will give them a try in a month or so and see if they have improved.

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1  Thank Bon538
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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