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Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Next Act - Nacho Libre

There aren't enough pubs out there with truly good food. Consequently, there still persists the misconception that pub food is comprised of greasy, everything-deep-fried swill best enjoyed when tastebuds are dulled by alcohol. It is an unfair generalization and, while it is true that a certain genre of pub-goers cares not whether they are eating fries or figs, creative pub fare finds favour with many. Case in point: The Next Act Pub.

It isn't intentional, but the evening in which we visit Next Act features the soon to be riot-ridden 2011 Stanley Cup final in Vancouver. Virtually every seat inside is taken. However, no one appears to be watching the game. Instead, the occasional head lifts, glances at the TV, shrugs and returns to a far more gratifying endeavour - food.

On the left: pulled pork nachos with chunky guacamole, salsa and sour cream. On the right: crab cakes with lemon cilantro aioli.

We relax on a pair of sleek, black sofas and delve into Next Act's menu. We bypass burgers (albeit very tempting ones) and gravitate towards crab cakes and pulled pork nachos. The trio of crab cakes possesses a crisp exterior that yields to reveal a moist interior of ample crab meat. The tangy, slightly salty aioli is far more amenable to these cakes than a traditional tartar sauce would be, and I am grateful for its inclusion. Pulled pork nachos. I could stop right there and let your imagination go wild, but I will merely - coyly - say that pork makes nachos better. Tender, luscious chunks of juicy pork that mingle with black olives, jalapenos and an ample blanket of melted cheese.

The brownie-muffin possesses the best attributes of its progenitors.

Dessert features but one item, the GF Brownie Muffin, but it is a worthy solo ambassador of the dessert kingdom. As the menu suggests, it isn't quite a muffin and it isn't quite a brownie...who cares! It's served warm, is rich with chocolate and shares quarters with a scoop of ice cream. It is also gluten-free. It is a decadent, yet not overwhelming, coda to a gustatory foray into Next Act's kitchen.

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