Fox and Hounds (Ladysmith) Review

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A warm feeling

Finally, FINALLY, restrictions have been lifted and we can go out for dine-in meals again. Our first stop this May was at one of our oldest favourites, Fox and Hounds. This British-style pub is on High Street in Ladysmith, but actually used to be located in Nanaimo, which is where we first discovered it many years ago. You may recall it used to be in the location now occupied by the excellent Milton Street Public House.

Yeah it’s snuggly in there.

Under normal circumstances, Fox and Hounds’ charm comes from the British style-ordering system (also see: The Crow and Gate Pub), its robust beer selection, and its traditional UK pub food. Sadly, Covid has restricted those first two and for now the pub operates as a standard-sit down pub-style restaurant, and the beer selection is mostly local. C’est la vie. We don’t want to hold that against them under the circumstances.

Our visit this time was for dinner. Upon arriving we were greeted by a friendly hostess who took our contract tracing info and seated us. Drink and food menus awaited us at the table.

The restaurant actually has a ton of floor space, with lots of tables, but this doesn’t stop it from feeling cozy. Maybe it’s because of the Tudor-style post and beam décor.

Normally, we like to try a variety of foods to showcase for you, but this time we really just wanted to stick to what we knew. Because it had been so long since we’d been out we also had some pent-up eating needs and decided to go big with our order. Ale for him and an ESB for her, and a couple of big savoury pies. For him the sumptuous seafood pie and for her the semi-exotic Moroccan pie.

These sure look good…

Naturally, the beers arrived first. The ale was actually a Longwood-brewed ale/lager blend, which sounds great, but as you can see was much more of a golden lager. It also tasted a bit grassy, which could just be its flavour profile, or could indicate the keg was getting a bit old. While drinkable, we weren’t big fans of this one. The ESB was nice, but we missed the Fuller’s ESB in whose glass this local option was served.

Our pies were out shortly after – impressive considering they’re, you know, pies. Each massive pie was served with the default sides of white bread and butter – useful for the mop-up stage – and a large green salad. Pub salads are usually weak, but Fox and Hounds has always served theirs with a house honey-mustard dressing that is quite good. The greens are fresh and crispy too and so you’ll wind up happily gobbling down the salad while you wait for your piping hot pie to calm down a little.

A pretty skookum salad.

The pastry on these pies was perfect as always. The pie top was golden and crispy and we felt compelled to scrape every last molecule of it off our pie dishes. The seafood pie filling was a mix of scallops, shrimp, and fish, with some veg. All this was in a velvety béchamel sauce that was so rich it bordered on luxurious.

The Moroccan pie looked the same on the outside, but its filling was very different. This vegetarian option was a mix of veggies with some nuts and a nice north African seasoning. Essentially it was like a mild veggie curry served in a pie. Would eat again. And, unlike the seafood pie, you won’t need to go run 30 laps of your local soccer field later to burn off the calories. Maybe just 20 laps.

Now which one is which? Is this the seafood or the Moroccan?

Now both of these meals were extremely hearty and filling so it would have been perfectly normal to call it a night and return home to start our comas. But, seeing as we missed dining out so much, we went in for dessert as well and ordered a true British specialty – sticky toffee pudding. Unlike some of the bastardized versions of this dish that you can sometimes get elsewhere, Fox and Hounds serves theirs traditionally – the pudding (really what we would call a cake with nuts) parked in the middle of a bowl of heavy cream. Yum! Also extremely rich and coma-inducing!

Service throughout our meal was good though a bit sparse. We expect that the lack of checking in on us throughout our meal was more a function of Covid guidelines to limit interaction than anything. Honestly it’s nice to just be left alone sometimes anyway, particularly in a place in which you’re very familiar and comfortable. Our hostess and server were both friendly and prompt and payment was easy.

Oh. Baby.

The grand total for our two pints of beer, two entrees, and dessert, along with tax and a modest tip was $84. We consider this to be ok value. We’re in a period where restaurant profitability is a challenge and many places have cranked up the prices, Fox and Hounds included. While still not bad value, we do fondly remember when just a few years ago this same meal would have been $60.


We have a personal bias in favour of Fox and Hounds. Even though their prices are getting a bit on the high side, we have been coming away happy from each meal there for years now. While this time we both ordered pretty similar dishes, the menu also has lots of variety and we often enjoy some of the other great items too. (Their fish and chips comes to mind.) The service has always been good if not great. You really can’t go wrong. Treat your parents to dinner there some time and let them know we sent you!

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