Sunday, 26 May 2013


The Ship
23 Augusta Street, Hamilton
visited Friday May 24, 2013

 Augusta Street is one hip and happening little place now and all the pubs that line the street are taking the food scene very seriously.  The Ship is no exception and boy do they serve a mean burger!  I heard about this little joint from a patient of mine who bartends there on weekends so we decided to check it out after seeing a very tempting menu on line.  For an early Friday evening at 6:30ish the place was packed, although it is very very tiny, so that doesn't take much I guess.  We had no choice but to sit outside where there was ample seating on the front patio and we moved to the front corner near the street where the last bits of sunshine were still hitting... why the heck is it the end of May and 8 degrees out at night?!?!?!  The waiter/bartender was working extra diligently to serve the crowd inside and out and then another waitress joined him, for what was a very relaxed but attentive evening from them both. 

The Ship's main feature is their large beer selection from beers all over the world and craft beers.  They have a big blackboard inside listing all the varieties of ales and their website also boasts a large whiskey selection.  Now that I'm blogging my restaurant outtings I like to partake in the the most authentic experience at these new places, so I asked the bartender for a beer recommendation for a very NON-beer-drinker; that's me AND my husband!  James ordered his regular jack n coke and i opted for the Mill Street Lemon Tea Brew.  Our drinks came promptly as did the bartender for taking our order.  The beer was crisp, light and refreshing... and had I been in the blazing summer heat I'm sure this would've tasted even better, but I was freezing and shivering and cold fluids inside a cold body just wasn't the best way to break a non beer drinker in.

We ordered the Crunchy Crab Cakes for $8 to share as an app.  They were served pretty quickly and were delicious.  The three cakes were the size of hockey pucks, had an extremely well made crunchy exterior (bread crumbs and panko it seemed like?) and the inside was soft and flavourful.  Lots of blue crab meat (no imitation crab here!), bits of red pepper and onion and lots of well balanced spices.  It was served with some chipotle lime mayo and a wedge of lemon.  We devoured them!

Near the end of eating our appetizer, a table had opened up inside and the bartender was nice enough to come get us and move us indoors so we could enjoy the rest of our meal while not shivering.  The inside of the restaurant is quaint, weathered and worn like a good ol' ship and decorated with some fabulous old pictures, model sail boats and traditional pub signs.  The food is slightly more elevated than its surrounding but they are not completely disconnected.  I'll take a gourmet burger in a weathered pub anyday!

I ordered the Apocalypse Later burger for $14.  This cayenne spiced beef burger with jalapenos, cheddar, tomatoes, lettuce and spicy ketchup was the real deal.  The patty was flavourful, meaty and juicy, the toppings were just in the right amount and the spice was excellent.  Definitely not for those with a delicate palate, it was high on the mouth-burning heat scale and that cold beer sure came in handy at this point.  The bun was perfect too.  It held the contents of the burger inside perfectly, was proportionate to the patty and toppings and didn't get soggy.  It was soft enough to squish into hand to mouth burger eating action too.   I had a side salad instead of french fries with my meal.  The salad was well thought out with cucumbers, carrots, sprouts and mixed greens and a lovely oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. 

James had the Northern Exposure Burger for $16.  If you're gonna spend $16 on a burger it better be amazing and this lived up to its price.  It was humungous and filled James right up, which if you know James, this is no small task to accomplish.  Seasoned venison, cheddar, peameal bacon, maple chipotle mayo, tomatoes and lettuce were the magic ingredients and boy were they good, especially the maple chipotle mayo.  His side fries were crisp and seasoned well and somehow a few of them found their way into my mouth?!

For a total bill of $50 this is not your quick lunch meal (they actually don't open till 3:30pm anyway), but don't be fooled...These burgers are just as good if not better than a big steak, so the price is justified.  We will definitely be back to try a few more of their amazing burgers and possibly the Popcorn Gator (deep fried bite sized pieces of alligator!).  The service was perfect, the food was well above average and the atmosphere was spot on pub vibe. 

Food 5.0*, Value 4.5*, Service 5.0*, Ambiance/Decor 4.5*
This place is excellent for upscale gastropub food and probably really good for those that love beer! (i drank mine as much as i could only to help cool my over heating mouth from the burger spice- I'm just not a beer drinker..i tried!)  They honestly just need more seating or a bigger place for all the delicious food they could be banging out...its a shame only a few people per night can experience this wonderfully prepared food.  We'll be back!

The Ship on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I once at The Ship for a Tweet up in nicer weather--food was unexpectedly good. Enjoy your thoughts on local restaurants. I would suggest as a very unique place, near The Ship is called Rapscallion, that I would describe as the most unique restaurant in the region. they have unusual meat dishes.