Dinner date with CL and her man~ I was quite excited to try this place out when she told me about it. I didn’t know what to expect since their website doesn’t say much. Less than a block away from the theatre, it was quite a hidden spot.
The restaurant is small and just a small section of this old, wooden small building.
When you walk in, it is a small bar that is packed like a can of sardines. We were lead up a flight of stairs to the dining area, which seats about 20 (tables are very close to each other and awkward to get in and out of). For some reason, the place is very very dimly lit and I had to lighten the photos to even get the lighting in all my photos.
Menu is a short one pager, tapas style dishes. Our server suggested we ordered about 2 dishes per person.
The drinks menu is very extensive. Lots of beers/wines from all over:
Smoked Steelhead Trout $9
Best dish of the night. The trout was amazing – so fresh, smoky and great texture. The bed of creme fraiche it was sitting on complimented the salty fish very nicely with bits of fresh chives and shallots. Yummm..
Sauteed Mushroom, Egg yolk, Toast $12
Simple and a great dish. Nothing complicated and prepared very well. The egg yolk was poached with a nice shell that broke with thick runny yolk. Simple seaoned baby portabella, shimeji and oyster mushrooms, creamy egg yolk on crunchy toast, what’s not to like.
Pumpkin Cream Soup, Confit Chicken, Black Rice, Hemp Oil $10
The soup was good – creamy rich with bits of black rice that adds nice texture. I don’t remember much confit chicken in the soup though.
Pork & beans, Smoked Jowl, Egg, Crispy Bread Crumb $14
Undercooked beans and dry tough pork jowl. Not exactly what I expected, the sweet salty beans in almost a BBQ-like sauce, was the highlight of the whole dish but it was a little tough. It was baked and so the egg was just a random piece of completely cooked egg that didn’t add much to the fish. We didn’t finish this at all.
Breakfast: Braised Bacon, 60C Egg, Steel cut oats, Bourbon Maple Butter Sauce $15
The idea of the dish was interesting but execution fell a little flat. The cook on the braised bacon was amazing – melt in your mouth layers of fat and tender pork but it was intensely sweet (more sweet and barely any savoury). The egg and pork went well but the steel oats was strange. None of us enjoyed the undercooked chewy oats that was neither sweet nor savoury.
Slow Roasted Pembina Pork Shoulder, Lentils, Pickled Beets, Rutabaga Puree $17
I was torn about the dish.. the pork was tender and cooked really well. That said, the pork had that distinct “porky smell/taste”. Not gamey like lamb but just pork that is not prep either by brining or cooking with strong spices, they have a distinct smell. The lentils and pickled beets were nice but the pork was suppose to be the highlight and it was not.
Whole Smoked Quail, Potato Puree, Creamed Spinach, Horseradish, Brown Butter $20
My other favourite dish! The quail was cooked so well – still moist and packful with flavour. The smoke was very subtle but the seasoning on the quail was good and the potato pure was great. Everything about the dish worked and even though it was not very graceful trying to eat a whole mini bird at dinner – I quite enjoyed it.
Anderson Valley Beer $6
2 orders Radler $8 each
Yukon Red $6
Fentimans Cherry coke $3.50
Total Damage: $145.43 (with tax and without tip) Thanks for dinner CL!!
Personal Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (Good)
I thought the dishes were above average and a couple were excellent. A couple were a bit strange and not that well prepared but the flavours were definitely there.
It was strange coz at one point, all of us came to the same conclusion – although nothing was bad, it just felt like the kitchen was trying too hard. If they just scaled back a little without being clever, some of the dishes could have been killer! But hey, that is just us because this is one of the top dining spots in Edmonton and I understand why:
The dishes that we liked were good and the extensive drink menu was great. Service was excellent as well – great recommendations, attentive and still quite casual and not over bearing. We did find it strange that our server felt the need to teach us how to eat each and every dish that was served, which was off-putting.
Prices were a tad pricey but for what is around the city, this is not too unreasonable.
Random note: The quail was $20 on the menu but $21 on the receipt. I ended up trying to audit the whole receipt. I am just annoyed when this happens and this is the second restaurant in Edmonton that this happened at.
8424 – 109 Street
(780) 757 2600