Food and Food: Edmonton07 May 2009 01:55 pm

Seeing that I was fully ensconced in coursework throughout April, I haven’t really been out to eat much. We’ve gone to our usual haunts: King Noodle, Habesha Ethiopian and Sunbake Pita Bakery a few times, but I have not been able to spare more than an hour to a really relaxed meal.

However, we did try two places new to us recently, as things were winding down for me. Karma Indian Bistro & Wine Bar (in the old house that La Tapa lived in at 10523 99 Avenue NW) and Wildflower Grill.

Karma was a pleasant surprise. We popped in at close to 10:30pm on a Friday night, after plans to visit Cactus Club Cafe fell through. (Their kitchen is open late, but they were quite busy when we called.)

The decor is very dark and has the feel of being in someone’s private library/wine cellar. They are definitely passionate about wine…but how was the food?

Wonderful, to be honest. We got a a grill platter for two, with some paranthas. A mini grill was delivered to the table (in case we wanted some extra grilled flavour, the server said) and the selection of meats on the platter was varied and delicious.

Huge succulent shrimp, tender fish, savoury lamb and some kebabs. It was some time before our meal came out, but there were two large groups in the restaurant, the server told us. Oddly, our paranthas were a few minutes behind the grill platter, but the mini grill kept things hot. Mike visited the buffet a few days later and said the roti and naan came fresh to the table and the buffet platters were not soggy dregs. This is a solid choice for those working downtown, I think.

Wildflower Grill was another last minute decision. I have been studying a fair bit at the Starbucks at the Matrix Hotel on 104 Street, which is next to the Wildflower. I had been wanting to go for some time, but it was hard to find a spare minute to go. We had plans to visit a new sushi restaurant (Maki Maki) south of Whyte Avenue, but did not go when we realized it combined both Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine, which was a turn off. We turned around and headed back downtown to Wildlflower Grill.

This place…this place surprised me. It was a place I had preconceived notions about, and that was part of the reason I haven’t eaten there in the year it has been open. It is owned by the group that runs L’Azia, a fusion mini-chain of low-rent Joey’s or Earl’s, which put me off since my experiences there have always been less than stellar.

wildflower grill interior

wildflower grill interior

Wildflower Grill is fabulous though. An amuse bouche (adding to the list of two other local restaurants I have had these at, The Blue Pear and Vic’s Steakhouse) was a pleasant surprise.

They also do an amazing brioche, with came with tiny triangles of two kinds of butter. I would have appreciated more butter, but to be honest the eggy brioche did not need it. It melted in my mouth.

wildflower grill brioche

The cooked to order brioche. This dish alone made me want to immediately return to sample brunch. It’s gotta be good.

wildamuse

Wildflower’s amuse bouche: tart berries offset the rich goose. A nice way to start.

Salmon medallions

Pan roasted sockeye salmon medallions stuffed with crab and lobster, served with scallops & shrimp in an ice wine emulsion. The little braising dish has butternut squash gnocchi in it. Not much squash to taste, but the texture was divine. The sauce came like that, so presentation wasn’t top notch, but I always feel bad breaking into a meal that pretty at first anyhow.

wilddessert

Meyer lemon extravaganza for dessert. Again, berries featured alongside meringue, lemon souffle, candied lemon and a vol au vent. I believe there was also a thyme flavoured tuille.

Salmon medallions for a main for me (another home run with seafood), sea bass for Mike, with a tasting of Meyer lemon souffle for dessert and a huge Bodum of fresh tea to end the meal. (with warmed cream!)

The prices are decent (on par with Culina and Vic’s, not as high as Characters or Hardware) but the romantic atmosphere and imaginative dishes make it worthwhile. I’m sad my work schedule prevents me from trying Sunday brunch, but it would be a good place to sample without dropping a lot on dinner.

Service was in general great, except for the “do you want change” question at the end. Why is that always nails on a chalkboard to me?

Wildflower Grill
10009 107 Street (at the Matrix Hotel)
Hours vary

Comments are closed.