Food: Edmonton09 Jan 2010 07:16 pm

The Bothy is the new darling on the Edmonton food scene. I’ve been waiting a while for this place to open. The promise of charcuterie got me drooling! Seems it has filled a gap in the Edmonton market as the place has been packed on both visits I have paid.

We left for the restaurant late, knowing the kitchen was open until 10:30. It’s nice to have a late night dining option that isn’t fried Sysco food.

the bothy, edmonton

The location is odd, but not crazy. It is Edmonton, after all. It’s near a few clothing stores, a car dealership and wine store in a strip mall off Calgary Trail south. It seems to fit for the restaurant, as it is narrow and long, featuring a prominent glossy bar. It was shockingly humid in the restaurant that first visit; it must have something to do with the wine. It was nice to be very warm on a cold evening, though.

They feature a long living wine list and many kinds (90+) of whisky. While they did not have champagne by the glass when I first visited, they do now, including a decadent offering from Krug. They also pour two and five ounce glasses of wine from the Enomatic machine. Maybe this will be the place to finally learn about wine.

the bothy, edmonton
We started with a three item charcuterie platter. Many of the items are sourced in Alberta, but I was disappointed to see there were no Valbella products. Most products come via shops I already frequent, like the Italian Centre or Paddys Cheese, so this wasn’t as mind blowing as I had hoped. I’d love to see some housemade sausages or pâté find their way onto the menu.

Here: roquefort, smoked cheddar and pork rillettes. It came with some tiny dabs of condiments, some pesto on token greens and some very crusty, half cut bread. I found it hard to tear off pieces from the loaf, which sent crumbs skittering across the table.

the bothy, edmonton
Bread crumbs all over the table! They remained the entire meal, too. Oh well, it’s a casual joint.

the bothy, edmonton
In contrast to the long wine menu, the food menu is short. But, they know their strengths. They were sold out of haggis, so that left salad or housemade savoury pies. We followed up the charcuterie board with the pies. I got the outstanding tomato infused Provencal pie with creamy mashed potatoes.

the bothy, edmonton
The pastry was flaky and delicious, and definitely homemade.

the bothy, edmonton
Mike got steak and mushroom, with the soup of the day: tomato-bacon. It was the real standout at the meal. It was thick as tomato sauce, but rich and smoky in flavour. Very filling and satisfying.

I tried the salad on the next visit, which I can only describe as puzzling. It was spicy arugula with shavings of parm cheese and a very mild, lightly applied lemon vinaigrette. That’s it. Greens and cheese. For $11. So I can’t say I recommend their salads. There was definitely something lacking.

the bothy, edmonton
There was a lot of “mall art” in the space. Weird paintings featuring wine…and Marilyn Monroe. This one hadn’t made it up yet though. It was hiding in the wine room.
the bothy, edmonton

As we were preparing to leave, a familiar face from work stumbled in, my friend and fellow blogger Ben Gelinas. He and his friends got there after the kitchen closed, but ordered some whisky, including cracking this Glenfarclas 1979 which Andrew is holding. It runs $69 a serving. The bottle is a cool $1700.

Service was all over the map. Know that it can be incredibly busy, and it may take a while to get your order in. Chef Kevin Ostapek came out to greet us, and two of the three servers were on the ball..the third seemed to spend every spare minute fighting with the restaurant POS system.

Oh, and a word on the name. It is a reference to small shelter found in the wild areas of Scotland, meant to protect people against the elements or provide a restful refuge, if needed. I hope to find myself in need of refuge soon…

The Bothy
5482 Calgary Trail
closed Mondays

6 Responses to “the bothy, edmonton”

  1. on 12 Jan 2010 at 10:39 pm A Canadian Foodie

    Just checking out what you are up to. LOVE the home made s’more’s kit. I am surprised you went back to The Bothy… based upon my experience. Do you drink a lot of Scotch? I think you could learn a lot about the Scotch there. I, like you, had crumbs on the table all evening. The only service was from the Scotch expert, and he is clearly not into table service. It was horrid. The food… well… sparce? Tiny? Barely there?
    Just comparing the experience to Beaton’s Farm in calgary. I just expected more. More on the plate (condiment wise, for sure) and more careful pairing of the foods on the charcuterie platters. But, who wants to be negative. I just won’t go back – but that is only me. Unless I start drinking Scotch straight up. Then this is the place to go!

  2. on 13 Jan 2010 at 1:02 am A whisk(e)y lover

    Canadian Foodie,

    I share some of your concerns about The Bothy. The service is erratic but generally weak. I find that is true of most places in Edmonton though, so I try to be forgiving. If I stopped going to places that made me wait or ignored me or had no idea about anything on the menu I’d have to eat at home all the time. While I do well there, variety is the spice of life.

    I thought the servings of everything except the pies were small. However I didn’t think the charcuterie prices were too out of line compared to Farm. I think the cheese servings were actually a little larger at The Bothy, though the meats were comparable in size. I enjoyed my condiment pairing, but it does seem a bit random, so if you got different cheeses and meats I can see why it wouldn’t work as well.

    I don’t think their cuisine is stellar, and the service isn’t notable. The pies are very good though, and they have an extensive whisky selection. So as you say, maybe it is best to avoid it if you aren’t interested in Scotch, but personally I would say it is better than at least 2/3 of sit down restaurants in Edmonton.

    The bar isn’t that high, and I always appreciate places that do one thing well. I often malign this judgement of restaurants, since if something is on the menu it should be to the same high standard I dream people hold _all_ the food they cook to. Again since that would really limit the restaurants I have to pick from, if I crave a pie I know where to go now, and that can help me ignore a lot of the negative things about The Bothy.

    My 2 cents,
    cwgwak’s mate

  3. on 17 Jan 2010 at 8:12 pm A Canadian Foodie

    I really don’t know why I said anything negative. That is usually not like me… I guess I was sharing an experience that, for me, is rare. I had really high expectations because of the hype… and I am sure the chef is great, and I wasn’t complaining about the cheese or the meat portions, but the compliment to them. The pairing side to each meat or cheese wasn’t clearly thought out, and in some cases, barely visible.
    I appreciate your thoughtful response. I didn’t go to drink, and that was probably a bad idea.

  4. on 21 Jan 2010 at 12:12 pm A whisk(e)y lover


    I hope you don’t think I was trying to deny your negative experience at The Bothy. I can understand your complaints. I am actually a very critical restaurant eater, which is why I accept so many mistakes made by restaurants. There is nowhere even close to great in Edmonton for service, and also nowhere that does top notch European food.

    As I said, letting my criticisms overwhelm me would keep me from ever eating out. But if anyone told me they didn’t like The Bothy I could understand why. By absolute standards it’s mediocre at best. By Edmonton standards I think it’s quite good.

    And the whisky helps a lot.

  5. on 07 Feb 2010 at 6:24 am WW5888

    Keep in mind this place is a BAR people. Not a restaurant. And get over the crumbs. seriously. You people wouldn’t know bad service if the waiter picked up your drink and poured it on your head.

  6. on 07 Feb 2010 at 9:19 am kelly

    It wasn’t so much the crumbs as the hard to separate and eat bread they came from.

    Man, their pies are good though.