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 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.
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.
Bread crumbs all over the table! They remained the entire meal, too. Oh well, it’s a casual joint.
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 pastry was flaky and delicious, and definitely homemade.
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.
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.
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…
5482 Calgary Trail