Elk Fettuccine – Braised Elk, Housemade Fettuccine, “Perfect” Egg Yolk, River Spinach, Natural Jus
Bacon & Bison Meatloaf – Alberta Bison, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Buttery Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower, Snap Peas, Grand Marnier Demi
Sticky Toffee Pudding – Brulee Banana, Warm Toffee Sauce, Callebaut Chocolate, Espresso Ice Cream
Fancied as a power lunch spot by many of Edmonton’s best businesses, the recent rebrand from “Grill” to “Restaurant” better suited for a menu of New Canadian cuisine that focuses on modern technique and recipes that range from inspired comfort food to pan-European dishes with subtle Asian flourishes, a noontime meal at Wildflower Restaurant at 107 Street NW was enjoyed in relative tranquility on Friday, the volume of FoH chatting with the kitchen staff a minor quibble in the setting of some good dishes.
Located inside a boutique hotel and doing its best to lure diners in with lunch specials and a local-seasonal menu, award winning Chef Nathan Bye’s departure for Ampersand 27 in 2014 yet to see the restaurant find a culinary voice as pronounced, it was after warm greetings at the podium that I was tucked into a two-person booth along an interior wall gazing towards the bar, the menu brief and allowing for choices, though the descriptions seem a bit loose when they include items like a meaty Pasta or fried Chicken under the heading of “lighter fare.”
Thankfully not bombarding patrons with loud music, but at the same time doing little by way of the hard woods and laminate floors to dull sounds from around the room, a brief wait for course one was spent perusing floral paintings from a local artist hung along walls, the aforementioned noodles soon to arrive with handmade ribbons of Fettucine topped in braised Elk plus a slick Egg Yolk with a few leaves of raw Spinach, the later doing little but adding a visual contrast and actually quite distracting when added to the hearty tangle.
Setting aside some of the unique dinner plates for a daily special, the dish described as Bacon and Bison Meatloaf featuring a good grind that saw a typically lean Meat fattened up for two indulgent slices, fans of the comfort food classic will be heartened to know that Wildflower’s version features both a crisp edge and moist center imbued with the brininess of Feta while the accompanying Vegetables including blistered Tomatoes do a nice job of balancing the richness of a dark Demi.
Told by the server that their Sticky Toffee Pudding was ‘legendary,’ a bit of hyperbole for a dish that is not featured on the online menu where the Strawberry Shortcake is called “signature,” it was with those words in mind that a small round topped in melting Espresso Ice Cream was dug into, the room-temperature skillet clearly just used for plating with the Popcorn and Blowtorched Banana proving a nice textural juxtaposition to a centerpiece that was sweet enough, but unfortunately a bit overcooked and dry in the middle.