Nibbles Board – Rabbit Rillettes / Foie Gras Torchon with Pistachio and Grape Gastrique / Bison Tongue / Elk Terrine with Cherries and Walnuts / Brie Cendre Des Pres / Cherry Moustarda / Cendre de Lune / Rainbow Carrots / Curry Cauliflower and Onions / House Rye Sourdough with Olive Oil
Gnocchi – 5 Meat Bolognese Sauce, Roasted Bone Marrow
French Press – House Blend Light Roast
White Chocolate Cheesecake – Pistachio, Poached Pear, Sponge Toffee, Oreo
Warm Apple Raisin Cake – Apple, Raisin, Salted Caramel, Sage Chantilly Cream
Toqued by Fan Zhang, the departure of Gold Medal Plates Award winner Nathan Bye for greener pastures apparently a theme on a Friday in Edmonton that featured lunch at Wildflower, it was just prior to five o’clock that I sat down in the spacious confines of Ampersand 27, the high ceilings decorated with twinkling lights, a fireplace and voluptuous furniture adding an organic element to a room designed to be sexy, particularly at night.
Attached to a hotel, and thus featuring a well-appointed bar where several gathered to chat and watch hockey games already underway out East, it was at a cozy table near the hearth that seating was offered as the dining room was as-yet quite empty, the service charming and casual, yet attentive, with a menu that offers plenty of choices whether the diner is interested in a full meal or just a few bites.
Breaking things down to Nibbles, Pizzas and Shared Dishes, the priciest item a $45CAD 12-oz Sirloin, most sitting down at Ampersand 27 will find eyes drawn to the central section offering a pick ‘em of Cheese, Charcuterie, Pickles and Bread listed by price and portion, an easy way to rack up costs though everything is housemade or well-sourced, the smooth Rabbit Rillettes and Elk Terrine studded with Nuts and Berries particularly noteworthy as items not seen often while the Canadian Triple-Cream Cheese was smooth and a bit more funky than versions from France with the light yellow Cauliflower also quite great.
Enticed by a Charcuterie topped Pie, Buttered Eggplant and Poutine, but unable to resist tender Potato Dumplings intermingling with roasted Bone Marrow topped in a rich Ragu made from Veal, Boar, Bison and more, it was with slow bites that I indulged slowly while debating more savories versus dessert, the three sweets offered and limited time before a game at Roger’s Place eventually leading to two of the latter alongside a French Press of Coffee that was brightly acidic with a linger of Stone Fruit.
Deconstructing one dish and veering surprisingly simple with the other, the round of Cheesecake a Choose-your-own adventure experience highlighted by warm Pears and Toffee that eats like Honeycomb Candy, those looking for a restaurant-worthy Quickbread will feel justified in dropping $11CAD on an Apple Raisin Cake that is nearly as moist as a steamed Pudding, the addition of fragrant Chantilly and a pool of Salted Caramel working nicely together to really make the flavors pop.