Forgive me foodies for I have sinned.
I just visited Tavern 1903 a few weeks ago. What type of bad food blogger am I? Well the problem with Edmonton’s restaurant boom is that there are just so many intriguing restaurants and not nearly enough time to get to all of them (not mention enough money in the wallet or holes in the belt)!
When I placed the dinner reservation I was able to reserve the only table for large groups in the restaurant, a table for 10. Which was great, however the table was placed slightly awkwardly right by the door. As it was a beautiful Spring evening, it wasn’t too big of a deal, but I could see that table being pretty chilly during Edmonton’s long, cold winters!
As soon as I walked into the restaurant, I was immediately drawn to all of the beautiful decor. I loved the gorgeous wine bottle chandeliers that provided a wonderful glow for dinner. I also thought it was quite interesting how the bar side of the restaurant had retained more of the old school charm of the Alberta Hotel, with the huge beautiful bar and detailed, panelled ceiling. The restaurant side, however, was a complete juxtaposition, with a much more modern, sleek feel.
Tavern 1903 is well known for their extensive cocktail list. All of the classics are there, as well as many interesting, unique drinks. Although many of the drinks tempted my tastebuds, I decided to just stick with some fizzy water that night. Almost everyone else around me ordered a drink though, so I did get to sneak a few sips. 🙂
“After the Flood” was made with Death’s Door Gin, Lemonhart Spiced Rum, Cointreau, and Peychaud Bitters. This drink was super strong. It pretty much tasted like pure alcohol, and now after reading the drink menu, that’s exactly what it is!
A few people at the table order the “Tarragon Lemonade”, which is made with 2 ounces of Tanqueray Gin, Fresh Tarragon, Simple Syrup and Fresh Lemons. This type of drink is more up my alley. I like a nice splash of alcohol in my cocktails, but I need it to be mixed with something. I am also really enjoying the use of fresh herbs in cocktails. I’ve seen that quite a bit lately, and it really makes the cocktails a lot more interesting!
Another delicious looking drink was the “Clover Club,” made with Haymans Old Tom Gin, Fresh Lime Juice, Strawberry Shrub, Agave Syrup, and Egg White. It was a super classy looking drink, with the wonderful layer of foam and a pretty strawberry garnish. It definitely had a nice alcoholic kick to it, but was much easier to drink than the “After the Flood.”
Because there were so many delicious looking things to eat on the menu I ended up splitting a few different plates with a couple other people. That way I was able to try as much as I could (on top of sneaking bite from everyone else at the table).
We started with the Crispy Pork Belly and the KFC. And no I don’t mean Colonel Sander’s greasy chicken, I’m talking about The Tomato’s Top 100 Things to Eat in Edmonton Korean-Fried Cauliflower.
The Pork Belly, which served with Fennel Confit and a Homemade Salted Pretzel, was so tender and salty and it played really nicely with the fennel confit. But, I think my favourite thing on the plate was the Homemade Salted Pretzel. Sometimes the very best thing is something freshly baked!
The Korean-Fried Cauliflower was topped with Sesame Seeds and Scallions and I think it more or less lived up to all the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it was really quite good, but when something is ranked as one of the best things to eat in the city, that’s a lot of pressure! If you haven’t had it before, then I think it is absolutely worth trying. But when I go back to Tavern 1903 do I feel like I have to order it again? Not necessarily… depends what else piques my interest.
Next up was the Tasting Plate of 3 Mozzarellas, which included Maple Smoked Fior di Latte, Buffalo Mozzarella, Buratta, Basil Pesto, Fennel Marmalade, and Sundried Tomato Pesto. One of my good friends had raved to me about this, so again my expectations were really high. And we all really did enjoy everything on the plate; all of the different component worked really well together to make some really delicious bites. I especially enjoyed the Smoked Fior di Latte and the Buffalo Mozzarella with the pesto on top of a piece of the crostini. So tasty (and a great appetizer idea that I think I might borrow)!
The last item we shared was the Chicken ‘n Waffles, which was topped with Rustic Creamed Onions, Paprikash Sauce, and Chipotle-Maple Syrup. This was definitely a twist on the classic Chicken and Waffles that I am used to, and while it was good and interesting to try a new take on a classic, I think I prefer something a little more traditional.
One of the great things about dining with a big group of people is being able to see (and taste) what everyone else is ordering. While I don’t have comments about every entrée, I do have a bunch of pictures and accompanying menu descriptions. And let’s be honest, all we really want to see are some good food pictures, right? Enough with my blabbing!
“A Nice Big Salad,” made with Heirloom Tomatoes, Sherry Vinaigrette House made, Toasted Corn Nuts, Watermelon Radish and served with Ricotta Crostini.
For dessert I enjoyed a Decaf Caffè Latte and the Glenlivet infused Butterscotch Pudding Jar topped with Candied Pretzel. I was really, really torn between the Pudding and the Maple Bacon Doughnuts on the dessert menu. So much so that I was really strongly considering ordering both, but I mean, that’s slightly excessive, right? Instead I was forced to make a decision. Sigh… Tough life.
I opted for the Butterscoth Pudding, which was super boozy. I should have known as much, seeing as Glenlivet is Scotch, but still, I guess was expecting more butter, less scotch in the butterscotch.
A couple other desserts ordered at the table were the Jack Daniels Chocolate Layer Cake made with Callebaut Sour Cream Frosting and Nutella Whipped Cream, and the Liquid Cheesecake Parfait made with Salted Shortbread Crumble and Rhubarb Saskatoon Compote.
We had a really nice time at Tavern 1903. The food was all very good, maybe not the best I’ve had in Edmonton, but certainly high on the list. I think everyone at the table was quite happy with their meals, although some liked it more than others of course.
And although I did enjoy everything I had, I still can’t help but wonder about how magical and amazing those Maple Bacon Mini Doughnuts must have been…. I’m sure I’ll find out one day. 🙂