Restaurant Review: Downtownfood

>> Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Summer is the perfect time to eat local, especially in Calgary since it isn’t exactly known for its amazing weather. Summer is the season where we can actually grow fruits and vegetables in the open air and not just in a greenhouse. Plus, summer produce always tastes better, but that might be because I’m also sitting on a lovely patio most of the time. Either way I found the locally sourced, seasonal menu at Downtownfood to be brilliant none the less, really bringing out what it means to eat fresh.

Atmosphere: A cool and calming space, utilizing earth green and brown wood accents to highlight a beautiful dining area.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+


Food and Wine: Our server mentioned that they focused on sourcing local organic ingredients and changes the menu seasonally based on availability, which is always exciting because it means you never have to worry about getting tired of the menu options. However I will be sad when they remove certain items that I enjoyed. Like the Braised Pork Cakes that was reminiscent of a crab cake, with an extremely crispy exterior, but when you take a bite you get all the amazing sweetness of the braised pork inside which was flavoured with Asian spices.

I really enjoyed the housemade kimchi and pickled vegetables that were served as an accompaniment to the pork. Each vegetable was bright and refreshing with the perfect balance of sweet and sour, not overly spicy either for those sensitive to spice (just avoid the pickled hot pepper!).

The Chicken Pate was extremely light and had a mousse like consistency. The creaminess of the pate reminded me of eating foie gras. It was served with buttery brioche toasts. We had to get another order of the brioche because there was quite a bit of pate left, plus I really enjoyed the toasts themselves.


The Ceviche was very unique. Unlike other ceviche dishes I’ve had before, the mussels and scallops were served with a creamy curry sauce and topped off with popcorn and fish roe. A very nice Asian spin on a South American dish! The sauce was more like a broth and didn’t overwhelm the delicate tastes of the scallops and mussels, which is very easy to do if the chef wasn’t careful, but it was done to perfection. The fish roe and popcorn added whimsicalness to the dish and also a nice texture contrast.

We were served the Summer Watermelon Salad as a complimentary dish from the chef and lucky for me, since I was debating between the watermelon salad and ceviche and got to try both! The sweet watermelon was wrapped in cucumber, served with watermelon gelee and feta then drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. It was extremely refreshing, both sweet salty and cooling, it couldn’t have a better name because it was perfect for summer.

Our main was the Roast Leg of Venison with potatoes, oyster mushrooms and chipotle ovaltine sauce. I was intrigued by the ovaltine in the sauce, which normally tastes like cocoa. I didn’t really taste the ovaltine, which isn’t a bad thing because the sauce was perfect for the tender medium rare venison. Slightly tart and smoky it really brightened the succulent venison. The potatoes were crispy, oyster mushrooms added a nice earthiness to the dish and I enjoyed the texture of the added lentils.


To end the meal our server brought out complimentary petit fours consisting of a caramel almond tart, which consisted of light crispy pastry and caramel layers yet wasn’t overly sweet and a Truffle. The chocolate truffle had a crispy outer shell which held a creamy chocolate interior perfect for our wine.

Even though we were quite content from all the food and the petit fours, our server managed to twist our rubber arms and got us to order the Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert. I really enjoyed the crispy hazelnut tuile along with the salted caramel sauce (there was quite a bit of it). The cake wasn’t dense, which can often happen because there was no flour in it and had a good dark chocolate flavour. It was served with a vanilla cream on top, which made me miss my usual ice cream.

Our wine for the meal was the Chakana Malbec 2010. It was extremely high in tannins, oaky and full bodied. It definitely needed to be decanted for some time before consumption. It’d pair well with steaks and chocolate but definitely avoid lighter fare where the wine would easily overwhelm the delicate dishes.

My Picks: Braised Pork Cake, Roast Leg of Venison


Overall: Not only did Downtownfood showcase the local organic ingredients, but it brought forward an Asian flare to plates that aren’t normally known for Asian flavours. It was definitely a unique dining experience and due to its seasonal menu, I can’t wait to see what dishes I’ll be sampling the next time I go!

Downtownfood
628 8 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 353-3474
Website: www.downtownfood.ca

downtownfood on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

broxmarion August 28, 2012 at 9:02 PM  

That's great, that's really great review I've just came across. Downtown food items is really super for taking and sharing with everyone. As far as I came to know about downtown food I'm impressed a lot. Thanks
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boulevardsg January 28, 2013 at 2:08 AM  

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