Restaurant Review: Galla Winehouse and Bistro

>> Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My friends often complain about their dining experience in Calgary these days and the first thing that comes up is always the service. It seems with our booming economy, restaurants have struggled with finding good help. Therefore I tend not to focus on the service too much when dining out because the food often speaks for itself. However, recently I visited a new restaurant on 17th Ave and had an amazing overall experience. Galla Winehouse and Bistro opened up only a couple of shorts weeks ago in the old Sal’s building and already they have their operations running quite smoothly.

Atmosphere: Newly renovated, the restaurant exudes a casual yet classy feel, a welcomed bistro amongst the pubs within the 17th ave area, perfect for those looking for a romantic space without the rigidity of a high end eatery.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+

Food and Wine: We were extremely lucky that evening because they were featuring a buck a shuck oysters. Galla normally has their buck a shuck on Thursdays however due to the quantity of the delivery they had more than enough for another nightly special, which we benefitted from. The oysters arrived with a strawberry mignonette accompaniment, which was tangy with a slightly sweet after taste. It was a creative change from the norm. However I’m still a huge proponent of a good oyster with tobacco and a squeeze of lemon. They were a great start to our meal especially when complemented by a crisp Prosecco.

We were intrigued by the various Bruschetta selections on their menu and were informed by the server that it was one of their best sellers. It was extremely tough to decide what we wanted to try since they all sounded delectable. We finally agreed on the Smoked Salmon, PLT and Confit Tomatoes over French baguette (you also get to select the bread on which they’re served, gluten free being amongst one of the selections). They were a decent portion size and perfect for sharing. The Smoked Salmon had a pesto spread and was topped with crispy capers, a classic combination. It was salty and tangy, hitting all the right notes. The Confit Tomatoes came with hummus and slices of fried salami. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the tomatoes which paired very nicely with the hummus and the salami adding a nice crunchy texture. My favorite was the PLT or pancetta, lettuce and tomato. Sounding simple yet forming complex flavours, the ‘lettuce’ which was arugula in this case provided a nice bitter note to the dish and really brought forward the creaminess of the spread, it was just a really great bite!

I had to order the perogies, especially a good traditional one, which is what these ones were advertised as. The periogies are stuffed with creamy potato and cheese in a doughy exterior, served with caramelized onions and sour cream. They were chewy with a good amount of fluffy potato filling, perfect with a dollop of sour cream on top. The perogies were boiled and not pan fried like some of the photos I’ve seen on their site, however I prefer them this way because they’re more traditional and allowed them to maintain their doughiness.

Our last dish was the Grilled Northridge Farms Rib Eye Steak. We ordered the 9 oz, which was perfect for sharing between two people. Served with fingerling potatoes and topped with a peppercorn sauce, it was your classic steak and potatoes dish. The steak was cooked to a perfect rare with it being seared on the outside and just warm on the inside. I did find the peppercorn sauce a bit thick, but since the steak itself was so well prepared it was flavourful enough on its own and I found that I didn’t really need the sauce. The potatoes were nice and crispy, well-seasoned and the perfect amount to accompany the steak.

For dessert we opted to try both the Chocolate Cake and the special that evening which was the White Chocolate Crème Brulèe. They weren’t kidding around with the chocolate cake, you literally get a 3 tiered chocolate cake sandwiched with thick layers of chocolate ganache and coated with dark chocolate flakes. I liked that it wasn’t overly sweet, but did find the cake to be a bit dense. It was nice going back and forth between the two desserts because the crème brulee itself was in contrast, quite sweet. The base of the crème brulee was a soft creamy custard with a slightly crunchy sugar topping, it was very decadent indeed. I personally enjoy desserts that are more subtly sweet and therefore found that I preferred the chocolate cake between the two.

We decided on a bottle of the 2011 Novas Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon organic blend to complement our dinner. It was a red that definitely required some aeration, which really opened up after a bit of time. There was lots of deep coffee notes which made it pair nicely with our chocolate dessert. It was velvety, balanced, full bodied wine that had a short crisp finish.

My Picks: Bruschetta, Perogies

Overall: The food at Galla was delectable, incorporating new twists to standard fare like the bruschetta yet still remaining true to the classics, but what really elevated the whole experience for me was their amazing service. The attentive staff really made the evening memorable for both my husband and I. We’ll definitely be back soon.

Galla Winehouse and Bistro
529 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 802-3988

Galla Winehouse and Bistro on Urbanspoon


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