Restaurant Review: Starbelly

>> Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nothing gets me up on the weekends faster than the idea of brunch. Now with Christmas and New Years just around the corner, meaning more get togethers with friends and family a great alternative to the dinner ritual is a brunch get together. Plus, with time off from work it allows me the leisure to visit some locations beyond my typical spots. Earlier this month Starbelly recently launched their new brunch menu and we were luckily enough to be invited down for a taste!

Atmosphere: Open concept kitchen and dining area with contemporary décor. They also feature a beautiful private room for special events.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s

Food & Drinks: With all the delicious choices on both their brunch and lunch menu, it was hard to decide what we wanted to eat. So we started off with some drinks, the mimosa and sangria were on special that day and they tied us over while we looked over the menu.

Finally we both opted for delectable sounding brunch dishes. Considering I’m not a huge sugar fiend, for some reason I always tend to go the sweet route when it comes to brunch and the French Toast was calling my name that day. Made with soft brioche bread, topped with cream cheese icing and berry compote it was hard to pass by, especially since it also came with a side of bacon! Be still my heart, both savoury and sweet, how could I resist? Brioche is the quintessential choice for french toast (with sourdough coming a close second), the buttery bread is the perfect vessel for soaking up all that gooey eggy custard. I found the berry compote and the cinnamon cream cheese to be a really nice addition, I thought I would need syrup, but didn’t miss it at all.

The hubby decided to go with savoury and ordered the Pastrami Hash with smoked pastrami, aged cheddar, potato hash, sunnyside up eggs, pickled peppers and smoked tomato. At first glance he thought that there wasn’t enough pastrami but as he kept eating it was surprised at how well balance the dish was and actually commented that anymore pastrami would have thrown the flavours off. That’s a first folks! Everything just worked in this dish and nothing overwhelmed the other making for a memorable hash.

I had a massive craving for their Russet Fries. It must be the use of fresh cut whole potatoes because they’re addictive. Each fry is perfectly crispy and nicely salted. I could probably eat a whole plate full of them. Luckily for me I just ordered the small!

My Picks: Pastrami Hash, Russet Fries

Overall: Although it’s quite a trek for us to visit Starbelly, we were both glad that we did. It was some of the best brunch we’ve had in the city and considering we’ve been brunching all summer, that’s definitely saying something. Sometimes more isn’t better, balance of flavours is key and it takes a deft hand to be able to hold back. At Starbelly, they’re on to something great and I hope they continue to come out with more fantastic dishes!

220 19489 Seton Crescent SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 570-0133

Starbelly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Restaurant Review: Wurst

>> Monday, December 7, 2015

When you think of German cuisine the first things that often pop in to mind are bratwurst sausages and pretzels with a big stein of beer, which are all delicious. Here in Calgary we’re lucky enough to have Wurst, where you can both get the full on Oktoberfest experience or enjoy a nice quiet meal of elevated Bavarian cuisine.

Atmosphere: Depending on which level you choose to spend the evening. Wurst offers both elevated dining experiences and good ol Bavarian times – think Oktoberfest.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+

Food & Drinks: We’ve had to opportunity to visit Wurst a number of times, both in their basement bar area and their dining room upstairs. Both floors definitely project a different atmosphere so where you want to dine really does depend on your mood. Since we were there for a quiet dinner that evening, we opted to stay upstairs (not sure if downstairs is open Monday to Thursday).

After looking at the menu, I knew we had to start with the Big Pretzel which is served with house sweet, hot and grainy mustards as well as butter. I’m a carb fiend so starting a meal without bread just doesn’t seem right. I was amazed at the size of the pretzel when it arrived at our table. They weren’t joking around when they said big. This pretzel was enormous and perfect for sharing! I loved the chew and texture of the bread and the fact that they gave you so many different types of mustards to dip in to. Not to mention it went perfectly with the German beer that we ordered on the side. Their caesars are always a good choice too if you're looking for something besides beer.

We stopped by on a Tuesday and it just so happened to be buck a shuck oyster night! We had to get ourselves a dozen. We wanted more but knew there was a lot of food coming still. The oysters were served with sides of mignonette and hot sauce. What’s better than freshly shucked one buck oysters?

Normally we would order the Franzel’s Mixed Grill which has mixed sausages, house cured pork, meatloaf, schweinshaxen, spätzle, dumplings and more! However, we opted for something different that evening. I decided to try the Pacific Perch which is served with roasted barley galettes, apple celery root slaw, pine nuts, pumpkin seed oil. The fish was nicely cooked with a crispy outer layer. I really enjoyed the slaw. Definitely different that the typical meat heavy platter that we would have ordered.

The hubby decided on the Steak & Frites, which is a 10oz New York strip with lots of wurst truffle duck fat fries and a red wine jus. The steak was well cooked and had good flavour, but the star of this dish were those truffle fries! They were crispy and full of flavour due to the use of duck fat for frying. They also give you literally a mountain of fries which was perfect for me since that meant I could keep picking them off of his plate.

We also ordered a side of Fritz’s Spatzle because I’m a huge fan of spätzle essentially German style noodles. This version came with ham, gouda and spinach and reminded me of mac and cheese, but this would be spätzle and cheese? It was a good sized portion and didn’t taste overly heavy. Worth a try if you’re looking for something different.

To end the night we decided on the Spiced Pear and Apple Strudel with crème anglaise and vanilla bean ice cream. The strudel was lightly sweetened, perfect with the ice cream. It was a lovely way to end our meal.

My Picks: Big Pretzel, Franzels Mixed Grill

Overall: Not just a great place if you’re looking to enjoy the night on the town, but also a nice location for a group dinner or even quiet meal. I just love the flexibility of Wurst where you can find it all in one location.

2437 4 Street SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 245, 2345

Wurst Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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