2 Canteen | by Steve Munro

Guest post from local writer and blogger, Steve Munro.

When a friend texted me birthday plans for supper at Canteen, I couldn’t say no. It’s a relatively new arrival in Edmonton’s restaurant scene, has an easy to find location on 124 Street, and didn’t have a problem with a reservation for ten guests.

We were off to a good start when the servers took our coats for us at the front door before showing us to our long table with a leather cushioned bench seat at one side. Behind us, the bar was circled with hand-crafted metal bar stools with contoured steel backs. Once settled in, the birthday girl ordered herself a Bee’s Knees: a gin and honey drink that she enjoyed. I opted for a simple Americano coffee.

Unfortunately, my coffee was delivered in a mug that needed another run through the dishwasher, but our server quickly took it away and brought me a fresh brew in a new mug. The coffee itself had a strong, bitter aroma, but went down surprisingly smooth without leaving an aftertaste.

Our group decided to try almost one of everything off their “Small Stuff” menu, which seemed to be an alternative to the standard appetizer menu. I was very surprised by the pea falafel and spicy yogurt dip. The falafel was made with sweeter green peas rather than the typical chickpeas, but still maintained the same consistency, crunchy exterior, and texture. The spicy yogurt was fantastic. It had a smooth start and a gradual build to the spice delivery. The spicy flavor mixed very well with the sweeter green peas, and didn’t linger too long after the appetizer.

I also sampled one of the corn fritters with smoky maple syrup and seriously wondered which was better. I still haven’t made up my mind.

Most of our table ordered the Korean beef striploin. My medium-rare steak was excellent. The meat was just tender and juicy enough behind a firm cooked outer layer. It was served with a kimchi cake and yam puree that was surprisingly sweet. The kimchi cake was cut into triangles and cooked with a crispy outer skin to conceal a smoother mousse-like interior. There was an unfortunate mix up between two orders and a rare striploin ended up going to someone who ordered a medium-rare.

Another guest in our group decided to have some fun with her order and asked for all three of their dessert selections as her meal. Somewhere along the way, this order wasn’t processed with the rest of the group’s orders. It wasn’t until we checked on the progress of the dessert-as-supper order that our server realized the mistake.

As far as the desserts go, I loved the dark chocolate ganache – a rich, dense slab of smooth dark chocolate presented in a tart berry sauce. The portion size looks small but is so satisfying that a larger piece would only be a waste. When our friend who asked for all the desserts finally received her order, the only one she reported an issue with was the Poached Pear Verrine, which came across as a bit bland.

If you’re planning on visiting Canteen with a large group of people, say, more than four, you may have a few problems hearing each other. The modern layout and décor takes the form of textured concrete walls and concealed indirect lighting. The restaurant itself is long and narrow, and this tends to create a noticeable echo, which makes a conversation across ten people nearly impossible to participate in. The service staff seemed friendly and courteous enough but, at the same time, unsure and hesitant with a lack of confidence.

Overall, if you’re in no rush, can be patient with your order, and don’t mind the background noise, the menu itself is worth a try!

Canteen
10522 124 Street
Edmonton, AB T5N 1R9
(780) 485-6125
Tues – Fri: 11:30am-10:00pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00am-10:00pm

3.5/5

Canteen | by Steve Munro

Guest post from local writer and blogger, Steve Munro.

When a friend texted me birthday plans for supper at Canteen, I couldn’t say no. It’s a relatively new arrival in Edmonton’s restaurant scene, has an easy to find location on 124 Street, and didn’t have a problem with a reservation for ten guests.

We were off to a good start when the servers took our coats for us at the front door before showing us to our long table with a leather cushioned bench seat at one side. Behind us, the bar was circled with hand-crafted metal bar stools with contoured steel backs. Once settled in, the birthday girl ordered herself a Bee’s Knees: a gin and honey drink that she enjoyed. I opted for a simple Americano coffee.

Unfortunately, my coffee was delivered in a mug that needed another run through the dishwasher, but our server quickly took it away and brought me a fresh brew in a new mug. The coffee itself had a strong, bitter aroma, but went down surprisingly smooth without leaving an aftertaste.

Our group decided to try almost one of everything off their “Small Stuff” menu, which seemed to be an alternative to the standard appetizer menu. I was very surprised by the pea falafel and spicy yogurt dip. The falafel was made with sweeter green peas rather than the typical chickpeas, but still maintained the same consistency, crunchy exterior, and texture. The spicy yogurt was fantastic. It had a smooth start and a gradual build to the spice delivery. The spicy flavor mixed very well with the sweeter green peas, and didn’t linger too long after the appetizer.

I also sampled one of the corn fritters with smoky maple syrup and seriously wondered which was better. I still haven’t made up my mind.

Most of our table ordered the Korean beef striploin. My medium-rare steak was excellent. The meat was just tender and juicy enough behind a firm cooked outer layer. It was served with a kimchi cake and yam puree that was surprisingly sweet. The kimchi cake was cut into triangles and cooked with a crispy outer skin to conceal a smoother mousse-like interior. There was an unfortunate mix up between two orders and a rare striploin ended up going to someone who ordered a medium-rare.

Another guest in our group decided to have some fun with her order and asked for all three of their dessert selections as her meal. Somewhere along the way, this order wasn’t processed with the rest of the group’s orders. It wasn’t until we checked on the progress of the dessert-as-supper order that our server realized the mistake.

As far as the desserts go, I loved the dark chocolate ganache – a rich, dense slab of smooth dark chocolate presented in a tart berry sauce. The portion size looks small but is so satisfying that a larger piece would only be a waste. When our friend who asked for all the desserts finally received her order, the only one she reported an issue with was the Poached Pear Verrine, which came across as a bit bland.

If you’re planning on visiting Canteen with a large group of people, say, more than four, you may have a few problems hearing each other. The modern layout and décor takes the form of textured concrete walls and concealed indirect lighting. The restaurant itself is long and narrow, and this tends to create a noticeable echo, which makes a conversation across ten people nearly impossible to participate in. The service staff seemed friendly and courteous enough but, at the same time, unsure and hesitant with a lack of confidence.

Overall, if you’re in no rush, can be patient with your order, and don’t mind the background noise, the menu itself is worth a try!

Canteen
10522 124 Street
Edmonton, AB T5N 1R9
(780) 485-6125
Tues – Fri: 11:30am-10:00pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00am-10:00pm

3.5/5

UNDER THE HIGH WHEEL

Under the High Wheel is a cute, hip diner that serves simple comfort food made from local ingredients. Under the High Wheel reminds me very strongly of the Glasshouse Bistro in St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre: both serve an amazing brunch, both utilize

URBAN DINER (DOWNTOWN)

As one of the most talked-about brunch places in Edmonton, I figured it was past time that I investigated what Urban Diner had to offer prior to the 2pm lunch menu (the only menu I’ve ever ordered from).

As Urbanspoon, reviews, and food blogs have shown, the restaurant is quite popular. This was evident the instant we pulled up; at 11:30, Urban Diner was completely full, with three other parties waiting ahead of us for a table. Despite the small location off of 124 St, the owners have managed to cram quite a few tables into the space, so we didn’t end up waiting more than ten minutes. While we waited, there were a selection of Vue Weeklys and Metro Cinemas to read, as well as delicious-looking desserts in a glass case to drool over.

No matter what our dining experience would end up being, I had to give Urban Diner kudos for being one of the few (or even the only) restaurants to serve banoffee pie. If it tastes as good as it looks (and reviews tell me it does), then the restaurant deserves a good review just for the sake of the pie. I didn’t feel right about ordering dessert after brunch, but soon…soon.

The menu was one page, with a selection of wraps, bennies, eggs, and other brunchie delights. I’m always hopeful when a restaurant has a small menu – it usually means that the cooks are experts in preparing these dishes, rather than floundering to remember items off of a 15-page menu. In work and school, if you spread yourself too thinly, the work you produce will generally suffer. So too with cooking and restaurateur-ing.

Our selections were the Fried Egg Sandwich, served with back bacon, tomato, cheddar, roasted garlic aioli, toast, and diner potatoes, and the Diner Hash, two bennies served on a bed of potatoes, corned beef, and caramelized onions. Both were good – we had no complaints. The diner potatoes consisted of potato and sweet potato hash browns: delicious and perfectly seasoned.

The corned beef added the most flavour to the Diner Hash, which could have used a touch more salt; the eggs benedict, however, were cooked perfectly to my liking. We also ordered sides of fruit and back bacon, and came slightly shy of finishing it all.

I’ve always liked Urban Diner – their Diner Mac ‘n Cheese and Pulled Pork Sandwiches are amazing – and I would return for brunch. The breakfast fare didn’t knock my socks off, but it was solidly good, the service was friendly, and the atmosphere was (as always) extremely relaxed, despite the line up.

In the end, though, was it worth the line up? We were lucky for coming at an opportune time, but hopeful diners arriving at noon or later had to wait for a fair amount of time for a table. Based on what we ordered during this visit, I definitely wouldn’t wait 20-30 minutes to eat here. There must be some draw to Urban Diner, though, and, based on the amount of quiches I saw leaving the kitchen (and they sure did look delicious), I think we may have missed out this time. So yes, give Urban Diner a try, don’t be discouraged if you have to wait, and finish off your meal with a slice of banoffee pie, particularly if you’ve never tried this English delicacy. You can thank me later.

Urban Diner (Downtown)
12427 102 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5N 0M2
(780) 488-7274
Monday – Friday – 11:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday
Brunch 9:00am – 1:30pm
Lunch 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Dinner 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Sunday – 9:00am – 3:00pm