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Sunday 3 July 2011

Culina at the Muttart, Edmonton AB - brunch and basking in the sun

Rating Service 7.5/10 Food 8.5/10
On a sunny weekend, we headed out to a much anticipated brunch with friends at the base of the Muttart Conservatory pyramids. We opted for the outdoor patio tables seeing it was a super sunshiney day. Modern water fountains peek out from the concrete walls interspersed with greenery and flowers - its the Muttart, you expect flowers and foliage everywhere.. which made the austere and clean lines of Culina's patio (the entrance of the Muttart) a bit surprising. 

Only a small view of the interior of the Muttart is available from the patio, and a little bit more in the indoor seating when the weather isn't as cooperative, but you can easily stroll around to see everything after your meal. No need for admission to enter the restaurant! With a lively breeze mischievously tugging at our menus and napkins, we settle in for a tasty brunch.

Being family oriented, and brunch time, there was a nice assortment of iced teas, loose teas, sodas and non-alcoholic beverages. Many of the mixed beverages had elements grown straight from the Muttart Conservatory - in my drinks case - raspberry mint iced tea, the mint was grown next door. My girlfriend's coffee was freshly ground and its mellow and distinct aroma permeated the air as we chatted. My boyfriend's Jamaican ginger beer was refreshing with a strong distinct flavor of ginger in a slightly sweetened fizzy soda.

Raspberry mint iced tea
The brewed iced tea was wonderfully refreshing with strong notes of mint mingling with the mild tannins from the tea, and a touch of acidity from a bit of raspberry juice. The color was quite striking - no weak, faintly colored muddled tea here! Despite the glass being over half full of ice cubes, the tea retained its flavor throughout the meal without seeming to get too diluted.

the FOOD
With many of the brunch items incorporating a choice of organic house salad, daily soup or fruit salad, we wondered if we'd have room for dessert afterwards! Soups are changed up daily, with today's being a brandied cauliflower, and the special of the morning was two brunch entrees: bread pudding and a roasted beet patty topped with a poached egg and pickled beets creation. There was a good mix of breakfast items, with many easily converted into vegetarian with a substitution of tofu and a few gluten free choices as well. The girls both went with the huevos rancheros, while the boys went with the panini and beet special.

Huevos Rancheros
A hearty breakfast of poached eggs resting upon an in house made tortilla slathered with refried beans, topped with Spanish red sauce, avocado salsa and dotted with queso fresco. Unfortunately, they had ran out of avocados, and substituted spring salad instead (a poor substitute, but I loooove creamy rich ripe avocado). The refried beans were made with black beans, giving the dish a disconcerting color, but the sweet mild Spanish red sauce (think a light tomato-ey salsa) tied all the disparate ingredients together nicely. My girlfriend's poached eggs were perfect... oozing out a rich molten ray of sunshine yellow when poked, while mine were a bit overcooked with both yolks only slightly soft in the centre. The mild quesco fresco cheese added in a light hit of salty creaminess, though we'll have to come back sometime to try this dish with the avocado salsa, as we both found the dish lacking in something that didn't quite elevate this dish to YUM.

Grilled bacon, egg and cheese panini
Served with a side of either daily soup, salad or fruit salad, we went with the brandied cauliflower soup. The soup was mild in flavor and surprisingly very light despite being a blended soup. I was expecting aromatic notes from the brandy, but unfortunately didn't detect much if any of the brandy. A little bit chunky, the pureed roasted cauliflower lends a sweetness to the soup which has a few trails of melted cheese to round it out. It didn't really pair well with the panini, but the panini was truly the star.  Grilled to a crunchy crisp golden brown and packed full of scrambled eggs, slices of crisp salty savory bacon all held together with molten melted cheese = Super simply delicious. The eggs weren't really salted, which worked well as the crispy lean bacon seasoned the panini nicely... Nom!

Roasted beet patty topped with poached eggs and pickled beets special
A visually striking dish, the red-purple fuchsia of the pickled beets gave a nice sweet acidic bright note and worked well with the poached eggs. The roasted beet patty was an interesting take on a vegetarian sausage patty. On the exterior, it looked like a reddish tinged browned patty. Small diced roasted beets and onions are held lightly together and browned to give the patty a surprising amount of carmelization and flavor. As a meat substitute, it falls short as there is no savory elements, but as a vegetarian option, one of the best vegetarian sausage patties I've had.

The dessert menu is limited, but we also have little tummy room left, so we order desserts to share. The kitchen is small in the space they have at the Muttart, so 2/3 of the desserts are not made in house. We skip over the inhouse flourless chocolate cake, and go with the lemon tart and Pinocchio's icecream. Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and pistachio icecream as well as mango and lemon sorbet is available. Points for using locally made icecream, though the pistachio icecream was surprisingly served out of the same single served plastic containers directly from Pinocchio's and not plated.

Lemon tart with jam and cream by Queen of Tarts
A creamy yet light lemon curd lies atop of a rich dense flaky pie crust. A deliciously well balanced lemon curd... super lemony, tart without edging over into sour is balanced with a tangy sweet strawberry seedy warm jam and a little mountain peak of whipped sweetened cream. Thank you Queen of Tarts, cuz this was a perfect way to end the meal and help me digest my meal!

Overall, a great place to have a weekend brunch with cooling breezes, and warm sunshine to bask in on the "patio" with little water fountains singing over stone. With the tops of the glass pyramids a frame for this quaint and unique restaurant, you'd be amiss to not head there for a yummy brunch!

Culina at the Muttart
Address 9626 96A St NW, Edmonton, AB
Phone 780-466-1181
Hours Mon-Fri 10- 4pm, Sat-Sun 11 - 4pm
Culina at the Muttart on Urbanspoon


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1 comment:

Elsie said...

Thanks for the information! I was thinking about heading up to Edmonton next weekend! :) Hopefully I'll get a chance to try!

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