Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Culina Millcreek, Edmonton Alberta - local ingredients transformed... into brunch!

One of my favorite places to eat in Edmonton is Culina at the Muttart both for its funky ideas, its use of local ingredients and the ambiance and view of being located right in the Muttart Conservatory.  So when one of my girlfriend's recently had a birthday brunch, we were excited to book it at its sister restaurant close to campus.

They have an nice little patio, but as we were a bigger group and the summer days were still hot enough to roast, so we headed indoors into the dim and cool dining area instead.  Dark wood tables, with chair and a few benches lined with inviting mismatched pillows invite you to plunk in for a casual meal.

the DRINKs 

As our group found elusive street parking (they have a bit of parking in the back too) and trickled in, we ordered drinks around the table.  I wasn't fully awake yet, so I forgot to take a picture before I had a few sips of their chai latte. I think its a Remedy Cafe rendition.

I can't remember what on earth this was, Long Island Iced tea? but it was tasty


We had a few of these around the table: Bacon Caesar: vodka, lime, horseradish, crispy bacon … 'nuf said!


Only off note was our waiter insisted that Vietnamese coffee was supposed to have coffee grounds in it after one of my friends took a big sip (look on his face was priceless hahahaha!) and tried to sent it back (the screw in part of the Vietnamese coffee dripper was loose so lots of coffee grounds leaked into the cup).  One, we rarely send any food back, and two - no coffee should ever have grounds present when you sip unless its Turkish coffee! Luckily when more of us clued in on their conversation, our waiter eventually did offer to replace it with a coffee.


the FOOD

A few of us ordered the Bacon and Eggs: slow-braised pork, frittata, potato hash, mushroom cream sauce, & house-made sweet potato toast.  The plate looks deceivingly small, but most of the folks that ordered it barely finished, although all agreed the portions for the deliciously moist and tender braised pork could have been more generous...because it was the yummiest part!

The frittata was interesting as it resembled an Asian version of steamed egg, but tasty none the less.  We couldn't really taste the sweet potato in the toast, but it was used a nice vehicle to mop up the mushroom cream sauce/gravy


The Eggs Benedict was declared a winner by all those that had ordered it: a choice of smoked bacon or maple sage sausage, two poached eggs on sweet potato toast with hollandaise and brunch (fried cubed seasoned) potatoes.



The eggs were consistently poached to a tasty runniness (and not over cooked - yaaaah!) and a dreamy medium thick hollandaise sauce drenched them nicely.  I think there was a housemade chiptole ketchup, but everyone focused on the yummy hollandaise sauce.


The Cheddar Scrambled Eggs: was just that, and paired with some pan finished potato onion perogies, kielbasa, crème fraîche, and Dijon mustard.  


Super simple Ukrainian themed brunch plate... would have been nice to see some caramelized or sauteed sweet onions, or some sort of vegetable to brighten up the monotone plate.


I had probably the largest and most colourful plate: Waffle Florentine - It was a savory and sweet combination with a faintly savory cheddar cornmeal waffle that needed either much sharper/older cheddar or just a heck of a lot more cheese) topped with a deliciously garlicy sautéed pile of wilted spinach, super sweet slices of Gull Valley tomatoes and crowned with two fried eggs done the way you like them.. I had mine runny so when I poked the eggs, the yolks because a rich sauce that tied everything together.



Only got about half way through it when the slightly crisp waffle became way too soggy to eat from heat and moisture of the spinach and tomatoes.


the VERDICT

Though most of the food was executed well, and Culina MIllcreek is owned and run by the same wonderful staff at Culina Muttart, there's a spark of culinary magic that pushes good food into the realm of really memorable that's missing here, despite the extra cozy space they have.  Maybe it was an off day. I hope they find it soon.

Culina MillCreek

Address 9914 89 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6E2S5
Phone (780) 437-5588
Hours Dinner Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm, Lunch Tue-Fri 11am-2:30pm, Brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2pm. Closed Mondays.
Culina Mill Creek on Urbanspoon
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