Monday, 14 April 2014

Harvest Room, Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, Edmonton, AB - Delectable ostrich entrée and great service

Last month, back during Downtown Dining Week, we hit up the Harvest Room to try out ostrich!  Yup, ostrich - cartoon versions of large birds magically jamming their heads into the sand are transformed into a delicious lean (and healthy) entrée at the venerable Hotel Mac.  My boyfriend's never tried this lean, moist meat that is reminiscent of dark turkey meat, and heading to dinner was the highlight of our day after a very long workday!

Service, as expected was polite, friendly and not overbearing - the maître di was delightful and took us to our table after taking our coats, and our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable about menu items.  It was a slower night, so we had a table with a nice view of the open kitchen.

We perused their lengthy wine menu, pretty pictured cocktail menu, and went with a Celibataire - a mixture of 3/4 oz each of Cointreau and bourbon, 1/2 oz each of Aperol or Campari, lemon juice, grapefruit juice with 1 oz ginger beer and orange peel.. each cockatil had the recipe for the cocktail next to it!  It was a light cocktail with plenty of refreshing citrus notes.. and a pretty spring color!

The ostrich is available on their regular menu, so don't fret if you think you missed out as its not only part of the Downtown Dining week special menu!

The amuse bouche of the day was a panko encrusted chicken meat ball served with a whipped celeriac root purée.

The celeriac root added in a bright note to the delicious bite of chicken. Mmm!

Slices of olive studded bread and oat and honey bread with maitre d'hotel butter (compund butter with parsley) was noshed on while we chatted.  The olive bread was our favourite with little salty bits of olive throughout, though I loved the texture of the oat and honey bread.

The Nova Scotia Lobster Chowder was presented first as a miniature mountain of bits of lobster claw, boar bacon, fingerling potatoes, crisp corn niblets, baby shrimp and a PEI mussel crowning it all (no picture), and then our waiter poured in a rich tomato-ey and seafoody bisque like chowder into the bowl.

Separating the ingredients was nice presentation table-side wise, as well as allowed you to taste individual elements - one sip would be savory smokey if you scooped up a piece of boar bacon, another a burst of sweet if you scooped up some corn.

The Pan Seared Ostrich Loin was cooked to a medium rare (I'll ask for it rare next time!) and fanned out beautifully on top of a herb infused potato rösti, soft wilted kale, asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, golden beets, charred broccolini and drizzled generously with a cassis gastrique (fruit and balsamic vinegar reduction) and topped with sprouts.  The ostrich was tender and had the taste of turkey leg meat, but with a more tender texture.  Paired with the cassis gastrique, it was like eating a fancy turkey dinner!

The herb infused potato rösti nearly eclipsed the ostrich as we made quick work of the crispy exteriored shredded potato patty that was infused with butter more than herbs.. nom!

For dessert, we had the White Chocolate Quince Bombe made with a bottom of Manchego pain perdu (fancy French toast made with a Spanish sheep's milk), a little scoop of pear and icewine sorbet, a sprinkle of walnut praline, and a delicious drizzle of cayenne flavored honey.

We were told to crack the bombe open... but as the white chocolate shell was rather thick, we had a good laugh making dents into it as we drummed on it fruitlessly.  Drizzling the chocolate into a thinner lace bowl would have worked better, but it was hilarious and fun none the less.

My boyfriend forked his bombe open more evenly (and cleanly) than me, and we both enjoyed the icewine flavored goo in the centre of a lot of whipped cream.  I forked mine open a bit more messily, and I loved the pain perdu that resembled more of a rich fluffy cake.. nom!

the VERDICT
Overall, a wonderful dinner with excellent service at the Hotel Mac, proving that you're not coming here just for the history and ambiance... its all about the food too!

Harvest Room, Fairmont Hotel MacDonald
Address Within Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, 10065 101 St, Edmonton, AB
Phone 780 424 5181 
Hours 
Mon-Fri: Breakfast buffet and à la carte: 6:30am-10am, Lunch: 11am-2pm, Dinner: 5:30pm-10pm
Sat-Sun and Stat Holidays: Breakfast buffet and à la carte: 7am-noon, Royal Tea and Tour (Sat & Sun only. Not on statutory holidays): 2:30pm- last tour begins at 4pm, Dinner: 5:30pm-10pm.
Harvest Room on Urbanspoon
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