This organic farmhouse cider and I are having a moment. Around me, grey-haired women are catching up with granddaughters over eggs-and-soldiers and flutes of grower champagne. Alone at the bar, I’ve got eyes for my blue ceramic mug. The Minotière brut from Normandy is steely like gunflint, smoky, dry and deliciously musty. Paired with a crispy buckwheat galette topped with verging-on-stinky Délice de Bourgogne cheese, it’s amour total.
The impeccable Duchess Bakeshop, whose owners are here partnered with its former kitchen manager Kelsey Johnson, sowed the seeds of Edmonton’s blossoming food scene. Almost a decade later, the city’s reaping a bumper restaurant crop, notably this northside industrial space. A big skylight sets off shades of Nordic green: upholstered seafoam wishbone chairs, forest-green leather banquettes, a concrete planter teeming with ferns and creeping vines, fiddleheads on a plate.
Chef Johnson headlines this brunch-to-supper project. She’s got a magic touch with eggs. A perfectly poached hen egg bleeds sunset-orange yolk over the galette. A perfectly sunny-side-up duck egg accompanies charred spears of asparagus, a Gruyère tuile and gribiche. To complement the savoury, sweet yogurt pannacotta is spritzed tableside with St-Germain.
Things get more serious at dinner, though those two young guys on a date aren’t smiling any less. The daily terrine – luxurious pork rillettes topped with springy cucumber relish – showcases a poppy whole-grain mustard I’d buy by the case. Cabbage rolls are tightly wound around a marrowy mix of minced chuck and potato, brightened by a tart tomato dice. And in a country obsessed with sourdough, Linnea’s boule, quartered to keep its crunchy crust intact, is the best I ate all year. Bakers gonna bake.