Since opening in Ellerslie mid-2015, Cured Wine Bar has moved up and down on my list of places to try for quite some time. I mostly blame the location, too far south out of my dinner radius and an area that I don’t casually frequent. As much as I love charcuterie (who doesn’t love meat & cheese?!), Cured Wine Bar seemed to slip past my radar over the winter months. That is, until they announced that they were doing brunch. Good thing my brunch radius is a lot larger than my dinner radius.
I’ve been on a brunch binge lately, making the effort to try a new brunch or lunch place every weekend that I’m not working. To kick off 2016, I invited all of my food-loving friends for a get-together to try Cured’s first brunch service. Owner Field Pieterse was on location, making sure the day ran smoothly and I would assume Chef Phan Au was in the kitchen, although sadly we never got a chance to meet.
The space is quite open and large, although apparently only seating thirty and not reservable. I was happy to see multiple seating options: banquet seating for a more comfortable dining experience, table seating to accommodate couples or pushed together to seat large groups like all nine of us, and bar seating for a more casual meal and sipping wine. Loved the natural lighting in the space, balancing out the darker brick and wood paneled walls. It’s honestly a food photographer’s (or food blogger’s!) dream come true. Even the cutlery grabs your attention. While most of us admired the space, a few of the group were more food-centric, noticing the curing of various meats in the fridges and the stacked wheels of cheese! A blackboard on the back wall features Cured Wine Bar’s local suppliers, including Country Accent Farms and Sylvan Star.
As expected for brunch, the menu featured egg-centric dishes like eggs benedict and a breakfast platter, bagel and lox, and a Fried Chicken and Foie-ffle ($17). Hold the phone, what’s a foie-ffle? It’s rendered foie gras (goose liver) and a Belgian waffle together my friends. I’m sorry, how can you not order this! The chicken had a crisp batter, perfectly fried, was tender and well seasoned (and peppered!). It’s what happens when you have a five-day long process of brining, sous-viding (is that a word?), sitting and chilling, and deep frying. Heck. Yeah. You could definitely taste the foie gras in the waffle, and with the combination of bourbon honey and maple butter, just the right amount of sweetness balanced out the dish. There was the texture and flavour of cornmeal in the waffle batter and perhaps due to the addition of rendered foie gras, the waffle would crumble as soon as a fork hit it. Do I care? Not really, because everything was absolutely delicious!
Linda ordered the Eggs Benny ($14): toasted English muffin, 62.5 degree poached egg, shaved prosciutto (the only meat not made in-house), bacon hollandaise, and smoked paprika. I don’t think I even asked Linda how her dish was because we were too busy talking about why SnapChat was ruling all social media.
Diane ordered the Cured Platter ($16): two eggs done your way, Cured Wine Bar’s signature bacon, breakfast sausage, confit hash browns, with multigrain toast and fruit. Heavily peppered, Diane’s scrambled eggs weren’t as noteworthy and a quick steal of one of her hash browns made me feel like her dish was underwhelming compared to my order.
Stuffed to the brim, our table was ready to pass up on dessert until our server came out and said the words “dulce de leche” and “salted caramel ice cream”. Curse the words that make you lose all sense of control. The Dolce & Banana (haha! get it?) was absolutely delicious: a housemade banana bread broken into pieces and baked with a vanilla bourbon custard, topped with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream from Edmonton’s own Pinocchio Ice Cream, then drizzled with dulce de leche and hazelnuts. Um… yum? 99.9% there, as I think using a deeper pan (albeit cute plating points!), would result in less crispy bits and help keep the banana bread moist.
Boy was I glad I made the trip. Definitely one of the more memorable brunches I’ve had in Edmonton and one that I would recommend. If I hadn’t been driving, the bottom-less mimosas for $20 would most certainly have been on my bill. In which case, I might have ordered the ridiculously luxurious Eggs Woodhouse Platter, a whopping $37 dish featuring a white truffle hollandaise, Northern Divine caviar and Spanish saffron. Whoa! For those not in the mood for brunch, Cured Wine Bar also offers a lunch menu (after 11am) of soups, salads, and sandwiches. From the menu, the Banh Mi sounded interesting, a housemade pork paté, pork terrine, and duck bologna (ehh?!). Asian flavours also continue in the Cured Burger with an appearance of katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes) on top of a house ground bison patty. I approve. I’m excited to try Cured Wine Bar for another round of brunch or lunch and hopefully one day make it for dinner to try their in-house cured meats!Cured Wine Bar
2307 Ellwood Drive, Ellerslie Crossroads