When North 53 announced it was doing a pop-up dinner with Calgary’s Anju, the event quickly earned a spot in my calendar. Save a trip and have the popular eatery come to one of Edmonton’s best restaurant? Yes, please! Throw in a couple (or more) cocktails and I’m sorry, but that sounds like one heck of a Sunday night. Here’s a quick recap!
Luckily, Joe was able to nab us some tickets. Happy (early) Valentine’s to me! The 6:30pm seating had a set four-course menu at $55 per head and a drinks menu that was enough to make you really think twice about what to order! The Cold Tea (Hennessy x St. Germaine x Yuzu x Green Tea) had my name written all over it, but the Boba (Bourbon x Cynar x Milk + Boba) sounded so different that I couldn’t help but order both. Joe tried the Tokyo (Nikka x Cynar x Angostura) and finished off the meal with a Cass Fresh.
The bar was open for walk-ins all night, although a line out the door before service really made it a primo spot. Set menu was unavailable for ordering but bar snacks included Anju favourites: Salmon Poke, Oxtail Tortellini, their infamous Hot Wings, and Crispy Tofu. Having tried three of the four options on our latest trip to Calgary, I knew I was missing out on some fantastic dishes. Little did I know, we could have actually ordered some of the bar plates in addition to our set menu. Biggest regret of the night ever! If only there wasn’t a second seating at 9pm, we could have easily stayed and continued our meal with bar snacks!
Drinks and dishes came out at a steady pace. Our first dish came without much description other than Foie, but the spread was smooth and rich. What stood out was the clear gel, a sweet citrus note. Really wished I had asked what was going on in the plate!
Course two was Rice, a take on Dol Sot Bibimbap (mixed rice in stone bowl). Loved the bits of rice that crisped up from the heat of the stone bowl, adding to the texture of the dish. Kimchi, assorted vegetables, and pork belly pieces made this my favourite of the night!
Beef ended up being a tender sweet soy-glazed short rib with black garlic mashed potato and roasted carrots. The meat was perfectly cooked and just fell apart once a fork hit it. I would have liked it to be a bit more seasoned but the black garlic mashed potatoes made up it, highly addictive and fantastic consistency.
Milk and Cookies was just that: a dark chocolate chip cookie, served with a milk ice cream. Absolutely delicious and just the right amount of sweetness for my taste.
I’m a big fan of pop-up dinners, and even more so when it’s a collaboration between my favourites! Hats off to Chef Roy Oh and his Anju team and thank you so much for bringing the dinner to Edmonton! If you’re heading south, make sure to add Anju to your list of eats. I highly recommend it as a second dinner, late night eats are my favourite! To keep up with North 53 and any future events, follow them on social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). Taking inspiration from Anju and no doubts other fantastic eateries from around the world, North 53’s second project in the Mercer Building is on my “to watch” list. I’m so excited for what’s to come!