Downtown Edmonton’s 104 Street has a plethora of options when it comes to dining out and earlier this year, welcomed a small plate-centric restaurant to their midst: Bündok. With a small space to match their sharing-style menu, I was impressed by Bündok’s efforts to bring approachable modern Canadian cuisine to the masses.
A play on the word “boondocks”, a rural place or off the beaten path, Bündok promises to be:
An inviting neighbourhood restaurant, located in Edmonton, Alberta, with intentions of celebrating people and food of the community. The process of transferring boondocks into Bündok is synonymous with our thought process of involving the history of ingredients and region into our own vision.
A soft-lit wine and cocktail bar welcomes you as you enter the space. Owner and chef Ryan Hotchkiss (previously of Jack’s Grill, Bar Bricco, and Red Star Pub) mans the open kitchen in the back. The 40-some seats are reservable online via Open Table and walk-ins are always welcome.
It’s quite unlike me to wait this long to try a new restaurant so conveniently located to me. Living so close to the restaurant, there was a voice in my head that kept whispering that it was right there, I could go any day. So I put it off for quite some time. I’m sorry I didn’t go sooner.
Drinks menu features wines from across Canada and France and cocktails are kept classic. The menu, albeit described as modern Canadian, is steering towards French-inspired at the moment. Dinner features a dozen-or-so small plates for nibbling and sharing, as well as a handful of main entrees. I absolutely love the selection of bites that small plates offer and was happy to see a very approachable menu.
Dishes came out at lightning speed as they were ready. Our first plate was the Seabream Crudo, freshly sourced from Effing Seafoods. I loved how bright and acidic the dish was and the bites were well seasoned. Bites of apple and Thai basil gave the crudo a nice unexpected complexity of flavours.
Joe headed straight for the Beef Tartare, mixed with egg yolk, pickled mustard seeds, and greens. Served with housemade bread, the tartare was perfect in texture. Since it was left very lightly seasoned, the additional side of coarse salt was appreciated. I would have preferred a smidge of something-or-other, perhaps another dash of Worcestershire or a bit more onion. Something for a little bit more bite.
The Chicken Liver Tartine was deemed as a must-order by a lot of reviewers and friends that have visited. I’m always one to order anything in pâte or terrine format. This spread was smooth, velvety, and layered thick with beads of translucent pear jam and a sprinkling of that coarse salt. Delicious!
Roasted Cauliflower followed suit. Our server recommended at least three plates for the night so we weren’t sure of portions. I regret not ordering the large because this dish was one of my favourites. I love capers and in combination with breadcrumbs and a nice char, the cauliflower was a fantastic vegetable dish. Crème fraîche really rounded out the dish.
Excited to try more, we ordered two additional dishes to top us off. Also highly recommended: the Chicken Skin. Because why wouldn’t you?! Fried chicken skin, dollops of honey mustard, and thyme make for crispy, addictive bites. I’d take this over it’s pork cousin chicharrón any day.
We decided to order one of the larger plates to get a better idea of the menu. Joe and I aren’t very meat-centric so the Gnocchi was our go-to. Gnocchi can go two ways: dense and heavy or light and pillowy. Done Parisian style, this pâte à choux gnocchi was the ultimate version of light and pillowy. Roasted Brussel sprouts and squash made for a nice combination and the plate was large enough to fill us both right up.
We were too full for desserts, unheard of for the most part. Service was fantastic and we were well taken care of all night. Despite a busy night (we went right before an Oilers game), the dishes came out as soon as they were ready and at a fast pace. Since opening in January, Bündok clearly has things under control and has taken well to constructive criticisms and suggestions. It wasn’t soon after our meal that Bündok announced their lunch offering starting in May. I’m so happy to see another solid restaurant in the downtown core and hope to see more of the menu as the seasons change. Bündok is most certainly paving their own path in Edmonton’s culinary scene.
10228 104 Street