A filling brunch

After a week of hard exercise, healthy eating and clean living in general, I decided to blow off some steam by having brunch. Brunch is a great meal that I seldom get to have because I can’t stand lineups, waiting, excessively busy restaurants and waking up early. But I couldn’t help and be seduced by better than average sounding offerings at AKA Bistro as deftly profiled by are you gonna eat that? a local Calgary blogger. So I recruited my younger brother as a partner in crime, and off we went on an adventure across town.

I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m not a morning person. Sunday was no different, and we arrived at the bistro at the *ahem*early hour of 2 pm, which worked out to a great advantage since we were the only ones there, and they serve brunch till three p.m.

Although it’s not much to look at from the outside, (are they going to finish that?)

AKA bistro - outsidee

The interior is simple and lovely with warm neutral colors and lots of wood. Since we arrived so late we were able to snag a prime seat by the window and watch the world drive by.

AKA bistro - inside 1

AKA bistro - inside2

After ordering the mandatory, necessary and obligatory elixir of life coffee, which was nice and strong and came with cute wee spoons, we browsed the short and sweet menu. Neither of us have much of a sweet tooth, so waffles and french toast were out, and in the end we chose the filling but comforting eggs benedict for John and truffled omelet for myself.

AKA bistro - coffee

I gotta tell you right now, the omelet was a revelation. Tender, soft and chock full of goodies it was everything that an omelet tries to be, and in my kitchen fails. I’ve never made an omelet that was much more than scrambled eggs, but this one was divine. Full of mushrooms, green onions, truffles, well seasoned, it was a symphony of flavors on par with the best omelet I’ve ever had. The pork belly, grilled tomato, toast and hash browns were simply gilding the lily. I’m craving that omelet just thinking about it.

AKA bistro - truffled omelet

John’s eggs benedict were very good, but not as good as my omelet. The eggs were softly poached, but the sauce seemed weaker and blander compared to what great eggs benny achieve. The brioche was a fantastic foil and the pork belly provided a much needed salty note, it was a solid dish, but not achieving full greatness.

AKA bistro - eggs benny

The only two minor complaints we had was that the hash browns could’ve used a hint more salt too. Not to sound like a salt fiend, but they were very well cooked, crispy in the corners and soft on the inside, flecked with herbs and looked great, but potatoes take a good deal of salt to bring out their flavor, and these ones just lacked a bit. Salt shakers were not provided at the table, and the ketchup offered was housemade and waaaay too sweet. Breakfast places should not mess with Heinz, it’s a gold standard for a reason, and I’ve only tasted a couple of house ketchups that rivaled it.

Minor quibbles aside, we had a great, filling, satisfying breakfast. The service was great, the coffee was flowing, and all was right with the world.

4.5/5

AKA Winebar
709 Edmonton Trail NE
403-984-7534
Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday 4-11 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 4 p.m.-1 a.m.
Weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

AKA Winebar on Urbanspoon

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11 comments to A filling brunch

  • admin

    Yep sure was – way to reward myself for all the exercise, hey?

  • Good for you! Bon Appetit!
    Thank you for your comment! You are not going against the flow, Tatiana. Nobody minds if some text and pictures from a blog are used by other people and the blog author’s name is there. What happened – the whole blog was stolen, put on the Internet with a different name. Not a post, not a picture, but the whole Linda’s blog (Gardening by Trial and Error)was used by someone as her/his own blog.
    Have a great weekend!

  • admin

    Merci beaucoup! Yeah, stealing a blog is pretty low. That’s crazy in fact, I hope the host takes it down if the owner doesn’t. Otherwise, great info on how to protect yourself. Have a great weekend too!

  • Thanks for this review. The food looks wonderful. I am a person who doesn’t cook much with salt knowing that everyone has different preferences. I like to let people self-salt to their personal tastes. There SHOULD be shakers on the table.

    How were the prices?

  • admin

    The prices weren’t bad considering the quality – about 10-15 for a plate. It was totally worth in in my opinion since we’ve had many generic brunches that were pretty good but same old same old. But yeah, salt shakers should be mandatory.

  • Jonathan Yumol

    Hi, this is Jon Yumol, General Manager at AKA Winebar. Thank you for you excellent review and pictures of our Brunch. I’m always searching the internet for reviews and comments regarding our restaurant and I usually like to respond to them as best as I can. I would like to start of with our restaurant philosophy and maybe that will help clarify why we do some of the things we do in relation to our food and service. First of all, we like things fresh. We make all our Stocks, Jus’, Dressing’s, from scratch. We try and limit the amount of product we get in cans and bottles as much as possible. That is why we make our own ketchup’s. I love Heinz just as much as the next person. Brunch is something that our group is very new to. As you know we are the same people that own the Muse and the Winebar Kensington so doing brunch is a whole new undertaking and something we are unfamiliar with, except at our own tables at home. Hopefully we’ve done a decent job so far. We are learning something new every weekend concerning brunch service and culture. What we found is that few of our clientel use ketchup and since we serve Brunch only on weekends a bottle of Ketchup won’t probably be completely consumed for 2-3 weeks. Places which serve Breakfast everyday, their bottles of ketchup are probably finished within a few days. I would rather serve our house made ketchup that we make fresh every Saturday and Sunday than serve Heinz Ketchup that’s been open for 3 weeks or longer. Thus, we decided to make our own ketchup’s so that it will be fresh for the customers every weekend. I will tell our chef that we’ve had a few comment regarding of the sweetness though and perhaps make the our ketchup a bit more savory.
    Salt… well… everyone has a different palette when it comes to this garnish. We try and garnish salt and pepper at a level we think that will cater to everyone’s taste. Unfortunately… not everyone has the same taste when it comes to this matter. We try our best but we will provide salt and pepper upon request. We do not have shakers at the table because once again we found that our customers tend to like the levels of salt and pepper that we put on our dishes. Also, having salt and pepper shakers on the tables, we feel, will take away from the overall decor and ambiance of the restaurant.
    I think overall, as our first attempt at doing brunch we are doing above expectations. We are having great feedback and great reviews much like yours. I hope we’ve impressed you enough to comeback again. You came in a good time. Between 11am – 1pm the place is extremely busy and it is difficult to find an open table.
    Oh… and there are plans on making the exterior of the building much nicer. It is pretty non-descript from the outside isn’t it?

    Jon

  • admin

    Hey Jon – great to hear from you!

    I totally understand your newness at brunch, and for a new venture it seems to be doing great. The food is head and shoulders above most of Calgary, and since you’re as busy as the dickens for most of it, I’d say you’re succeeding. The salt thing – you’re totally right – it’s a very personal preference, and didn’t really detract from the meal. But depending on how attractive they are, salt and pepper shakers may not detract from the ambiance after all, and it’s a pretty minor issue.

    I also totally support your fresh and local philosophy wholeheartedly, and applaud your efforts to make things fresh and from scratch. But ketchup is an iconic condiment for a reason, if you google Malcolm Gladwell’s article on it (if you’re very bored one day), you’ll see that Heinz achieves a sort of gold standard of ketchup – a perfect blend of savory, salty, sweet and umami. Very few ketchups have come close and none have unseated it. In my experience it doesn’t ever go stale either, I’ve been known to have a bottle going for months, and it seems the same to me. Your house ketchup could use more vinegar and salt, it really is on the sweet side which doesn’t jive with bacon or taters. Again – a minor quibble that could indeed be my palate alone, so no big deal.

    Overall you’re off to a great start, and I’m sure you’ll tweak things as you go based on feedback from the eaters. I had a great brunch, and fully intend to go back as time and calories allow.

  • Jonathan Yumol

    Well… I am glad we made a good enough impression for you to come back. I totally appreciate all your comments. Maybe I’ll keep a little bottle of Heinz just for you. I can’t do anything about the calories though.

    See you soon.

    Jon

  • Chewy

    Hey

    Finally a resturant without salt shakers. In general, we eat too much salt. I’d go to this resturant just for that reason alone. It’s time to taste the true flavors of food.

    As for ketchup, I love ketchup as much as the next guy but I applaude any resturant that makes their own.

  • admin

    Indeed, but few house ketchups rival the icon, IMHO. And as far as salt goes I’m afraid I must beg to differ, I enjoy seasoning my food to my palate, never mind what the lowest common denominator is. But it sounds like a match made in heaven for ya, so go forth and enjoy!

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