Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Highlands Kitchen - More than just Ukranian Food (CLOSED)

If you’ve never been to Highlands Kitchen before, it’s located on a busy road in a residential neighborhood. Keep your eyes peeled as you drive up because it can be a bit hard to find, located in a  nondescript strip mall.

Quinoa Salad
Upon entering, you’ll find a lot of tables squished into a very small space, filled with mismatched chairs. The menu is small and simple, fitting onto a single sided page, with beverages located on the reverse side. We weren’t sure what to expect, knowing that we definitely wanted to try the Ukrainian food, but that it likely wouldn’t live up to what we were used to. Don’t go in expecting your Baba’s perogies, soaking in a bowlful of butter and onions, but the food is still scrumptious none the less, Ukrainian food less home-style and more plated and presented restaurant style!

Kalyna Plate
We started with a quinoa and millet salad. The crispy chickpeas, cranberries, feta, and seeds gave it a nice variety of textures. The dressing made with Mighty Trio Organic canola, flax and hemp oils was nice and light, coating but not overwhelming the salad.

We also had vegetarian borscht with a hearty dollop of sour cream. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of broth type soups and I guess up until now, I’d never had borscht made properly. This borscht was hearty and thick, with large chunks of beets, a fantastic soup for a cold winter’s day.

Bison Short Ribs (*faint*)
My entrée was the Kalyna plate, your typical Ukrainian meal of perogies with sour cream, with a soft, doughy outside and a flavorful potato filling. The lazy cabbage rolls were fantastic and stole the show, with a hint of spiciness, and the soft rice and crispy cabbage playing against one another. The kubasa tasted a bit bland if eaten on it’s own and not nearly as good as the ones made by Mundare's Sausage House, but the slightly spicy mustard on the plate helped the flavor. Probably our least favorite was the side of nachynka we’d asked for. Nachynka is a spooned cornbread in Ukrainian culture and can be made a variety of ways. The method I’m used to is butter and cornmeal cooked in a frying pan together, then poured into a loaf pan and baked in the oven for a few minutes. What results is a buttery cornbread that is thick and rich. The particular nachynka at Highlands Kitchen had more of a mashed potato texture and likely was not baked as it was a bit thin and the cornmeal tasted gritty, similar to eating instant grits.
Chocolate Pate

The man human had the slow cooked bison short ribs and said they were tender, moist, succulent and melted in your mouth, with the balsamic glaze coating each morsel giving it a mildly sweet taste. I can't say I liked the glint in his eye as I glared at him while he ate. The warm roasted garlic and rosemary potato salad was extremely garlicky, garlic, which is yet another Ukrainian staple.

We capped off the evening with two divine desserts, a crème brulee that had a thin, crispy shell, sitting atop warm, creamy custard. Then a chocolate pate made with dark chocolate that was rich, melted in your mouth, and disappeared in a blink.

We will definitely be back to try other things on the menu such as the rabbit, that were sadly sold out during our visit.

More photos at PhotoBucket.

Highlands Kitchen
6509 112 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB  T5W 0P1
Twitter: @HighlndsKitchen

UPDATED (October, 2012): CLOSED

Highlands Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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