Thursday, September 19, 2013

Squabalicious at The Manor Casual Bistro

Odds and Ends
Although we’ve been aware of the existence of The Manor Casual Bistro for quite some time now, we’d never had the impetus to try it out. However, when Executive Chef Alex Sneazwell mentioned that he would be trying to add squab (otherwise known as pigeon – one of my favorite meats) to their summer menu, I knew I had to find time to try it out, as squab is very difficult, if not impossible, to find at restaurants in Edmonton.

Located in Glenora, just off 124 Street, The Manor Casual Bistro was opened in 1993 by Cyrilles Koppert. The restaurant itself is located in a historic building that was built in 1929 by former Alberta Attorney General, John Farquhar Lymburn. Although the d├ęcor and furnishings appear to be quite dated, the menu is anything but. Executive Chef Alex Sneazwell has breathed new life into this restaurant through his seasonal menu, with a variety of interesting items.

We began with their “odds and ends” board, which was exactly as it sounded – a board filled with what some restaurants would normally think of as the left over bits that was wasted up until recently since offal has become quite trendy over the last few years. This particular board offered roasted bone marrow and grilled feeb hearts with baguette, balsamic reduction, and roasted tomatoes. The humans thought that the bone marrow was nicely seasoned, neither too salty or peppery, with some parts of the bone marrow obviously hotter than others, as some bits stayed gelatinous while others had melted, making the baguette a useful tool to sop it up with. The humans also enjoyed the feeb hearts, which they said were tender and mildly salty, with the saltiness offset by the slightly sweet balsamic reduction. Lastly the roasted tomatoes were plump and bursting with flavor.

Pork Two Ways
The highly anticipated squab was next, pan roasted with fireweed honey, wild mushrooms, rhubarb lemon verbena compote and a white bean puree. The squab itself was moolicious, very tender, cooked to a perfect medium rare, moist, and lightly seasoned with a crispy skin. Chef Sneazwell explained that each dish consisted of two squab breasts, while the remainder of the squab was deboned and the meat was used with the wild mushrooms. The rhubarb lemon verbena compote had a hint of tartness that complimented the squab well, and was tempered by the white bean puree. It was as enjoyable a squab experience as any I’d had in London, including at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey.

The male human ordered the pork dish that was made two ways - one was grilled tenderloin, while the other was shredded rib bacon. I found the shredded pork was a bit on the drier side but had a nice flavor to it. On the other hand, the pork tenderloin was cooked perfectly, and when eaten with the mildly sweet and extremely creamy sweet potato puree it was heavenly!

Lastly dessert was a hit and a miss. The panna cotta with pineapple was not as good as it sounded. The texture was watery and the large chunks of pineapple in a normally a creamy, smooth dessert was a bit off putting. The tiramisu, however, was decadently creamy yet light, and not too sweet. The rum was discernible and the crispy bits of Callebaut chocolate added some nice texture to the soft and moist fluffy layers of cake.
Pineapple Panna Cotta

Overall it was an enjoyable experience, the food other than the panna cotta was excellent and Executive Chef Sneazwell’s deft hand with squab was on par with the skills of any chef working at a Michelin Star restaurant we had been to in Europe. Considering the moderate price tag and it’s proximity to our home, we will definitely be returning to The Manor Casual Bistro try some of the other items on the menu, but hope that although squab was only here on their summer menu, it will make a return appearance.

The Manor Casual Bistro
10109 125 St NW

Edmonton, AB  T5N 1S7


Twitter: @manorbistroYEG

Manor Bistro on Urbanspoon

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