Briggs Kitchen and Bar

Hubby and I were downtown one Sunday and looking for a place to have lunch at.  Unfortunately for us, many places are not open for lunch on Sundays so as we were wandering around Briggs Restaurant and Bar came to mind so we made our way over there.  Sadly, when we arrived we were informed that they were only serving their brunch menu.  Bummer.  But, since we walked all the way there we decided to stay.  Brigg’s brunch menu is small and since I already had eggs for breakfast that morning I wasn’t in the mood for anymore even though their eggs Benedict sounded really good. The only eggless savory choice that appealed to me was the Breakfast Potato Gratin ($14.25) and it sounded pretty good so I went with that.  Hubby couldn’t decide on what he wanted either but eventually settled for AAA Sirloin Steak ($18.25).

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It was very quiet that afternoon with only one other table occupied in the restaurant while we were there while most of the small patio was full.  I was admiring the space while waiting for our food and I could already tell that this place must be pretty busy and lively in the evenings.  The place is filled with banquette seats, bar seating by the window and a bar situated in the middle of it all.  There are several flat screen TVs on the wall airing sports which is sure to attract a crowd and perhaps make it easier for ladies to drag their man out for a meal.

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The food took longer than expected to arrive and when the server placed our meals down she explained why.  It turns out the kitchen had to re-cook hubby’s steak twice because it was not cooked to his liking; he had asked for it to be rare.  The dish itself was quite stunning to look at with the crispy potato pancake on the bottom and then layered with the steak, eggs and hollandaise sauce.  However, when he had cut into his steak it was still not cooked to his liking.  It was more medium to medium-rare.  The star of this dish was the potato pancake though – gloriously crispy and so good!  I had a taste of it and seriously – they should just put the potato pancake on the menu by itself.  It is that good.

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My dish was not quite what I had expected.  The potatoes were roasted well but there was a huge pool of oil at the bottom of the cast iron dish.  Perhaps because they had roasted the potatoes in it but it was a bit off-putting and too greasy for my liking.  The pork belly was crispy but there were only a few pieces of it and there were quite small.  The kale was slightly charred and I probably enjoyed it more just because it helped to cut the greasy potatoes.  Overall, I found this dish to be disappointing and underwhelming.  I really expected a lot more from this dish.

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We opted for dessert just because I needed something to rid the grease.  Their dessert menu is quite small with only 3 items to choose from.  I settled for the Lemon Pie ($8) since I’m a huge lemon fan and the meringue topping set it apart from other lemon pies that I’ve had.  Although the concept of it was unique I did find the pie itself underwhelming.  The pastry was slightly soggy and the curd was dry – to me that’s a sign of a pie that was made a while ago and has been sitting in the fridge.  Eating all three components together did make for a very interesting mouth feel and it really does taste best if you eat all three components together.

Service was pretty attentive and the servers actually do their job rather than chit-chat with each other.  I noticed many of them were restocking/cleaning since it was a quiet day.  I’m still interested in trying their regular menu so I’ll be back to do that but I would pass on the brunch menu.

Briggs Kitchen and Bar

317 10 Ave Southwest
Calgary, AB  T2R 0A5

Briggs Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

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Big Fish

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Hubby’s friend C was recently in town from London, UK and we had brunch with him to catch up.  It is not easy looking for a kid friendly place to dine at on a Sunday afternoon.  A lot of the places that we go to are either not open for lunch or they don’t take reservations for brunch.  And, doesn’t it seem like everyone in Calgary is out for brunch on Sundays?  It sure seems that way when we’re left waiting for table.  That’s when Big Fish came to mind – one of the bonuses is that they take reservations and the food is good.

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I went with the Wild mushroom, truffle, basil and white cheddar scramble on Noble duck confit hash ($15).  I’ve had it before, really enjoyed it and wanted to have it again.  It was still as good as I remember although I found the portion to be a bit smaller than before – not as much duck I think. I still enjoyed it though and love the flavor combination of mushrooms and duck together.

Homemade jam and ketchup

Homemade jam and ketchup

I tried some of their homemade strawberry jam with my slice of bread and really enjoyed the intense strawberry flavor.  I love their homemade jams because they’re always packed full of fruit and not cloyingly sweet.

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The Citizen Sidewalk brioche French toast with orange curd and maple syrup ($13) was my toddler’s order since they don’t have a kids menu.  Although on the pricier side, the French toast was indeed really good.  The toast was crispy yet soft, buttery and custardy.  The orange curd was to die for…I could seriously smear that on everything and eat it!

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Hubby had the Arugula, oven dried tomato and Sheppards Dairy sheep feta omelette ($12) with a side of bison chorizo ($4).  He really enjoyed the omelette and sausage but was super stuffed after.  The chorizo was huge and he couldn’t believe the portion size. I didn’t try his dish so can’t comment on the flavors but he polished off the entire thing so that must be a good sign.

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C decided to try the Soft shell crab club sandwich with wild boar bacon and organic tomatoes with a side salad ($17).  The server was kind enough to explain what it the crab was like so he wouldn’t be surprised.  He enjoyed the soft shell crab but got tired of eating the bread with it halfway through.  I suspect because it was too hard and crunchy overall – in other words too much jaw work.  The buttery crusty bread with the deep fried crab can give your jaw a bit of a workout. I think this sandwich would almost pair better with a soft bun instead.

Service was pretty average – the server got us what we needed and refilled our waters when they ran low.  We really liked the laid back atmosphere of the place and didn’t feel rushed to finish our meal and leave so that waiting patrons could get their table.  I would definitely return for brunch and try their other offerings.  I have my eyes set on their Maple Fried Oatmeal next time.

Big Fish

1112 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB T2E 0Z2

Big Fish Dockside on Urbanspoon

Vendome Cafe

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I love going out for breakfast but I hate having to wait especially since I’m usually starving in the mornings.  My friend J and I met up for breakfast at Vendome Café and I was quite happy to find that they had a steady stream of customers but it wasn’t so bad that we weren’t able to get a seat right away.

I really loved the atmosphere of this place.  It was very inviting and also meant that you could drop in for a quick bite, catch up with friends or bring your laptop and chill out for a few hours.  The space is bright and the seats aren’t so close together that you can hear your neighbors conversation.  It was perfect for us. Continue reading