Chow Down in Cowtown is an (almost!) weekly account of Calgary’s most awesome eats from Ceci n’est pas un food blog.
When I first heard about AKA Winebar & Bistro from are you gonna eat that?, an awesome Calgary-based food blog, I wanted to go right away. “Brunch with no line up? Sign me up!”
Well it seems like since Andree wrote about AKA Winebar and managed to grab a photo of the space when it’s empty, people have heard about the place and when we arrived at around 11 this morning, the place was *packed* and a steady stream of people followed behind us. Still, the line wasn’t spilling out the door like it was at Diner Deluxe, which sits kitty-corner to the tiny bistro, and we were lucky enough to be squeezed into a corner table so our wait wasn’t that long anyway.
Unlike most brunch places that seem to have a whopping selection of dishes, AKA Winebar just has a handful of them (nice for usually indecisive people like me). The meat selection is heavy on the pork (bacon, pork belly and sausage, though you can choose gravlax if you get the Eggs Benedict with Brioche), which left my non-pork-eating dining companion a little unimpressed. He ended up ordering (and enjoying) a three-egg omelette with asparagus, green onion, and cheese ($11).
I was originally going to get the Eggs Benedict, but then noticed on the menu that they had two eggs any style ($9), and I usually prefer plain poached eggs because I don’t really like Hollandaise sauce. This meant I wouldn’t get any brioche, but the eggs, sausage, hash browns and toast were more than enough. The poached eggs were cooked just the way I like them – with non-runny, almost solid, orange yolks, and the hash browns (of which there weren’t too many) had crispy skins and soft innards, though it was just a touch too salty for my taste. The sausage was good, but unfortunately not mindblowing, and the toast, well… I never finish my toast.
The service was pretty slow this morning, which gave my friend and I plenty of time to chat about such stimulating topics as 2012, whether the restaurant was called “AKA” or “Aka” and to soak up the atmosphere. The dining room seats about 40 and is done up in a sort-of classic theme – lots of antique-style curves and black chandeliers line one side of the space. Large windows on the street-side bring a lot of natural light into the restaurant.
Because of the long wait, when I was at the peak of my hunger I said I wouldn’t go back, but I think I might rescind that thought. AKA Winebar is relatively new, so they’re still working out their kinks, and it is definitely one of Calgary’s classier offerings for brunch. I’d also like to go back to see what they have for supper and maybe sip on a glass of wine.
So what about the strange name? I don’t have anything to confirm this theory, but knowing that the people behind Muse and Winebar in Kensington are part-owners of this place, maybe it’s just another way of saying “Winebar 2″… like “Also Known As Winebar… this is also Winebar”, y’know?
AKA Winebar & Bistro
709 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary AB T2E 3J5