The new restaurant is right above winebar, where an interior design store used to be. It’s been transformed with the requisite dark wood tables, chairs and a few banquettes in the back. A bank of airy windows along the front is a great place to sit and watch the bustle of the neighbourhood.
Dawn and I came here for lunch when it was quite empty. But when I tried to join some other friends for dinner that same day, it was packed, with a lineup to boot.
I believe the same French-inspired menu is offered at both meals. There are sections on the menu for:
- poutines ($11-$17.50) made with duck gravy
- mussels ($16.50) which all come with frites
- bar snacks like smoked beef sticks and pickled quail eggs ($4)
Most of the mains are meat-heavy like a special Alberta pork hock for two ($49). But Dawn was quite pleased with the house-made vegetarian burger ($15) which was packed with lentils and legumes. She was happy it wasn’t pretending to be meat. Crispy onions added a great zing.
My bison dip ($16) had medium-thick slices of meat and was nicely complimented by gruyere and grainy mustard. I wanted to drink the dip, an au jus made from lobster. The side frites were my favourite part, crispy and salty and lots of them!
Since brasserie is French for brewery, there are a few unique beers. We enjoyed our server’s recommendation of Duvel ($9.75), a refreshing Flemish pale ale. (H had his milk while Mommy enjoyed her special drink.)
The day’s special dessert, fresh beignets with sugar and wildflower honey ($6), ended our leisurely meal. The donuts were hot but I wanted more sugar and honey.
The only hiccup was a surprising $3 *per person* charge for Q filtered still water. At the outset, we were asked if we wanted still or sparkling water but not tap, which I take to mean that there’s no charge. And I base that on the fact that so many other restaurants (Rush and Boxwood for example) offer complimentary filtered water.
As an aside, I phoned to ask what their hours were and a girl (I’m sure she’s a woman but she sounded like a girl) said, “We’re open around lunch time.” When I pressed for exact hours she said, “I guess around 11 and then closed at 3 or 4?” I finally had to ask her to check with someone who knew for sure. Sigh.
Despite those minor annoyances, Brasserie has a solid kitchen and is already a popular addition to Kensington.
Brasserie Kensington, 1131 Kensington Rd. NW, (403) 457-4148. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Closed Monday.
Room for strollers: No
High chairs: No
Kids menu: No
Ambiance: Server was accommodating but this is a grownups hangout for the most part.
Access: Up exterior flight of stairs.