Like many busy professionals in this city, I am a textbook workaholic (the kind who loves her work) with two businesses and little time for leisure travel, although I adore culture and good food (got to admit I am a Food Geek). So after a busy wedding season and mulling over some winter blues, I declared it was high time for a Staycation with my sister – a little one day mini-break to unplug from the busy world of events and tech gadgetry. I recently heard about a new restaurant via Twitter dubbed Yellow Door Bistro, that opened in late January 2013 inside the trendy modern Hotel Arts, actually occupying the space where St. Germain used to be.
As luck would have it, Yellow Door was taking part in the week long gastronomy-fest called Big Taste Calgary, featuring some of the city’s leading and innovative restaurant menus for foodies. Ten days, 70 restaurants, one BIG appetite! FOOD HEAVEN. After an early check-in to the hotel, we were most curious to try this new establishment and discover for ourselves. What can you expect when you arrive? Think along the lines of Whimiscal Alice in Wonderland meets Eclectic French Rustic Modern. An unexpected fusion of cool design in a fresh palette of Yellow, White, Grey & Black, the comforts of vintage and European inspired pieces, and quirkiness of accessories makes this a delightful and fun atmosphere that transports you to a different locale.
A mixture of plush yellow and sleek leather booths welcomes you the moment you step in, the lighting is bright and cheery. Your gaze meanders around the room and absorbs the funky lego inspired chairs, functional black country chairs with a nub for hanging your purse. I admired the authentic wall of 19th century wooden shutters imported from Belgium, the light installations which are more of an art piece than luminary source. Intentional design of space and thoughtful selection of unique accent accessories went into the interior of Yellow Door. It’s a place you will want to bring your friends as an excuse to hang out, over and over again just to sample the French rustic fusion iinspired menu.
We can best describe the ambiance and concept as a juxtaposition of ultra modern with French rustic comfort food with a twist. The staff were immediately engaging and friendly, guiding us to a window seat, passing some outrageous looking “hooded” dome chairs, a life sized black horse statue converted to lamp, and the most functionally designed chairs you will have the pleasure to hang your purse on.
Just because you feel cosy at home doesn’t mean they have forgotten about the comforts of the digital age. We were pleasantly surprised when a sleek iPad was handed over as their “Wine Menu”, providing a much more interactive and comprehensive background on the traditional wine lists. In fact, all of their White’s, Red’s, Beer, Bubbly, and Cocktails are all at your handy fingerips with a quick tap or swipe you are well on your way to becoming an expert.
The Big Taste offers a lineup of price fixed lunch menus for $25 (for 3 courses) and fixed dinner menu for $35. Phenomenal value for the culinary experience we were treated to. We opted for the set lunch and brought our appetites and notebook to document the tasting.
Heirloom Carrot and Fairwind Farms Goats Cheese Salad
(golden raison, orange cardamom dressing, toasted almond foam)
Loved this fresh, lightly dressed salad with the freshest of ingredients and artfully presented. A great tasty teaser before the main!
Grilled Hangar Steak Frites
(crispy Poplar Bloff pomme frites, cafe de paris butter)
The hangar steak was a complete surprise for our tastebuds, as the slices of beef were tender, seasoned, juicy and so satisfying. Paired perfectly with crispy shoestring style fries with gravy. Delish comfort food that quenched our carnivore craving.
Poached Sable Fish
(Salt spring Island mussels, clams, tomato shellfish, veloute)
The melt in your mouth and perfectly poached sable fish came in a tasty seafood-tomato based broth, delicately seasoned so as not to overpower the main star of the dish.
Takeaway French Macaroons
Super adorable mini-macaroons in an asian takeout-box, perfect for a little sweet indulgent snack! Be sure you flip over to view the custom Yellow Door branded chocolate bottoms on these cookies, in both white chocolate and milk chocolate. So clever!
Dessert Course (a la carte menu)
Classic Lemon Curd Tart
We couldn’t resist but try an additional dessert off the a la carte menu, as we ended up stowing the cute box of macarons as a takeaway goody bag for a late night snack. A sweet and tangy citrus treat of light and airy lavender meringue with a side of housemade raspberry sorbet on a candied lemon crisp. This was a perfect mini rendition of my favorite comfort Spring dessert – lemon meringue pie. The hit of smooth cool raspberry sorbet is the ideal balance with the citrus tart. I could have eaten two
While we did not sample the special prix fix dinner menu for $35 from Big Taste Calgary, along with their a la carte options:
Heirloom Carrot and Fairwind Farms Goats Cheese Salad
golden raison, orange cardamom dressing, toasted almond foam
Poached Dover Sole
Salt Spring Island mussels, clams, shellfish veloute
Mini Treat Platter
cream puff, chocolate cone, creme brulee
A gastronomy experiment success! With the same unparalleled service we are accustomed to at Hotel Arts and Raw Bar, the friendly, knowledgeable, and friendly staff (thank you to the fantastic Victoria & Joel we had the pleasure of peppering questions with!) at Yellow Door are just the icing on the cake at this new Calgary culinary establishment. Trust me, this will be the new hotspot for dining & chilling out, breakfast, lunch & dinner served daily.
TIP: Book reservations for lunch, and dinner especially since evening dining is extremely popular and you want to ensure you get in. Breakfast seems to be the best time to go, stay tuned for Part 2 as we explore the Breakfast Menu on the next feature!
Cheers to your Gastronomy Adventure!