Much has been made over the Raw:Almond pop-up restaurant. The Winnipeg Free Press has covered it a couple of times, the link is to the second of these articles. You can also find out about it on the local CBC website. I haven’t included article links, because they tend to come down quite quickly. I’ve booked my ticket for tonight’s dinner service, but when the opportunity came to try out the restaurant during brunch service on the first weekend, I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. This sense was enhanced because I knew that Talia Syrie of The Tallest Poppy, was the chef for the brunch, capably assisted by, among others, Shel Zolkewich.
Brunch on the River
I wasn’t sure if there was a protocol for making reservations or if I should simply take my chances. As it was a pleasant day, I decided I would take my chances and walked over after I had finished church over at Holy Trinity. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to find out that there was indeed room at the table and so I took my seat and awaited for the food to arrive.
My arrival happened to coincide with the arrival of the city health inspectors, so there was a slight delay in getting the food out to the tables. However, some small talk with the people around me helped to pass the time until sustenance was placed on the table.
One of the interesting parts of the experience that the brunch was served in a fashion similar to a family meal, or perhaps a meal served at a summer camp. The first thing to come out was a container(biodegradable) of fruit salad. These were passed along so that those closest to server kept passing until everyone had a serving.
After another short wait, the dishes containing the rest of the food started to arrive. The first of these dishes was a plate full of pan cooked potatoes, enhanced with yellow peppers. These were served, as were the remaining dishes by placing a plate in the middle of a group of four to six diners, depending on the dish. This was the most interesting part of the brunch, for diners were forced to show courtesy and consideration to the other diners around them as the food came. I don’t know about the other end of the table, but at the end I was at, graciousness was on display throughout the brunch.
The biggest surprise to me was that the food kept on coming. After the potatoes, there were scrambled eggs (light and fluffy), pancakes (equally light and fluffy, and with a wonderful raspberry syrup), bacon and biscuits with gravy. Even better was that several of the items in that list were replaced with a second plate to be shared among the diners.
There wasn’t a lot of conversation among us as we ate, but that had as much to do with how much food there was to be eaten. As one might expect, most of the conversation that did occur centered around how good the food was and how much we were all enjoying it. Although there was another sitting after us, we were never made to feel rushed at anytime and were able to enjoy our brunch in an relaxed and convivial manner.