Feast Cafe Bistro is the newest restaurant to have opened up in the West End. It’s only been open for a few week in the old Ellice Cafe location. I’ve lived in the West End for what’s heading towards a dozen years. The Ellice Cafe was one of my favourite places to eat during the time it was open. It was a favourite for more than the food. Over the years, several of the staff and customers became friends and remain so even after the cafe closed.
I was excited when I first heard about the new cafe that would be going in, but it seemed to be taking forever to get off the ground. I began to wonder if it would ever open. Fortunately it did. When I first walked into Feast Cafe Bistro, the sense I got was different but the same. The pictures over the counter had changed, and there were some different table setups, but the cozy, homey feeling was still there.
The same is true for the menu. Owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther has created a comfort food menu based on traditional Indigenous ingredients. So, there are a few things on the menu that the average diner may not be familiar with, but the menu still very much resembles a classic cafe type menu. While I may get in trouble with some former Ellice Cafe denizens I have to say, the food at Feast Cafe Bistro is definitely a step up.
Feast Cafe Bistro Dinners
The first time I dropped by I wasn’t certain the cafe was open, but when I enquired the owner welcomed me in and told me to take a seat. It was clear that they were getting close to closing time, so I went with a simple soup and salad combination. The soup was a very tasty Mushroom soup and the salad was the Spinach salad whose addition of eggs, mushrooms, mozzarella among other ingredients made for a hearty and delicious side salad. The combo was served with a piece of bannock.
The second time I went in for dinner was last night. It was a good sign that Friday at supper time the place was hopping. Every table was filled and as soon as one emptied it was filled up again. This time around I settled on a bison burger with fries, washing it down with a Little Scrapper IPA. This was one delicious burger. Bison has a tendency to be a little on the dry side. Not so with this burger. The patty was moist and tender. The flavouring was good and the Bannock bun it was served on was crisp and chewy. I think that all burgers should be served on these Bannock buns.
I was in the mood for dessert so I decided to go with a slice of their wildberry cheesecake. The cheesecake was good and fairly light, and the wildberry sauce was a real nice topping.
In between these two dinner visits, I stopped in for breakfast. When the location was the Ellice Cafe, breakfast was the meal I most often ate there. I went with the Feastful breakfast. This is the one with three types of meat all served as part of the meal. In this case the Bison sausage is the real local option. I quite enjoyed the sausage. The leanness of Bison lends itself really well to being a sausage meat if done right, and Feast really does it right. I went with the potato squash cakes instead of hash browns and really like the crispy/chewy texture, and the additional flavour that the squash brings.
Now, usually when I order breakfast I order the rye toast. However at Feast Cafe Bistro, you guessed it, I went with the Bannock. The Bannock here is simply wonderful. I could quite happily sit in the table and eat nothing but, until I was reduce to some sort of Bannock induced coma state. The lightly fried, crispy, chewy bread is the best thing on a menu that is full of many good things.
I mentioned at the start that a large part of what I liked about the Ellice Cafe was the people. With Feast Cafe Bistro only being open a few weeks, there hasn’t been time to develop those kinds of relationships. However, the staff have been very welcoming and friendly on the visits I’ve paid. One of the staff they hired, Avery, used to work at another one of my favourite places, Twist Cafe. That immediately gave me a good impression of the place. Hiring good people will make for a good restaurant..
I also noticed, when I went in last night that even the place was busy, there was no attempt to make me hurry and get out of there. Finally I noticed a few former Ellice Cafe regulars having dinner. The owner of Feast Cafe Bistro is committed to being a part of the community and from what I’ve seen she and the restaurant are going to do that.
It doesn’t matter what part of the city you live in, you need to make plans to get down to the west end and visit Feast Cafe Bistro.