Last night I headed out to a social media event sponsored by Flight Club, a new restaurant at the James Richardson International Airport. It’s been quite a while since I last went to the airport, and it certainly has built up in the intervening period of time.
Flight Club will be holding it’s grand opening, next Thursday, April 26th. It will be more of a finger food style event.
The last time I was out there, I wasn’t taking a plane, but rather getting on a Greyhound. I arrived early, so after checking out the Flight Club location, I decided to see if the bus depot is every bit as dismal and depressing as I remembered. It is. Think of a hospital waiting room with only slightly less human misery.
After doing that I was quite happy to head back to the Flight Deck to await the arrival of the rest of the group. The first thing I noted about the space is that it gives off a sense of being comfortable. There is lots of glass and open space along a wood slats shaped liked hockey sticks. the tables and chairs are all in a warm grey, and the ceiling contains more warm wood. There are three other pre-boarding eating establishments at the terminal. Stella’s, Harvey’s, and Tim Horton’s. Flight Club is clearly the best of the three for ambiance, even before one tries the food.
Having arrived early I had a chance to speak with the Flight Club hostess, and received a bit of history on the restaurant. Flight Club is part of the Plaza Network. Plaza Network is out of Malaysia and operates 38 airport lounges around the world. They also operate 4 pre-boarding restaurants around the world. One each in Malaysia, Hong Kong, London, and Winnipeg.
Despite being part of a large group, the menus are focused on the location of the restaurant, so the Winnipeg branch is Asian-North American fusion. There is also a focus on using lots of herbs and spices in the cooking, along with fresh ingredients.
The first of my dinner mates to arrive was Kevin Burgin host of CJOB’s The Main Ingredient. He was there with his daughter who also joined our table. I did introduce myself to everyone, but I only have the names of people who gave me their social media links. If you attended last night and would like a ink added to this post, leave a comment below. Among the other new people I met, were Ling from lingeatsywg, and Ben from Savour Winnipeg. Also there were Natalie Bell, and Amanda Cortens, two of my favourite food blogging people.
A couple of things to note about the Club. There meals are available for takeout, which might be good if you happen to be up at the airport to catch a Greyhound. They also validate parking for any purchases over $30.00.
Flight Club Food
Each place setting had a card that featured the restaurant logo on one side and the menu for the evening on the other.
The menu was divided into several groups of dishes. Under most of the headings there were two or three different items. Reading this, I figured we would be getting to try one of the items under each heading. Turns out, we were getting the opportunity to try every item on the menu. Given that there were so many items, I’m just going to hit on what the highlights of the menu were for me.
Flight Club Highlights
The first items on the menu are juices, of the type that are popular as meal replacements. The two that really stood out to me, were the C-Booster, where orange juice predominates. You got a taste of the orange zest, and it reminded me of when I was a kid, and we used to rub the orange peels on the back of our hands. The other was the Timeless, which had a very pleasant Ginger Flavour.
Both of the dishes in the From the Garden sections were very good. One of the things that stands out at Flight Club is that there are a good number of vegetarian items on the menu.
The evening proceeded at a leisurely pace. One thing about the evening being a social media event, we had service that you wouldn’t necessarily get on a regular visit. Out table of four was looked after by a gentleman named Warren, and he did a great job of looking after our table throughout the evening. We never short of cutlery, and our water glasses were refilled on a regular basis.
We shared individual portions at each table, but the portions appear quite good sized. For those who visit, can expect dishes to range from between $12-$24.
The Asian Connection was also really good. The Nasi Goreng was fantastic, with a nice little bit of spice in the rice. The egg was cooked to the perfect point where the yolk poured out when cut. There was also a very pleasant sweet sauce on top of the sate.
The vegetarian red curry, was probably the spiciest dish I ate all evening. and the skin on the Golden Roasted Chicken was both crunchy and crispy.
When we got to the sandwiches, we tried one that was meat and one vegetarian. Banh Mi was done as a wrap, but it also available with the traditional crusty bread. The pork, like all the meat during the evening was very tender. The Crispy Green Tomato Sandwich was quite good, although I’d like a little onion, or sliced dill to add a little crunch, and while the French Fries were good, they’re not quite as elevated as the rest of the menu.
The chef for the evening was Farouk Youssef, and before each course, he came out of the kitchen to describe for us what we were about to enjoy. He did a fine job both in and out of the kitchen. Moving onto the From the Carnivore’s Mouth, both items were prepared in part by using Sous Vide technique. Both the Veal Cheek and the Lamb Shank, were full of flavor. The Veal Cheek in particular had a great melt in your mouth quality.
Our eating habits changed as the meal went on. We started out eating everything put in front of us. As the meal progressed we found that we were trying less and less as it went around. However we still had plenty of room when the dessert arrived.
The first dessert was a Sweet Lemon Cheese Dumpling. These are meant to be popped into you mouth in one bite. I took a small bite, and had to move quickly to avoid having filling all down the front of shirt. I spooned in a little of the salted caramel sauce for the second bite. The sauce was great. Not overly sweet, and not overly thick.
The last two items were the Death By Chocolate and Matcha Tea Nitrogen-Based Ice Cream. I really loved the Death By Chocolate.
The evening was long and relaxed, and I enjoyed every minute. Thank you to Flight Club for treating me and the other guests to a veritable banquet of delights.