There's an old joke in the restaurant industry — one restaurant owner comes up to another on the street and says, "So sorry hear about the fire," and the other owner says "Shh, you fool, that's tomorrow."
Unfortunately, that hit a little too close to home for the owners of Colonial a little more than a year ago, when their Quarry Park location unexpectedly burned down in January 2012 .
However, the owners, far from down and out, set out to rebuild Colonial to make it look exactly the same as it was before the flames and the restaurant has now been successfully reopened.
John Gilchrist first reviewed Colonial four years ago and went back to see whether the kitchen at the Quarry Park location stands up to its pre-fire standards.
Those heading to Colonial in hopes of a traditional Vietnamese noodle house will be disappointed.
Colonial is a sleek, modern dining environment where the menu fuses elements of Vietnamese, Thai and French cuisine, and where traditional dishes are few and far between.
While you can get a bowl of bun — a traditional rice noodle dish —, the bun at Colonial comes packed with prawns and chicken, and costs about $22.
That's more than double the price of what customers typically pay in a traditional Vietnamese noodle house, but Gilchrist says the soup here is worth the price.
"There's such layers of flavour and it's so beautifully prepared," said Gilchrist. "The quality of the ingredients is excellent — but I wouldn't necessarily go to Colonial for a bowl of bun."
Instead, Colonial stands out most on dishes like its lemongrass chicken, where the focus is all about the sauce, as in traditional French cuisine.
The green papaya and mango salad is also fantastic, and comes packed with prawns and a mint-lime sauce.
At $22 and $24 respectively, Gilchrist says both dishes are worth every penny.
If you've still got room after dinner, Colonial also has what Gilchrist calls "the best crême brulée in the city."
Colonial has two locations in Calgary — one in Quarry Park and the other in downtown Calgary.
Downtown location: 100 Seventh Avenue S.W., (587)-351-6729
Quarry Park location: 163 Quarry Park Boulevard S.E., (403)-460-4097