A new french restaurant in Edmonton is a blasé addition to the Old Strathcona neighbourhood, according to Edmonton AM food reviewer Twyla Campbell.
Campbell was anticipating a delicious blend of authentic french food and pub fare at the Almanac, a new gastro pub and live music venue on Whyte Avenue, but said the menu, from executive chef Alysha Couture, was a letdown.
Instead of soothing her palate with delicious flavours, the meal left Campbell with a sharpened tongue.
"Everything looked good, I have to give them that, but most items we tried were completely devoid of flavour."
Campbell's distaste for the Almanac started with lunch; a bland burger, watery vegetable soup, a chicken pesto sandwich drowning in an overabundance of cheese, accompanied by "flaccid" fries.
Despite the bad first experience, Campbell returned a month later, hoping the restaurant's failures were little more than growing pains. But she said Almanac failed to redeem itself.
A limp and "lifeless" salad smothered a greasy onion tart; grease, again, was the culprit with the overcooked popcorn chicken.
'I think someone may have forgotten about them in the deep fryer," said Campbell. "They did take those off the bill."
After nibbling away at the uninspiring first course, Campbell was served what she describes as a pork belly disaster.
"It was very disappointing," said Campbell. "What is the kitchen thinking?"
The only saving grace for Almanac, according to Campbell, was their delicious, inexpensive cocktail list, and relatively cheap selection of draft beer.
"Right now it's the drinks that are going to save this place."
In order for the Almanac to survive in Edmonton's competitive food market, Campbell says management needs to take a much closer look at what's coming out of the kitchen.
"These are lovely people, with nice ideas and good intentions, but it's just not translating to the plate."
Campbell's advice? Go for a drink, stay for the live music, but skip the food.