Edmonton·Food review

Bündok: an 'impeccable' downtown delight

You’ll find Bündok tucked at the base of the Fox Tower on 104 Street, one block south of Rogers’ Place in Edmonton’s shiny new Ice District.

'This is a sinful, crispy, crackly, salty indulgence,' says Edmonton AM food critic Twyla Campbell

Bündok is a new addition to the downtown Edmonton restaurant scene. (Bundok/Instagram)

You'll find Bündok tucked at the base of the Fox Tower on 104th Street, one block south of Rogers Place in Edmonton's shiny new Ice District.

There's no prominent sign up yet and you'll have to wind your way through ongoing building obstacles, but it is there. Look for the name etched on the glass door.

Don't let the flotsam of construction stop you. What Chef Ryan Hotchkiss is serving is worth the navigational effort.

Bündok is all about chef-driven, seasonal small plates, says Hotchkiss, who most recently cooked at Bar Bricco.

'More please' 

With just over a dozen small plates and a few larger main dishes, you'd do well to bring friends and share as much as you can.

The prices make it feasible with small plates ranging from $6 to $18.

Fans of foie gras will be pleased with the chicken liver tartine, a spread so luxuriously rich and velvety that you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two. The pâté is slathered on thick slabs of made-in-house bread, and finished with bits of pickled pear, a drizzle of sweet saba, and a smattering of coarse salt.

If you spy deep-fried chicken skin on the menu, go for it. This is a sinful, crispy, crackly, salty indulgence, yes, but pair it with a glass of the Varichon et Clerc Privelege, a refreshing, bubbly Blanc de Blancs from Savoie, and that guilt will wash away before you can say "more please".

 If you, like me, are tired of the heavy, gluey dough-balls that many restaurants insist on serving as gnocchi, fear not. Hotchkiss prepares his dumplings in the French style of pâte à choux and tops these delectable tender nuggets with pan fried Brussels sprouts under a blanket of grated Parmesan cheese.

The beef tartare bears mentioning as well. Hotchkiss uses Piedmontese beef from Messinger Meats. The breed is known for a double muscle genetic mutation resulting in a finer muscle fiber meaning less chewing for the customer.

The gently seasoned beef is minced to perfection and served with lightly toasted bread. A thimble of extra sea salt on the side would be a welcomed touch.

The furniture is uninspiring, and I wasn't a fan of the grilled chicory, but those issues are manageable.

Service was impeccable and the wine list is well-thought out and interesting despite representation from only Canada and France.

The Okanagan's Church and State, Liquidity, and Stoneboat can certainly hold their own against the Alsation Pfaff and the Burgundian Paulee Pinot Noir from Faively, and others.

Joe Rockwood is the man responsible for those choices and should be commended. The city needs more Joe Rockwoods. It also needs more Bündoks.

Find Bundok at 10228 – 104 Street, and @Bundok_Yeg on Twitter. 

You can hear Campbell's reviews on Edmonton AM every second Friday. You can also see more of her reviews on her blog, Weird Wild and Wonderful, and can follow her on Twitter at @wanderwoman10.