The Big Taste @ Wine-Ohs
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
As I mentioned in my last review, B. and I checked out two places during Big Taste. For the first place, it was my day off/work from home day on his birthday, so I headed downtown and took him out to Wine-Ohs, located in what used to be Piq Niq/Beat Niq on 1st Street SW.
Wine-Ohs kept most of the decor the same – the small 30-seat Bistro looks like it came straight out of the 1920’s, with lots of wood and other vintage accents. Wine-Ohs lives up to its name with an extensive wine list for dinner, but for lunch, they were able to pare it down to a one-pager. Unfortunately since B. still had to go back to work that day we couldn’t partake… even though it was his birthday.
For The Big Taste, they only offered one set menu, so our plan was to have one of us order the Big Taste menu and the other order à la carte. The selection was pretty small, with a few repeating items – for example, there was wild mushrooms on toast and butternut squash and wild mushroom ravioli, and there was already wild mushroom risotto on the set menu! So we just ended up ordering the $25 lunch and the wild mushrooms on toast (called “Wild Mushroom Fondue“) as an appy, and that was a perfect portion for us.
We started with the creamy Parsnip Pear Soup, garnished with crispy carrot chips.
At first B. said it just tasted sweet, like my parsnip and pear soup, but then he had a mouthful with the blue cheese and that changed everything. The blue cheese added savouriness, depth and a bit of tanginess to the soup. Usually I don’t like blue cheese, but it really worked here and I would totally add it to my sweeter soups next time.
For our second appetizer, we had the Wild Mushroom “Fondue”, which wasn’t really fondue because they’d done the dipping for us! A variety of cooked local, wild mushrooms were drizzled in a rich Manchego cheese sauce.
We were definitely happy that we ordered this – we loved the flavour and texture of the different mushrooms, and B. liked the Manchego cheese so much that we picked up some of our own.
For our main course, we shared the Wild Mushroom Risotto.
The risotto was OK – it seemed to rely more on cream for its texture as opposed to the starches from the rice. It also had the same flavour profile as the Fondue, with the mushrooms and Manchego cheese. Presentation-wise, I’d say it wasn’t the most appealing looking dish; even a few sprigs of parsley could’ve brightened stuff up a bit.
Finally, for dessert, we had Coconut Panna Cotta served with strawberries and vanilla tuile.
The panna cotta tasted quite light and was not too sweet, a nice way to end a lunch meal where you don’t want to feel stuffed back at your desk at work.
The service was friendly, but a little odd – we were never offered sharing plates except for the Wild Mushroom Fondue, so for most of the lunch, we were eating off of the same plate, which made me feel “punished” for only ordering “one” meal. (I would’ve said something, but I didn’t realize why it felt weird until after we’d left.) I also wished that there was a little more variety on their menu so that I would’ve been motivated to try more, but like I said, I’m glad we ordered the amount we did because it was perfect for lunch. I’d be interested in going back on a regular day for some live music, wine and classic French bistro fare.
811 1 St SW
Calgary AB T2P 7N2
Bistro open Mon 11:30 AM-2 PM; Tues-Fri 11:30 AM-2 PM & 4 PM-Close; Sat 5 PM-Close. Closed Sundays. Cellar open Mon-Fri 4 PM-Close; Sat 7 PM-Close; Sun 6 PM-Close. Happy Hour specials 4-6 PM daily.