Yellow Door Bistro Media Opening (And GIVEAWAY!)
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
The dust has finally settled after what appears to be yet another successful 10-day run of Big Taste Calgary. B. and I were only able to make it out to two restaurants – and just for lunch, no less – but from the looks of my Instagram and Twitter feeds it looks like some people were out every night!
The week kicked off for me at Yellow Door Bistro, where I was part of a fortunate few who were treated to a free sit-down dinner before the doors opened wide for a media/industry opening party. It was great to have the chance to actually see and taste some of the actual items offered on the menu.
It was a long time in the making, but Yellow Door replaces St. Germain as the main restaurant at Hotel Arts. I’d only been to St. Germain once, so could only vaguely remember what it was like – while the general layout of the restaurant is the similar, the decor has been completely revamped. Sleek, modern accents in white, black and gold contrast with rustic pieces like the shutters that adorn two walls of the restaurant.
Executive Chef Duncan Ly, who also heads up Raw Bar at Hotel Arts and Chef’s Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn has created a menu that on first glance looks like classic French dishes, but he has brought them up to the next level by sourcing local ingredients and incorporating some molecular gastronomy techniques.
For our meal, we started things off with a generous portion of Lobster Bisque with Foie Gras Cream ($10) as an “amuse”.
The Lobster Bisque was smooth and creamy, with delicious little morsels of lobster in it. The foie gras cream added a touch of richness, but overall the soup didn’t taste heavy at all. However, because I tend to like my food not too salty, this was pushing my limits a little on that front. My mom is always on the hunt for good lobster bisque, so I would take her to Yellow Door just to try this.
I was wowed by how beautiful our first course of Warm Heirloom Carrot, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad ($12) looked.
The plate was so colourful and beautifully presented; I was also impressed by how similar all the plates on the table looked. The carrots and beets were roasted until just tender, letting their natural earthy sweetness shine through. The tangy citrus cardamom dressing and goat cheese created a nice flavour contrast. I was a little bit curious about the foam – I had tasted a little dab of it and couldn’t quite place my finger on what it was until we found out later that it was goat’s milk. Of course! The foam had an earthy richness to it, but did not have the distinctive goat’s milk taste.
Our main course was a decadent Noble Farms Duck Cassoulet ($26). The dish had duck two ways – leg confit and sous-vide duck breast – on a bed of buttery white beans. As if that was not enough, the cassoulet was also topped with a large block of crispy pork belly and a piece of pork cracklin.
This was so rich – the duck was tender and juicy, the pork belly had nice crisped skin while the fat simply melted in your mouth and the beans were soft and buttery. Again, this pushed my saltiness limits a little bit but I would totally order this dish again.
We finished the meal with a trio of desserts prepared by pastry chef Karine Moulin. In the trio was an île flottante (it literally translates to “floating island”, but I also heard it being referred to as “floating cloud” or “caramel cream” that evening), Valrhona chocolate fondant topped with cocoa nibs ice cream and a lemon tart with lavender meringue with a side of homemade pomegranate sorbet.
The lemon tart was nice and tangy, with the filling fresh and runny like an egg yolk. The tiny chocolate fondant had a warm, melty centre and I also discovered that it was topped with beautiful edible pearls. Finally, the île flottante had a nice vanilla and caramel flavour, but I was so full at that point I couldn’t finish it.
But that wasn’t all (!) After the dinner we were all presented with a beautiful Le Creuset mini cocotte in (what else?) yellow. Hotel Arts Director of Business Development Fraser Abbott explained that every morning at the breakfast buffet the specials are served in one of those cocottes. Each of the cocottes came with a recipe for Chef Ly’s Duck Confit Hash – perhaps I should go try the real thing before trying my hand at it!
Inside the pot, there is also a gift for you!
Yellow Door Bistro
119 12 Ave SW
Calgary AB T2R 0G8
Open Mon-Thu 6:30 AM-10 PM; Fri-Sat 6:30 AM-11 PM. Closed Sundays.