1301 - 16th Avenue NW
Went to the Highwood at SAIT for a 5 course dinner last Wednesday with Steve, Alana, Harley and Andrea. I've heard mostly good things from friends and coworkers so the bar was set pretty high. It was an interesting experience... with proper setting which none of us knew was what. The food was mostly hit and miss. For Andrea, it was mostly misses. Poor girl, ordered all the wrong things. Since the food was cooked and served by students, I suppose it should have been expected. And as a F-log for Thought first, I will be grading each dish.
First up, the appetizers. Steve and I had the Albacore tuna. It was pretty good. The tuna is seared on the outside and served in slices topped with lychee, fresno pepper, cilantro and lemon grass gelee. I have to say the lychee tasted kind of funny. I'm pretty sure they did something to it because it's not suppose to look or taste like that. The texture was really weird. If I was to grade it, it would get a solid B. The presentation was ok. I personally think it would have looked better if the tuna was layered over each other rather than sitting side by side and the "toppings" thrown on top.
I had a small taste of Andrea's appetizer so I'll include a little blurb on that as well. She had the ricotta, spinach terrine. It was... not very good. At all. It had almost no taste to it. Fail. The Thai scented scallop that everyone else got was apparently really good.
Up next was the soup. I had the cauliflower and sweet garlic soup with curry oil. It was really good. The soup was pureed with pieces of cauliflower. The aroma of the curry oil was really strong and the soup was very flavourful. B+. I think the server was a little shaky when he was pouring the soup because there was some spillage. Note the drops of soup on the plate at the bottom.
The salad followed shortly after. I had the beetroot salad. I had envisioned an actual salad, like one with leafy greens WITH beetroot, instead of a salad consisted of only beetroot. That was a shocker. Served in a fancy leaf looking plate, while the other salads came in a regular plate, it looked like it was trying to over compensate for something... The salad was topped with apple shavings, endives and blue cheese. There was no flavour to the beetroot, apples or endives. When you combine it with the blue cheese, the taste overpowers the flavours of everything else. So it's like eating a block of blue cheese and calling it a salad. I didn't think it was very good. I give it a D. I would rank it lower but I don't really like beetroot so it might have affected the taste a little.
For my entree, I had the seared venison. The deer meat was drizzled in a blueberry chocolate sauce. I know. It sounds weird. It wasn't super chocolaty or sweet or anything like that so it was definitely interesting. The meat was a little tougher than that of beef but it was decent. Not too gamey. Maybe it was grain fed? It was a little over cooked for my liking. Not that they even asked how I wanted it done... It came with a brussel sprouts salad (perhaps trying to redeem themselves) and a gouda souffle, neither of which was very spectacular. I'd give this a B-.
Andrea hit rock bottom with the entree. She had the Oyster Mushroom which tasted like an Hawaiian pizza and a cheddar polenta which tasted like a block of plastic. For the longest time, we thought it was a Japanese sweet egg omelet. Until we tasted it. I'm not sure if it was the sauce but there was a weird sour taste to the oyster mushroom... We're still alive and kicking so it must have been alright. Fail.
The desserts was buffet style. Free for all. But by the time we were finished, most of the goodies have already been eaten so we had to make do with what's left. 3 cake choices were available; Mocha, Carrot and Charlotte Royal and a small "assortment" of fruit. No pictures here because it was just a pile of leftover cakes. I had the mocha cake and the Charlotte Royal. I'm pretty sure that is what it's called. It's basically a cake with whipped cream filling and slices of jelly roll cake to form the shell. Neither of the cakes were that spectacular. The mocha cake was very dense, likely from sitting on the counter all night. A solid B. Apparently the carrot cake was really good. Relatively speaking.
The experience was pretty good overall. It definitely had its ups and downs. Highly dependent on whether you have the cream of the crop or the guy who is barely passing cooking your meal. Reservations are a must and call a couple weeks in advance if it is a big group. I would recommend going as early as possible to make sure the dessert choices are still there. And fresh. We went at 7 and was probably one of the last tables to be seated. So I guess the title of this entry is a little misleading because it's not really a feast fit for a king. Unless the king is about to be overthrown by an angry mob.