Sunday, July 31, 2011

Visible Improvement

Home Tasting Room
110 - 8th Ave S.W.
My first visit to Home at the beginning of the year did not not produce the most favourable review, with flavours and colours lacking in the dishes that I tried. The dishes that I ordered this time around were much more vibrant in colour and significantly more flavourful; But not a "I need to drink a gallon of water because I just ate a spoonful of salt" flavourful. Definitely a step up from the subtle, "blink and you’ll miss it" taste from last time. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The restaurant was literally empty when we arrived. Everyone was seated in the patio. We ordered a few tasting plates to start. I wanted to try the rock lobster ravioli, but unfortunately, they ran out. Crushed, we quickly found a replacement dish. The first to arrive is the albacore tuna Niçoise salad. Originating from the Côte d'Azur, the salad features anchovies and tuna with heirloom tomatoes, fingerling potatoes and pickled asparagus and a perfectly cooked hard boiled egg on the side. The golden yellow egg yolk had just solidified and melted in your mouth. The tuna was seared to a golden brown around the edges, so tasty. The salad is finished off with an olive vinaigrette.

The next dish to arrive was the scallops. Seared to a golden brown, the scallops were served with a cauliflower purée and anchovy paste. The scallops were so succulent and sweet, a nice contrast to the crispy cured bacon. Despite the "just woke up in the morning" look, this was probably one of my favorite dishes of the day.

My single west coast oyster arrived next. Served in a half shelf over a bed of coarse salt, the oyster was firm with a sweet taste. Not quite as tasty as the ones I had in Sydney but considering Calgary is landlocked, this may be the next best thing.

The remaining dishes were brought out for us. The first of which was the high country bison tartare. Slices of baguettes with a truffle aioli spread was arranged like a flower around the jar of tartare spread. The tartare, made with minced raw bison meat and onions, was very flavourful. The dish features an excellent bread to sauce ratio. For a while, I thought I was going to run out of bread. Though, my last piece was smothered with a mountain of delicious tartare. The mushy bison tartare contrasted the tough baguette slices.

The last dish we ordered was the Salt Spring Island mussels. The tasty shellfish were served in a delicious white wine sauce. From the get go, it was quite evident that the two slices of baguette the dish came with was not sufficient to absorb the all the sauce. Despite being really tasty, I was not about to sacrifice the bread from the bison tartare for it.

So what did I think of it the second time?
Atmosphere: 8 out of 10. I had the opportunity to sit back and enjoy my surrounding this time rather than shoveling my food down like I normally do. The interior was quite nice. Gone were the Christmas decorations and replaced with tasteful western trimmings in the spirit of the Stampede (This post is probably 3 weeks old...).
Food: 8.5 out of 10. The dishes were much more flavourful than my previous experience.
Presentation: 8 out of 10. Colourful dishes were presented. Looks much more appetizing (Not that it was bad last time), but the white on white didn't do it for me.
Price: 7 out of 10. Prices are similar to other tapas type places around town.
Service: 6.5 out of 10. Average service.
Overall: 8 out of 10. Signifiant improvements have been made to the dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed the dishes we ordered.

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