I recently had the chance to eat at Wildflower Restaurant. While not the first or second choice of the night, full houses all around meant we went where there was seats. Located in the Matrix Hotel, Wildflower is a beautiful room and comes with the much celebrated successes of Nathin Bye. Unfortunately, our party was situated at the back of the restaurant (not certain why as the room was quiet) which gave us little to take in while we ate. The one page menu comes described as – new Canadian cuisine – and offers something for everyone. After ordering, we received two dishes “courtesy of the kitchen”. Bread service was a toasted Brioche that unfortunately had very little taste. I don’t say this very often, but I’m glad there was butter. We were also presented with an amuse-bouche of Deviled Quail Eggs. A strange palate-enticing offering, as the yolk coated our mouths instead of opening it up.
We shared two appetizers; Beef Carpaccio - shallot chipotle jam, arugula, BBQ aioli – and Chicken Liver Pate – pistachio & dried fruits, red currant, mango jam -. I thought the beef lost any chance of being the star of the show with the jam and aioli flavours so strong. A real shame if you ask me. The pate fared better and thankfully in this case, you knew what you were eating. Our mains included; Fresh B.C. Sablefish & Mesquite Grilled Prawn – parmesan orzo risotto, haricot vert, maple herb wine sauce. Mesquite-Grilled Sockeye Salmon Medallions – seared scallops & prawns, root vegetable gnocchi, ice wine emulsion. Peppercorn Herb Crusted Bison Tenderloin - fig & chanterelle bread pudding, butternut squash puree, blackberry sage reduction and Southwestern Smokey Alberta Venison Loin – chipotle cheddar polenta, prairie succotash, mesquite vegetables. The venison side dishes were subbed out for a vegetable pave (think vegetable lasagna). All of the dishes were well prepared but I found each one lacking the home run swing of an amazing dish. Each had little hints; the root vegetable gnocchi in the salmon dish for example, was outstanding. As was the preparation of the sablefish. Other parts though, just average. And seriously, I thought we were done with the $40-$50 dollar plates. The dessert menu didn’t entice any of us, but they kindly threw together a novel birthday dessert sampler.
Wildflower is a beautiful spot, serving decent “expensive” food. However, the food-value and a couple of key service disappointments that I will leave out of this post mean it’s safe to say I won’t return any time soon.