Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fiddle River, Jasper (Canada) by Bureaucrat

I don't know about you, but when I'm on holidays, one of the 'to do' things at any place I visit is to have a special meal or two. So arriving in the early evening in Jasper (which is located within Jasper National Park), I honed in on Fiddle River, a pan-Europeany-Canadian restaurant that feels like an Irish gastropub.

Fiddle River is a quaint lodge style restaurant, where daily specials are inscribed on a large chalk board which is presented to each table on an easel for their consideration.  It has wooden decor, mood lighting from the candles and views of the Jasper train station (where you can see the Rocky Mountaineer and other trains pass through the town, and if you're lucky, a bear or two on the train tracks scrounging for wheat that has fallen off the cargo trains).

Having placed our order we had some warm bread.

Because the menu looked so good, we decided to get an entree to share.  These delectable crab cakes were oh so good!  Delicate and sweet, you really had to savour it (instead of being a greedy guts and wolfing it down).  It was garnished with deep fried potato matchsticks, mayo and these salty, I-want-some-more, nubbly, soft bits of bacon (the little pinkish bits on the plate) and parsley.

Athabasca glacier, en route to Jasper.

The mains were equally delicious.  All the mains are served w mash and four seasonal vegetables; they're also fairly generous in size and piping hot!  The Lawyer's bison lasagna was made with organic buffalo bolognese, basil and chive pesto, and topped with herbed ratatouille and double smoked cheddar mornay sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Bubbling hot and very hearty.  It was rich and filling and the ratatouille helped lighten the richness of the sauce and cheese.

I ordered the braised elk stroganoff.  Lots of tender chunks of slow braised elk w caramelised onions and smoked paprika.  The cognac demi glaze added a lovely depth of flavour to the dish.  Quite a nice change from a typical beef stroganoff.

We spotted dinner an elk on the highway.

Despite being quite full, we convinced ourselves to try desserts because we were so impressed with the entree and mains. Sadly, the desserts were definitely not as good.

In the case of the Lawyer's vanilla ice cream sundae, the whole was not greater than the sum of the parts.  Bog-standard, supermarket vanilla ice cream with a chalky hot choc sauce and some a few token toasted almonds and whipped cream on top.  For $8, we could have bought a tub of ice cream from the shops and it would have been better.

My creme brulee w toasted almond brittle and whipped cream was slightly better, but that wasn't saying much.  A rather small serve of the custard creme in a tea cup.  The brittle was more like smithereens and the whipped cream didn't add much to the dish.

Food - 9.5 for the entree and mains; 6 for the desserts
Ambiance - 7
Service - 7
Price - 7.5

Except for the desserts, the food here is delicious and perfect for when you're travelling - it's hearty, healthy and full of good proteins and veg.  It's like a great home-cooked meal.

The service is friendly but the food tends to take a wee bit long to come out.  But given that you're up in the mountains, everyone is running on mountain time and you should take the opportunity to slow down and have some slow food.

Fiddle River
620 Connaught Dr
Jasper AB T0E
Telephone: (780) 852-3032

Fiddle River Restaurant‎ on Urbanspoon

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