Bringing elevated dining experiences to neighbourhoods outside of the core has been a growing trend over the past year or so in Calgary and it shows no signs of slowing down.
CRMR announced earlier this year that it was transplanting its Ranche concept, moving it a little east to Lake Bonavista into the space that has worn a few different hats in the past as The Newport Grill and Inn on Lake Bonavista.
Moving into the space, the Lake House has changed the room into something a bit more refined and cozy. Large antlered chandeliers line the room while a gigantic crackling fireplace is definitely the main eye candy of the restaurant. The large floor-to-ceiling windows provide views out onto Lake Bonavista, which is chock full of bundled up skaters at this time of year, but will happily reflect many sunsets on the water once the warmer weather is upon us.
The CRMR restaurants have always prided themselves on using high quality game meats and sustainable seafood and the Lake House is no exception, being expertly prepared by longtime chef Thomas Neukom.
To start, The Lake House Fish Plank is a refreshing alternative to the typical restaurant charcuterie (though they have that too), offering up oysters, crab salad, sardines, candied salmon and smoked trout (both done in-house) with a nice mix of olives, pickled onions. Crackers are often a crispy vessel for cured meats and preserves, but ask for an extra serving of the citrus crackers that accompany this platter as they’re unexpectedly addicting.
When it comes to main courses, Chef Neukom embraces beautiful Albertan meats like bison, beef, wild boar and caribou. The German-inspired wild boar dish, served with braised cabbage, herb spatzli and a mustard glaze is comfort at its best. If meat isn’t your cup of tea, vegetarians can cozy up to a big plate of the Artichoke and Sage Brown Butter Risotto that is creamy and rich, finished with warm, toasted walnuts and shaved parmesan.
Wild northern caribou with truffle and chive dumplings, roasted root vegetables, celeriac remoulade and Wild Rose ale jus.
Slow roasted wild boar shoulder with herb spatzli, braised red cabbage, bacon crisp and mustard glaze.
The wine selection here is not quite as extensive as you will find at sister establishments like Cilantro and, of course, Divino, but the simple selection of reds and whites by the group’s wine director, Brad Royale, makes sure that there’s something to match with most palates here.
To finish off, the sweet offerings here include a huckleberry crme brle, sticky toffee pudding and a flourless chocolate cake. Although not quite as comforting as the aforementioned would be on a chilly evening, the hazelnut and chocolate pot de crme, served with a berry compote and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate wafers is pretty hard to say no to.
Hazelnut and chocolate pot de crme with berry compote and chocolate wafers.
Making sure to cover all of its bases, the Lake House also happliy offers a limited afternoon (2 to 5 p.m.) and late night menu on Friday and Saturday nights (10 p.m. to 12 a.m.) if you’re a little peckish between traditional service hours.
On Sunday mornings, the restaurant serves up brunch dishes like a game meat and chorzio hash, strawberry and chocolate beignets and house-smoked salmon eggs Benedict. With our city’s insatiable appetite for breakfast, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that reservations for this Sunday brunch are strongly recommended.
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