David and I have really wanted to visit Ayden Kitchen and Bar in Saskatoon, and our Easter visit with my family gave us the perfect opportunity.
Ayden is the much-praised restaurant of Dale MacKay of Tope Chef Canada fame, with a centrally located downtown location. I love that he “came back home” to Saskatoon to open a beautiful restaurant that is recognized as one of the top 100 in Canada. As soon as we walked in, we really loved the industrial feel and open concept of the place. I always love to watch the kitchen in action (and in this case, co-chef Nathan Guggenheimer run the show).
This was a treat for us, and I wanted to make it a treat for my parents. We began with a couple of cocktails. Ayden has a creative cocktail list that is a lot of fun to choose from. I had a Pisco Sour (reminds me so much of my South America adventure), and David chose a Refashioned cocktail. Both very tasty!
We wanted to try as much as possible, so we began our meal by sharing two starters at the table. I love the simpleness of the menu – all the food is named after the main ingredient. Beets was a perfect start for us (because we all love beets)! The beets were perfectly roasted and nicely sweet and fresh with dill lemon yogurt, thinly sliced apples and a honey vinaigrette. The pumpernickel crumbs were also fun.
Our next starter was the short ribs that were perfectly cooked (you could tell for a very long time)! Melt in your mouth Korean inspired perfection, with a sunny side up egg to complement every bite.
The main courses were fantastic (as you would expect). For David and I, we actually felt like the sides were the real stars of the show with deep complex and very satisfying “comfort” flavours. I had the Chicken – smoked chicken breast over sauerkraut, with a fantastic side of spaetzle with mushrooms, bacon, cream and nuts.
David had the special of the night – Lamb two ways. His lamb main was perfectly cooked (for him) quite rare, and the risotto with lamb was delicious underneath.
My parents also really liked their meals. My dad chose the Beef, a grilled 10 oz aged silver rib eye with twice baked potato, arugula salad and peppercorn butter. My mom chose the Fish – a baked Diefenbaker trout in a coconut broth with rice, butternut squash and broccoli. Her her, she found it a bit spicy, and she was expecting a white fish (steelhead trout is actually more like salmon). That said, she really enjoyed it.
We ended the night by sharing a wonderfully refreshing Buttermilk pie with raspberry. A perfect end to a fantastic dinner!
If David and I lived in Saskatoon, I imagine we would come and visit Ayden fairly regularly – if not for dinner, for a more casual night out (and a cocktail or two) in the lounge. Ayden is worth all the acclaim!