This past Saturday, Zed and I decided to take my Nanny (Grandma) for lunch at The Arbour Restaurant.
Zed nor I had ever been into the 98 year old mansion, although I have spent many days sitting in the Hub Mall-Humanities ped-way, staring at the red brick loveliness and longing for tea. My Nanny, it turned out, had been to the restaurant about 10 years prior, and when we arrived in the dining room she commented that it had not changed at all.
Our reservation had been made for 1:15 that afternoon, and as we arrived awhile before our reservation we were invited to sit in the library at the front of the house to wait for our table. As my stomach began to growl we were shown to our table next to the window of the sun room. Although the room warmed up once more patrons entered (and once we obtained a pot of tea), the -30 chill had squeezed its way through the very old windows, providing an uncomfortable draft during the first bit of our visit. If we were to return in the winter again, I would probably make an attempt to request a table in the other room.
We began our lunch with a few pots of tea: Zed chose the Earl Grey, while my Nanny and I shared a pot of The Rutherford House Blend, an Earl Grey with hints of Jasmine. The tea was lovely, and we really did enjoy The House blend. Although I neglected to pick up a package that day, The House blend as well as The Rutherford Rose teas are available for purchase downstairs in the gift shop.
Our mains included the The Chancellor's Chili for Zed, the Turkey Pot Pie for my Nanny and the Roasted Vegetable Strudel for me, along with the "Soup of the Moment," a Tomato and Cheddar Cheese. We sipped our cups of tea and waited for our meals for a good time, however when they did arrive it was well worth the wait.
Zed's Chili was full of beef and vegetables, and was thick and warming on the very cold day. My Nanny's Turkey Pot Pie looked divine: baked in what I will always think of as a French Onion Soup bowl and topped with a crispy layer of puff pastry, she thoroughly enjoyed the time old classic. The Vegetable Strudel was also lovely. A generous amount of green pepper, egg plant, zucchini, onion and mushroom was cradled in a boat shaped square of puff pastry, with the perfect amount of goat cheese crumbled over its top.
As we refilled our tea pots, we decided to order some dessert. Zed chose a Chocolate Mousse, which had taken over the spot that day for the Pot de Creme. While I would have stolen more of the Pot de Creme, the Mousse was light and airy, and definitely full of chocolate. Plenty full after our entrees, my Nanny and I opted to share a helping of the Bread Pudding. We both enjoyed this immensely: full of raisins and served over a warm pool of a caramel style sauce, it was perfect with our final cup of tea.
We were all surprisingly pleased with our meals, and all agreed we would have to head back soon, maybe to try the high tea (something that greatly intrigued my English Nanny... along with their offering of a glass of Sherry with afternoon tea). And for my part, I've decided that instead of staring out of a window, the odd cup of tea (and maybe a scone with raspberry butter) will accompany this semester's studies perfectly.
The Arbour Restaurant at Rutherford House
11153 Saskatchewan Drive, University of Alberta Campus
Lunch and High Tea from 11am - 3pm; tea plates and dessert until 4pm (reservations are highly recommended)