Though the wind was generally aggressive, the concrete walled patio seemed to shelter outdoor diners from most of the heavy gusts. Nevertheless, after being windswept on our way into the valley, we opted for the table for two available indoors.
Lots of natural light
As expected the place was packed, and shortly after our arrival a small lineup began to form, with some people opting for take out items to enjoy outdoors. The rush had the servers seeming slightly ragged, but for the most part the three taking care of both indoor and outdoor tables were friendly and let us take our time in the casual space.
I was hoping the 'bacon and eggs' found at other Culina locations would be available, however the shorter menu offered more casual options, many in sandwich form (maybe they just didn't have bacon and eggs the day we went?). In the end I chose the bacon, egg and cheese panini with the house salad ($11) along with a glass of their lemonade ($3.5), whilst Charles, not into cheese or eggs, went for a bowl of the day's soup - tomato broth with bacon and potato ($7) - and a latte.
I think drinks often go unconsidered at brunch; unenjoyable mimosas, watery glasses of orange juice or bitter coffees are often present. But Culina has the drink situation down, with a wide selection of Cally's Teas (like their other locations), French presses, smooth espresso beverages and a glorious lemonade - sparkly, tart and full of fresh mint. Not surprising, our food took a little time to come out, but happily this gave us time to read over the 'Best of Edmonton' in See and check out the 'winners' of the 2011 Golden Fork Awards in Vue.
Our food arrived at the table in sizeable portions, with a large salad atop my plate alongside a hot sandwich. I had enjoyed the salad at the opening back in February, and it lived up to my memories here with dried cherries, quinoa, chickpeas and gouda mixing well with the spinach and Mighty Trio's canola-tamari dressing. My sandwich also hit the spot. The scrambled eggs were soft and full of green onion and cheese, and the smoky bacon was exactly what I was looking forward to as I hopped on my bike that morning. Charles also reported his soup to be perfect for breakfast, with bits of bacon throughout, and buttery slices of sweet potato bread on the side.
Content but feeling like a dessert, we decided to share a slice of the flourless chocolate cake ($6). A dense slice came out quickly and within minutes we had cleared the plate.
The location and atmosphere at Culina Muttart is incredibly enjoyable, and combined with a solid menu and drink list, and the possibility of a post-brunch stroll through the greenery, we can't wait to head back. In February one of the partners with the restaurant suggested that they are working with the City to get the place open for dinner - that's certainly an evening I look forward to.
9626 96A Avenue
Hours: M-F (10am - 5pm) Sa-Su (11am - 5pm)
Reservations for parties of 12 or more only