Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wild Tangerine Restaurant, Edmonton

“Unexpected, Playful Harmony”

So many restaurants rely on large servings or traditional menus to attract customers. Not Wild Tangerine. Their menu is subtle, creative and full of surprises – as well as being absolutely delicious. It’s a feast for the mind as well as the senses.

Perhaps the first hint that this is not your typical restaurant comes when you see the scooter parked by the front door. Enter the restaurant and you find modern furnishings and a blend of orange, brown and white that is surprisingly restful. I was at the restaurant on a quiet night and really enjoyed the mix of vocal music playing in the background.

The food is creative and unique, and there were several options for vegetarians. I tried the lemongrass-thai basil lentils with portobello mushroom, and it was both healthy and exotic. The flavours and textures were subtle and harmonious. The light, slightly citrus flavour of the lentil broth was balanced by the chewy, rich flavour of the mushroom.

It was really difficult to choose a dessert as all the options were intriguing. In the end, I chose the warm gingered bread pudding with banana ice cream. There were tiny chunks of fresh banana in the ice cream. The bread pudding was comfort food at its best, spiced with cardamom and ginger and topped with crunchy caramel. The chunks of watermelon provided a colourful highlight and cooled the mouth.

I don’t usually wax quite this poetic over food. But eating at Wild Tangerine was an intellectual exercise as well as a sensory pleasure. Chef Judy Wu’s cooking marries Asian philosophies and flavours with traditional western cuisine. She balances the flavours, colours and textures of each dish.

And there’s a healthy dose of fun thrown into the mix. The couple eating prickly shrimp lollipops were advised to lean well forward so as not to drip on their clothes.
Owner Wilson Wu says that the word “commonsense” doesn’t exist in the Chinese language. Instead, the Chinese use the word “harmony.” And Wild Tangerine is the perfect spot to experience harmony.

Wild Tangerine is a member of Original Fare, a “select group of independent [Edmonton] restaurants committed to promoting, protecting and preserving culinary diversity.”

Wild Tangerine is located at 10383 112 Street NW in downtown Edmonton. They are open for both lunch and dinner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

U R making me hungry