Michael and I were invited guests to attend Sunday Brunch at Fort Edmonton Park this morning. With a bright blue Alberta sky, a crispiness in the air, I couldn’t think of a nicer thing to do.
Arriving at Fort Edmonton on the off-season is in itself an adventure. YOU GET TO DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE IN THE PARK. It felt naughty, and if you let your imagination get to you, it felt a bit like time travel. Until you see all the other vehicles, then the dream bubble pops.
We arrived inside the hotel and gathered at the bar and was offered coffee. Not long after we were ushered inside the dining room, passing by the overflowing tables of brunchy goodness.
The dining room is spacious with lovely tables for two next to the the window, where we were sat. There are tables that can seat larger groups towards the back of the room, with the middle filled with tables for four. If you have space issues as I do, you will find it is easy to move throughout the restaurant.
The buffet is also laid out quite nicely. At the apex is the lone, patient omelette chef at his station, where he can work two omelettes at a time. Next grouping was the salads, which is adorable. I’m sure there are people who eat salads at brunch. I promised myself this morning that I would have some salad, followed by fruit and be done with it. Alas, my eyes were drawn instead to the baked tomatoes, bacon, sausages, and eggs Benedict. There was also chicken, pasta and salmon. Lastly, just before the seating entrance stood the carving station with another patient, friendly chef along with his large prime rib of beef.
Our protein laden selections were delicious. The bacon, in particular, did not disappoint. Michael and I never cook the stuff at home, so when we eat out, we are always on a quest for the best bacon. We thought this was pretty good. The sausages as well were plump and tasty. A surprise was the baked tomato. I have a life time of disappointing baked tomatoes behind me, and except for some delicious buffet fodder I had in London decades ago, this is the first time I found something comparable. Cooked enough so warm, yet not overcooked to be mush. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese made these sweet and delicious. The chicken was tasty, and the prime rib was everything one could hope for buffet beef.
Michael indulged in an omelette and found it satisfying. He was also all about the potatoes, and sang their praises – crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle, and still served hot.
From the dessert table, a centre piece was this brain-cake. I took a miss on it, but once it was cut, I did an inspection. It seemed to be harmless cake, but there was a rumor it contained bacon. Although I didn’t eat it, I thought it was quite fun and cleverly done.
I did have a selection of fresh fruit and wedge of cheesecake, which I had to slice into a smaller piece. It was a tad bit frozen yet, but once it was plated, it was cool and quite edible at the table. I also tried, for the first time ever, a strawberry dunked in the white chocolate fountain. I had to consider this for a while because I have always been vehemently opposed to the chocolate fountain because they are not at all attractive once people get into them. Today, however, I was the second person in, and was pleasantly surprised at how fun and satisfying it is to smother a strawberry in drippy white chocolate. I promise you, if there weren’t people around I would have filled my empty coffee cup with the stuff.
About coffee. Coffee was abundant and smelled delicious. Michael and I are tea drinkers though and were offered a selection of teas, it seems, once everyone was offered coffee. (Does that sound huffy?)
Now, we were guests of Fort Edmonton, and are grateful to have been given the experience. I don’t like to speak badly of anything, but one thing that we will never let pass by without comment is a bad tea experience because nothing could be simpler to do. Michael and I are all about tea. And what goes with tea? Milk. Fort Edmonton had no milk. Creamers yes. Milk no. We asked and two servers kindly and apologetically responded that there was no milk. I peeked out the window to see how far we were from the barn and, perhaps, a resident cow. Is it a deal breaker? Of course not. But tea is such a simple pleasure and when you are used to it a certain way, anything else pales the experience. What saved the moment was the mimosa. Because if you know me, the second thing I’m about is booze. Even if diluted in orange juice.
Bottom line: Would we go as paying guests? You bet. In fact I have already been looking at our calendar to see when we could round up family members to go as a group. The price is reasonable at $35.95. The food quality is good, and the location unique. Should mention that guests are invited to walk throughout the park, and on a beautiful sunny Sunday, what could be nicer than wandering around in the fresh outdoors enjoying the scenery?
What you need to know:
Accessibility: Those with limited mobility can drive right up to the hotel. Ramps are available to get in the hotel.
Adult/Youth (13 yr old+) $35.95+GST
Seniors (65+) $30.50+GST
Children (4-12) $22.95+GST
Children (Under 4) Free
Brunch Menu Highlights (from today’s experience):
Freshly sliced fruits
Chocolate fountain with strawberries, marshmallows, squares for dipping
A toast station
Freshly baked morning bakeries with cream cheese, butter, and preserves
Market fresh vegetable crudités and dip
Bacon!!!!! and sausage
Roasted/fried potato in wedges and cubes
Roasted seasonal vegetables
Roasted chicken legs and thighs
Carving station with a delicious prime rib roast
Assorted cakes, pies, mousse, and cookies
Chilled juices, freshly brewed regular, decaffeinated coffee and selection of international teas