Food with an indigenous twist
Winnipeg rightly boasts about its rich cultural diversity, a beautiful tapestry of ethnicities woven peacefully together in the heart of the Canadian prairies. A place people from all over the planet have come to call home. With them has come a wealth of diverse ideas, religions, cultures and – oh, my goodness – the food!
Excellent takes on regional cuisines and specialties from every corner of the globe are readily available in Winnipeg, and along with the joy of discovering something new and untried, occasionally there’s a place where one can re-discover the wonderful richness of the original ingredients of the prairie region itself.
The west end’s Feast Café and Bistro’s menu does that deliciously, exceeding my high expectations today.
The space itself is beautifully decorated. Its high ceilings retain the original tin roof, and a curving bulkhead above the bar fashioned into a kind of film strip picture wall showcases the origins of indigenous ingredients while paying homage to the building’s own roots as the former home of the Ellice Theatre.
It is a clean and welcoming space, with seats that I found surprisingly comfortable.
Happily, my lunch mate and I agreed to share our orders. There were many items we both wanted to try and only so much appetite to spare.
We started with the housemade soup of the day – a rich, creamy potato and bacon affair that came with a fluffy, delicious donut-shaped fried bannock. They were both so ridiculously good I really wanted to re-think that sharing thing.
For our mains, I opted for the signature Feast bannock pizza with pepperoni, smoked bacon and Manitoba grass-fed bison sausage, fully planning to take half of my mate’s ‘Back to Bison Cheddar Burger’. It featured grass-fed bison, Bothwell cheddar, housemade barbeque sauce and the usual fixings.
The pizza was quite good, especially the sausage, but the burger was the star of the meal. It was a bit on the messy side, but while bison can sometimes be dry or flavor-starved, this burger was juicy, flavourful and tasted like more.
As is often the case, I was eyeballing what others had ordered. I would happily have the pizza again, and gleefully enjoy that burger anew, but on my next visit – and there absolutely will be a next visit – I plan to try the “Indian Taco”. They’re fry bread, piled high with fresh salad, cheddar, salsas and vegetarian or bison chili or slow-roasted maple chipotle chicken.
The place is licenced, but we stuck to coffee – which was fresh brewed and from Deluca’s.
I am very sorry to say that neither of us could eat dessert. We took pictures, though. The pies, which again featured locally-sourced ingredients, were very drool-worthy.
So obviously this quaint spot on Ellice Avenue is one that I will visit often. It is clean, bright and relaxing. The staff are courteous, friendly and attentive. Definitely a spot I’d recommend.
The Everyman Gourmet
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