Jimmy Ng, the executive chef and partner at Wildflower, is a bit of a time traveller.
The restaurant’s new menu sees Ng show off his French classical training and his style with modern Asian influences. That means you can have an appetizer that’s inventive and daring and a main course that’s so steeped in classic tradition, you might mistakenly feel that you’ve been transported back to an era where you can have a post-meal smoke at the table.
For the summer months, Ng wants the menu to have some light, playful items. Two seafood items are worthy of note; try the lobster brioche roll. The buttery French pastry plays well off the lobster salad that sits atop it. It’s the classic butter-and-lobster combination, but presented in a new way. The brioche is made in-house, too – and partner Richard Lim says it’s something his guests say he can never take off the menu.
But, for the more adventurous palate, the orange-jalapeo dressing that comes with the scallop is wonderful. It starts off sweet, and the heat builds bite after bite. The polenta cubes, crisp on the outside but fluffy within, play so well off the sauce.
And for the main? Go old school with the tournedos Rossini. It’s steak, cooked in lots of butter, topped by foie gras and served atop a biscuit that soaks up the black truffle demi-glaze. It’s a decadent ode to a dish that dates back to the 19th century.
Or, for the modern touch, the miso sea bass is served with a dashi reduction that starts off florally sweet, but finishes with savoury touches. It’s delicate and intricate and delicious.
Ng’s menu shows that he can embrace modern cuisine while still paying respect to the classics. Wildflower’s tagline is “new Canadian cuisine,” but it’s OK to look back sometimes, too. (10009 107 St., 780-990-1938, wildfloweredmonton.com)