When Wilfred’s opened a couple of years back, it featured upscale snacks (olive plate, anyone?), cocktails, a grand brunch menu and lots of French-inspired items. And, the walls were covered by a mural that featured dancing bunnies and bears in the French countryside — an homage to the famous decor at Bemelmans Bar in New York City.
But, as restaurants re-opened after months of COVID restrictions on dining, a Wilfred’s 2.0 emerged. The menu has been totally rethought. Made By Marcus, the famed Calgary ice cream maker, now has an outlet inside the restaurant. And the mural… gone. The walls are now white and bright. The new Wilfred’s has gone away from the French country restaurant theme — in its stead are very large burgers, grilled cheese and other sandwiches, all with house-made buns.
We just went through the Edify Burger Challenge, so I wanted something… different. So, I ordered the Maine lobster roll with a side-serving of the roasted tomato soup. Let’s start with that house-made milk bun. It was lightly toasted and downright buttery. “Buttery” is a great word. People should use it more often. The lobster is served with a spicy mayo, radishes and hickory sticks dusted in Old Bay. Now, if you aren’t a fan of Old Bay as a spice, you should be. Basically, it’s a combination of spices, featuring lots of paprika and celery salt, that is basically a must-have in seafood places across the American Atlantic coast. Again, “Maine” lobster roll and Old Bay (originally from Maryland) is pretty far from French cuisine. It’s proof of just how far Wilfred’s has gone in reinventing itself as a restaurant.
The roasted tomato flavour came through really nicely in the soup, served with enough olive oil to make it count. None of this “drizzling,” folks.
Yes, I stopped for ice cream on the way out. The Malted Chocolate Honeycomb, which is my all-time favourite Made By Marcus flavour, was topped by the Sea Salt and Goat Milk Caramel. Wait. After trying the sea salt/caramel combination, I may have a new favourite flavour. Damn you, Marcus, wherever you are.
As for the mural, it can live on in our memories. Or, in this archived article from around the time Wilfred’s first opened its doors.