Raw Almond 2015

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Winnipeg is getting quite a name for itself and I am NOT referring to a recent McLean’s article. The Toronto Star and the New York Times cite our fair city as the coolest place to dine.  They are referring to Raw Almond, the pop-up restaurant which appears each year on the frozen river at the Forks.

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We arrived at The Forks just as the sun was setting on the city.

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Our first peak inside.

The diners for the evening accumulated outside and provided us all with an opportunity to view the “pop up”.  If you intend to go next year, as this year’s dinner sittings are completely sold out- check the forecast. The evening we dined, was a balmy one and we were absolutely toasty inside the fascinating architectural “tent”. In fact, one person at our table who was seated right in front of a warm air vent was sleeveless!

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Three communal tables are hosted by three local chefs each evening.  Chef Mitchell of Deseo’s Bistro was the artiste for Table #3 where we sat.

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We began with a Foie Gras torchon which melted in our mouths like the creamiest butter.

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Next up was a mini steamed bun that contained an escalope of fried chicken enhanced by an oyster mayonnaise and caviar.

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Beef tartare was served with cardamom yoghurt and warm Ethiopian injera. Each course provided a whole spectrum of flavours concocted by our brilliant young chef. Fellow diners must have been thinking, how is he going to top this course? And then he would.

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Crispy veal sweetbreads and Albacore tuna in a butter chicken sauce arrived next. We thought it impossible that we were eating fish because no piece required chewing; it simply melted on our tongues.

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The beef short rib was absolutely sensational. Chef Mitchell professed to have Ukrainian roots and the entrée was his homage to both Beef & Barley Soup and Borscht. The exquisite beef came away perfectly with the tongs of a fork so that it could be speared with the barley risotto that it was perched upon and the toasted barley that it had been crowned with. The best part was swirling a forkful around in the divine borscht influenced elements of carrot puree, crème fraiche, fresh dill and jewels of pickled beet.

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We were not done yet. Mitchell also confessed to a sweet tooth and treated us to his slow-cooked chocolate espresso pudding made crunchy with a sprinkling of crispy rice and toasted hazelnuts, made salty by a swirl of salted caramel sauce and made silky by a drizzling of olive oil.

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The food was astonishing in itself and made more so, when you got a glimpse of the three chefs and their teams, together in the make-shift kitchen.

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The other two tables were still finishing off their dessert course as we made our way back through the Forks and home.

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A small group had accumulated for the middle sitting at 7:30.

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Inside one of the warming huts.

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Even if the food had not been top notch, the entire experience is such an adventure, prompting suburbanites like us to enjoy the heart of our city at the Forks. The pop up structure is an architectural delight as were the other warming huts that we had a chance to poke our heads into. Skaters were enjoying the balmy weather and more than once, we wondered what city we were in.

Kath’s quote: The word “enough” does not exist for water, fire and women. –Ukrainian proverb.

snow heartLive simply, laugh often, love deeply.


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posted under Restaurant Features
2 Comments to

“Raw Almond 2015”

  1. Avatar February 5th, 2015 at 8:05 pm Alison Beyer Says:

    Hi Kathryne,

    I’ve read your blog on the regular – usually to get your take on a restaurant in the city before I visit it. This post re Raw:Almond makes me so excited to visit the “restaurant” this coming week.

    I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for your great writing and show you my newish blog, fro one winnipeg foodie blogger to another, I would love if you would check it out – http://prairiekitchendigest.blogspot.ca I’ve been working hard to build it up with prairie inspired recipes, using locally sourced ingredients. Hope you have a chance to check it out, and enjoy!


  2. Avatar February 5th, 2015 at 9:34 pm Kathryne Says:

    Lovely to meet you and I will be sure to check your blog out.


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