Jay and I needed to get away from our renovations and enjoy a nice evening out. I’d been to Whitehall once before with a girlfriend, and it was a place that I wanted to take Jay. His first impressions were very positive – he really liked the space and loved how comfortable our chairs were. We were both ogling the ceiling – a side effect of our renovations? The space is so fresh and simple but comfortable.
Service at Whitehall is welcoming and pleasant. We were served the Stilton biscuits coated in sesame seeds to start. Super delish… Jay ate his before I could take the photo. Only thing, is you have to be concerned about getting black sesame seeds in your teeth. We struggled between sharing the beef for two versus getting our own dishes. In the end, we went with our own dishes… Jay ordered the lamb and I ordered the chicken. We also ordered a bottle of Malbec, which at $68 was above my comfort zone, but at the lower end of the prices on the menu.
We were served house baked bread to start – 2 slices of brown, with nuts and raisins, and 2 slices of white. We lathered a whipped butter made with house drippings on the warm bread. I made sure we saved some bread to sop up the cheese sauce from the cheese soufflé we ordered as an appy. I’d had the souffle before and wanted Jay to try it. He quite enjoyed it – said it was like a fluffy omelet with cheese sauce (but really, it’s way better than an omelet!).
Our mains came and Jay thought his lamb was a relatively small serving. I guess I have to agree, but at least it was only $30 rather than $40+ like you’d pay at some other restaurants. As Jay started eating his lamb we realized that he wasn’t asked how he wanted his meat cooked – it was pretty rare. Over the past year, we’ve come to realize that rare lamb is over-rated; when we cook lamb at home we tend to cook it medium-rare or medium (depending on the cut). We find that there’s more flavour in lamb that’s cooked a bit more, and it’s not so chewy. The flavours in the lamb dish were excellent, and Jay did enjoy it.
I thought my chicken dish was good value for the money ($32), even though as served, with the 2 little grilled lettuce leaves, it did look kind of skimpy. The piece of chicken was a fair size, and once I dumped the little dish of spaetzle onto my plate, I had even more chicken! At the bottom of the little Staub pot was a mushroom gravy with small pieces of dark chicken meat. I wasn’t told about the gravy on the bottom when the food was delivered to our table so I’m glad that I dumped the spaetzle just to make it easier to eat. I quite liked the chicken dish and would recommend it.
We were both pretty full (on account of the bread I think), but still went for desserts. Jay chose the Elderflower, which turned out to be a light, fruity, creamy dessert. It was really quite delicious. Jay was concerned when the server said there was coconut in it (he dislikes coconut), but clarified it was just coconut milk and Jay quite enjoyed it.
I had the Caramel Popcorn. This was probably the weirdest dessert that I’ve ever had in my life, but it was damned good. At the base of the dish sat caramel popcorn, layered with rice pudding, caramel, a fancy whipped cream, and a puffed popcorn thing on top. It was the texture of bacon puffs, or Asian shrimp puffs, but tasted like popcorn… The dessert could use some color or a squirt of caramel or chocolate sauce across the top, because it honestly didn’t look that appealing. If you like caramel popcorn and can think outside the box, you should give this odd dessert a shot!
All in all, I really like Whitehall. I haven’t had anything that I haven’t enjoyed, and I think the prices of the food are fair for Calgary. I wish there were a few more bottles of wine under $60 though.