How gratifying that pub grub in Edmonton has evolved considerably beyond oil-soaked fish and chips, questionable burgers and morosely ubiquitous wings. Indeed, the profferings of a great many Edmonton pubs goes far beyond these lazy staples. Case in point: Social Modern Pub, which is tucked away behind Grant Mac university. Marlow Moo and I were invited there one night. To say that we went in blind would be an understatement and our first impression was that it was a rather noisy room crowded with (on this particular evening) singles on a speed-dating adventure.
Ian, the impressively enthusiastic owner and host, suggests that we begin with Bacon-Wrapped Bacon. This succulent appetizer is a veritable pig's worth of bacon. Bacon bacon is wrapped with rashers of side bacon, drizzled with maple syrup and caramelized until sticky and savoury. The flavour is ridiculously good, but I wish the pieces were smaller, so that the bacon exterior was crispier.
Sweet potato fries arrive with a sidecar of spicy aioli. Sweet potato fries, in the wrong hands, have a propensity to be squishy and soggy. Mercifully, these are not, and we can scarcely keep from emptying the plate.
I dive into a Chicken Italiano sandwich and am smitten with a studious combination of pesto, bocconcini, proscuitto and tender chicken. Each component plays nicely off each other and presents as complimentary, but not complicated.
Moo's platter of Fettucini Alfredo is crowned with a jumble of bourbon chicken. Though alfredo sauce and bourbon are not quite intuitive partners, here they happily share quarters. The fettucini noodles are nicely al dente, but the sauce could be amped up a bit with some wine or salt. Altogether, it is a satisfying meal that surprised us with its care of preparation. Quite clearly, one should toss all preconceived notions of how pub grub should be.