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Saturday, 6 April 2013

New Menu on the Block at Roast Coffee House

If only Edmonton's warehouse district had more warehouses. Something about these venerable structures just lives and breathes history. Indeed, these brick and mortar sentinels of days past have run the gamut from being utilitarian repositories of all things animal, vegetable and mineral, to forgotten mausoleums relegated to deterioration and demolition or, for the lucky few, resurrection and reincorporation into the city's urbanesque landscape.


The latter fate, fortunately, befell the downtown Mercer Warehouse. This impressive edifice is home to the Mercer Tavern and Roast Coffeehouse, as well as other non-food-related entities.  Roast recently launched a new menu in conjunction with Chef Andrew Parker. This new carte features a thoughtful and concise roster of nibbles intended to accompany one of many vintages present on Roast's wine list, or a salted caramel latte, if one so desires.


A salad of watermelon, feta and basil leaves joyously vacillates between the watery, summery crunch of melon and the relaxed, salty whispers of cheese. Toasted pine nuts comprise crispy interjections, while precise strips of basil impart notes of licorice and earth. A balsamic drizzle neither drowns nor besmirches this dish but, rather, serves as an elegant foil to the abundance of fruit and dairy.


Tuna tartare is a curious juxtaposition of fish and chips. The tartare itself is a toothsome mash of minced tuna and seductively unctuous avocado with just a wee hint of wasabi, but a sidecar of tortilla chips seems contradictory. Would not some artisan - and I am loathe to use this horrendously overused and abused word - crackers, rice crisps or even toasted slices of baguette better perform in this role? 

This new menu on the block, based on a mere sample size of two, bodes well for Roast's departure from the cookies and muffins (not that there is anything wrong with those) typically flogged by coffee shops. Perhaps future additions to this menu might include retro-chic nods to the Mercer Building's proletarian warehouse past? Devils on horseback, perchance?


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