Last Monday, Mack and I headed over to the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald to help celebrate the launch of their patio. It had opened for the season on the previous Friday, but they wanted to offer the media and other writers a formal opportunity to have a chance to try their outdoor barbecue menu. And although the skies threatened rain, it held off long enough for us to enjoy one of Edmonton’s most beautiful river valley vantage points.
Mack and I started off with a drink. He chose a Quebec beer by Unibroue, which he liked well enough. I had to try their feature cocktail, the Pimms Cup, perfect given the Queen’s Jubilee celebration was taking place that weekend. Made with Pimms, ginger ale, simple syrup, lime juice and a slice of cucumber, it was a refreshing drink to sip while taking in the view.
In terms of food, it was hard to resist the dozen different appetizers that floated by on platters (most of the dishes we tried that night are available on the Confederation Lounge BBQ menu). We were tantalized by the aromas coming off the grill all evening – it was a good reminder that Mack and I have yet to fire up our own barbecue yet this season.
My favourite bites included the Moroccan-spiced lamb kofta kebab, served on warmed pita bread with feta and a cucumber yogurt sauce. The lamb was moist and so flavourful; I am certain that those who typically shy away from lamb would see the light with this dish.
Moroccan-spiced lamb kofta
The Alberta beef sliders also caught my attention with their whimsical presentation. The Canadian whisky BBQ sauce had been portioned into individual pipettes that not only held the sliders together, but also allowed guests to garnish their own burgers! Although we were told that these mini syringes were special for the event, I am hoping they will reconsider this given how much of a frenzy they caused!
Alberta beef sliders
Mack liked the spicy chipotle and honey-glazed chicken skewers with roasted mango. Chicken satay are a staple at my parents’ house in the summer, so it was an interesting version lightened up with fruit.
Chicken skewers with roasted mango
Mack also enjoyed the chocolate-dipped cheesecake lollipops. With the rising popularity of cake pops, I could see this dessert being requested in lieu of cupcakes at any weddings hosted at the hotel.
The only appetizer that we really didn’t enjoy was the lime and ginger shrimp ceviche. By the time it reached us, it was mottled grey in colour.
Shrimp ceviche with tomato water caesar
We took some time to take in the patio itself. Although it wasn’t quite in full bloom yet, there were many colourful containers to admire, and Chef Andrew Ihasz had planted an herb garden on the deck below the week prior.
In all its glory
Thanks again to the staff of Hotel Macdonald for the invitation, and for their warm hospitality that evening. Although it may not be the patio that is top of mind for most Edmontonians, it should be, with its spectacular views and approachable menu. Make the most of our short patio season and plan to visit this summer!
Confederation Lounge @ Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
10065 100 Street
Monday-Saturday 11am-1am, Sunday 11am-midnight