I’ve been trying this thing lately, where if I visit a new(ish) restaurant, I want to try to visit at least twice before I put up a blog post about it.
This way, it gives me a more well-rounded experience, it gives the restaurant a second chance (if they need it, to work out those new(ish) kinks), and it gives me a chance to try as much of the menu as I possibly can, for better photos and ultimately a better review for visitors to this blog!
Not saying I do, have been able to do, or will be able to do this for every restaurant, but it’s something I’ve at the very least been more mindful of lately.
With that preamble in mind, today’s review is about Bündok Edmonton, a wonderful restaurant with plates as pretty as they are delicious.
Bündok is located at 10228 104 Street, on the west side of the promenade, and potentially missable because it doesn’t have any large exterior signage, just a simple decal on the door.
As I start to recommend Bündok to more people, the question I keep getting asked is: “what kind of food is it?” Great question guys. This is how they describe the restaurant and its offerings on their website:
Boondocks: an expression derived from the word bundok, meaning a rural place or off the beaten path.
Bündok: an inviting neighbourhood restaurant, located in Ice District of Edmonton, Alberta, with intentions of celebrating the people and food of the community. The process of transferring boondocks into bündok is synonymous with our thought process of involving the history of ingredients and region into our own vision.
Feel free to go with my description instead:
Bündok is a hip new place in the heart of downtown Edmonton, serving up delicious, thoughtfully-created (chef-driven), beautifully plated food.
That description still doesn’t quite do it for someone like Mike (my husband, and my barometer for the typical Edmonton diner), so this is how I described it to him:
Bündok is a nice place with really pretty and tasty food. There’s meat, seafood, and vegetable options. It’s fancier feeling, and the seasonal menu feels elevated, so it’s slightly pricier, but nothing too crazy, and the food is filling. They also have brunch and a solid wine and cocktail menu!
The restaurant, which opened earlier this year to deservedly rave reviews, had been on my radar to try for quite some time. I finally got around to visiting twice in the last few weeks, for brunch and lunch.
Let’s start with the lunch review, because I found it most delicious of my two visits.
The menu at Bündok may change depending on ingredient availability. Their lunch and dinner menu also isn’t broken into your usual appetizer/entree split. Most of the dishes at Bündok would be defined as ‘small plates’ (though there are a few larger options).
The best way I would recommend dining at Bündok is by sharing dishes with your partner or group.
When I went for lunch with my pals Chris and Vanessa, we shared four dishes among the three of us, which left us feeling perfectly full and satisfied.
We tried the grilled sirloin tartine with brocomole and grilled broccoli ($15), the sage sausage with celery root, apple, brussels, and brown butter vinaigrette ($15), the roasted cauliflower with capers, breadcrumbs, and creme fraiche (large portion for $15 but you can also get a small size for $9) and the gnocchi parisienne with sprouts and squash. ($21).
I say with absolutely no hesitation, that the roasted cauliflower, gnocchi, and sirloin tartine are impeccable dishes, and must-orders. The textures, the flavours, the presentation, all perfect.
These are ultra satisfying dishes.
The gnocchi in particular has me debating whether it’s better than what to date has been what I considered the very best gnocchi in the city at the ridiculously good Uccellino. A bold comment left on my Instagram post about the gnocchi even says it’s “easily in the top 5 best dishes in the city” which I’ve also been mulling over (it’s that good).
The sage sausage, while good, was our table’s least favourite of the four dishes we tried during this visit.
There was just something less magical about it – the different components and flavours didn’t excite my tastebuds in the same way the others did, so likely not something I’d get again (simply because there’s so many other solid offerings to choose from!)
With a glass of wine, a cocktail, and our four dishes, our lunch bill worked out to about $33 a person. So, as mentioned, a little on the pricier side but, we were totally pleased with the filling and delicious meal.
Bündok’s brunch menu offers some bistro fare (featuring selected dishes from their lunch/dinner menu) as well as some of your more typical brunch/breakfast fare.
There aren’t a lot of brunch choices here, so if you’re looking or an expansive brunch menu to choose from, I wouldn’t say Bündok would do that for you.
I think they’re aware though that the slim brunch options would’t work if it was the only thing on the brunch menu which is nice that the rest of the menu is filled out with the bistro fare options. When we went for brunch, I ended up ordering the bistro fare while Mike and our friends Thom and Alicia ordered brunch.
One important thing to note about Bündok’s brunch is that it’s only available on Saturdays (sad faces all around). This, I can only assume was done strategically to try and capture crowds from the summer’s Street City Market (which took place along 104 Street on Saturdays and has since moved inside City Hall for the winter).
But definitely something that I think all brunch-serving restaurants in the city should reconsider (I was heartbroken one Saturday many months ago when I realized XIX Nineteen only served brunch one day of the weekend too – on Sundays lol).
Anywhooooo, for our brunch, Mike tried the french toast strata with whipped cream and maple syrup with bacon ($17). Without the bacon this dish is $12. Both Thom and Alicia had the ham eggs benedict on biscuits, with hollandaise ($17 each).
My bistro fare included chicken skin with honey mustard and thyme ($8), sea bream crudo with cilantro, chilli oil, apple and citrus ($16), and chicken liver tartine with pear jam and coarse salt ($12).
I think Bündok excels with their bistro fare.
The chicken liver tartine was delicious, and a solid portion size for the $12 price point. The sea beam crudo (raw fish) was unbelievably delicious, and lands in my “must orders” if you’re visiting this restaurant. So light, so bright, seasoned just right! The chicken skin was larger than I was expecting, and the dollops of mustard (heh, any excuse to write dollop) worked well with the crispy skin.
Overall, brunch was solid at Bündok but my brunch group was definitely not as wow-ed by Bündok’s brunch as my lunch group was with their lunch. However, the fact that you can also order some of the solid bistro fare on their brunch menu is great.
I haven’t been to dinner yet at Bündok but according to the menu online, it includes everything available at lunch, with several other dinner-only options. (You won’t find the sea bream crudo on the lunch menu but it is available for dinner!)
Overall, my experiences at Bündok have been wonderful. Lunch was definitely the more magical meal, but brunch was still solid – and with the inclusion of some lunch options, makes it a great menu.
A meal at Bündok does net out on the higher end, but the food is so fresh, so expertly created, so delicious and beautiful, that it’s worth it. While it is slightly pricier, it’s not the type of place you could only visit for occasions, no no.
Bündok should most certainly be on your list of regular, must-visit and must-recommend restaurants in Edmonton.
I’ve had wonderful service during my visits to Bündok. The lighting in the room is great if you sit by the entrance (lots of natural, window light seeping in for photos!) at least for lunch and brunch, though I imagine dinner would be pretty dark.
Overall, the food is just damn good. You’ve got to give this place a try.
So, have you been to Bündok? What did you think??
Wednesday – Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to Late
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.