10359 104 Street NW, Edmonton
A couple weeks ago, I went to Baijiu for the first time with Jenn. We were going to a prescreening at City Centre so it gave me a reason to go since it’s close by. BaiJiu (pronounced “Bye Joe”) according to their website, is a cocktail bar & eatery, which serves Asian-inspired dishes. They are located in the old Mercer building, right beside the arena. As with most places downtown, parking is a bit sparse, and of course, being near the arena, be aware of event nights! They extend the pay-period and price for the metered parking!
We opted to get a couple of cocktails since they have some unique drink offerings. We went with the Sakura Spritz and the Lazy Susanne. For food, we went with the deviled tea eggs, pork and shrimp lion’s head dumplings, pine haven beef carpaccio, char siu pico fried rice, red braised pork bao, and their fried bao ice cream sandwich.
The Sakura spritz is umeshu, grapefruit, cointreau, lemon, rose & hibiscus, and bubbles. It’s nice, light and refreshing. The Lazy Susanne is rhum agricole, don julio blanco, aperol, guava, grapefruit juice, lime, cardamom, bitters, and absinthe. This basically tastes like guava juice. It really took me because I used to drink a lot of it when I was younger. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, so if you like guava juice, this is a good choice.
The deviled tea eggs are soaked in mix is seasoning and black tea, then halved and served with crispy shallots, pickled chillies, togarashi, wasabi, scallion, and sesame seeds. There’s a lot of flavours going on, and they all work together so it’s hard to pin point any particular flavour. Overall pretty tasty though, and worth a try.
The pork and shrimp lions head dumplings are pine haven pork, white shrimp, soy, garlic, cabbage, sesame, served with a ginger-soy dipping sauce. The flavours were pretty good, but one criticism I’d make is that the interior of the dumpling was really dry. Maybe there was too much binding agent, because the texture of it was a bit off.
Our next dish was the pine haven beef carpaccio. One of our favourites of the night. Grass-fed chuck, a sesame sauce, jalapeno ponzu, crispy shallots, scallions, and crispy lotus root. I really liked all of the elements of crunch in this dish. Everything went well together. I could have gone with a bit more lotus root but everything really good! I’d probably order this one again.
The Char Siu Pico Fried rice comes with fried rice, bbq pork, tofu, egg, bean sprouts, 5-spice, hoisin, and topped with a little bit of pico de Gallo. One thing that I really enjoyed about this dish was that it has such a home-made quality to it. It reminded me of a meal that my mom has made when I was younger. There’s a generous amount of char siu, and the pico really gave it a nice contrast and cooling element.
Lastly, we had the red braised pork bao. Also another favourite of the night. I’ve been in search of the best bao-type dish in Edmonton ever since I got back from Japan (Baos are rampant there!). These are pine haven pork, soy mayo, pickled shallots, cabbage and topped with some shaved brussel sprouts. The bao was nice a light, and the pork was really tender and well seasoned. Definitely recommend this! I’d also like to try their other bao too.
For dessert, we got their fried bao ice cream sandwich. They have different house-made ice creams which have different availability. That evening, we opted to get the matcha ice cream. The bao was nice and crispy, and warm. The ice cream was very cold, and I probably could have waited just a few moments for the ice cream to soften a bit from the bao, but it was pretty good. Not too sweet, and very easy to eat. Nice way to cap off the meal.
Overall, I had a decent experience at Baijiu. It’s a bit different from everything else that’s available downtown, so that’s always a nice option. The prices are a bit high, particularly for drinks, so getting a couple could set you back quite a bit. Overall, I’d recommend giving this place a try once, but I don’t really see myself coming back again unless they change some menu items or have something really note-worthy.