(This restaurant is now *CLOSED* 2019)
10184 104 Street NW, Edmonton, AB
Updated post! Went for my birthday dinner last weekend. We tried to go to Uccelino but our reservations accidentally got cancelled by the restaurant. That’s okay! It was a happy mistake that led up to a very memorable, and delicious meal at Aarde (I did go back to Uccelino the next week to try it and it was excellent too!). Aarde is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with Dutch influence. Located on 104th street, Chef Guru tries to source as much of his ingredients from 104th street market during the summer and as many local vendors as possible to make his dishes. Aarde means “earth” in Dutch, a it tries use many local ingredients as possible. Being downtown, parking can be a bit scarce, and event nights are always a pain. It’s really easily accessible by LRT so if you can, that’s what I’d recommend unless you don’t mind walking or looking for parking.
The Crispy Cauliflower was one of my favourite dishes. It had a really nice texture, nice and crispy and very pleasant to eat. I usually don’t order too many vegetarian dishes but this one is really good and easy to share.
The charred broccoli is served with gouda cheeese, topped with truffle oil, and served on a soft bed of yellow chimichurri. Overall a very good dish as well.
The celery root was another one of my favourite dishes. It comes with green peas, pesto, zucchini, nuts, and sunchokes. Really beautiful plating. The vegetables are from another local vendor, My Prairie Gardens.
Things are a bit hazy regarding these chick peas. Complimentary? I don’t need them on the menu, so I am unsure. They were light and crispy and we just kind of nibbled on these in between our dishes. Nice little bites.
Next, the rotisserie chicken is done in a small rotisserie. Due to the size, Chef Guru will have seasonal/daily rotisserie options on the menu. The chicken was incredibly tender and delicious. The chicken is provided by Sunwork farms.
The confit leeks and tomato are stuffed with dates, ricotta, mustard, and topped with leek oil vinaigrette. Served with a shoot salad, and confit heirloom tomatoes. Really good! I really enjoyed the ricotta in this dish. Overall very pleasant and refreshing.
The bacalao fritter is battered icelandic cod served with ricotta yogurt, yellow beet aioli, dry mango powder. This was really lightly fried, crispy, and delicious. Really liked the aioli!
The charbroiled chicken is chicken thighs, lemon garlic glazuur, served on a chickpea buttermilk sauce with charred lemon. I really liked the smoky flavour. The checkpeak buttermilk sauce went well with the chicken. Very balanced and delicious.
The Beef ribs were cooked perfectly tender and the flavours were really good. The green pepper corn sauce was very cold and really cooled down the beef ribs. Overall, this dish was tasty but I think it could have been executed a little bit better.
The roasted butternut squash comes with pistachios, beet souffle, gremolata, crispy leeks, lemon garlic leek oil and pickled onions. This dish had a lot of complimentary flavours and was pretty enjoyable to eat. Given their other vegetarian dishes however, I think I would order other things if I went again.
The cheese board comes with cheese from Ontario. It’s soaked in wine and gives the ring a really nice red-purple colour. The flavours from the wine permeated throughout and it was quite good. It came with a plum chutney and it was very light to eat.
The duck and cornbread skillet comes with confit duck leg, corn bread, coffe jus, apple mostarda, and mustard from Mewlys. My least favourite of the meat mains that we had. Just not my personal favourite. I found the cornbread to be a bit dry, there wasn’t much duck, and the flavours didn’t really appeal to me. I preferred the other duck dish much more.
The duck breast comes with mushroom fricasee, brown butter, lentil fritters, and a duck fat demi. The duck breast was perfectly medium rare. Very tender and delicious. Would definitely order this again!
The beef meatballs are made with Alberta beef, served with a ricotta yogurt sauce, mace, herb pesto, and with foccacia. Really tender and juicy meatballs, and the sauce was quite good. Overall really pleasant and good to eat.
My favourite dish of the night would have to be the mushroom and artichoke tartine. It was absolutely delicious. It is seldom where my favourite dish ends up being a vegetarian one but this one dish really set itself a part from the rest of the dishes. It had a great texture, and amazing complimentary flavours. The mushroom gives it a good umami/savoury flavour and everything works well together.
The roasted potatoes are seasonal baby potatoes, chili oil, arugula butter, and harissa. Overall this was a tasty dish, but I found it a bit single noted. The dish did not leave me wanting to eat more. I think I would prefer to order other vegetable dishes.
Lastly, dessert. We got the chocolate tart and the Dutch Almond cake. The chocolate from the tart is supplied by Jacek which is just a few doors down from Aarde. Topped with pistachio meringue, chocolate ganache, and micro mint, this dessert was a really good way to end the night. My favourite of the two desserts would have to be the almond cake. It wasn’t too sweet, and the avocado gelato that it’s served with is really good! I really like the contrasting flavours and textures in the almond cake dessert.
I’ve had multiple meals at Aarde and they’ve all been quite good. I definitely recommend giving Aarde a visit. Another great addition to 104th street and to downtown overall. The highlights for the night for me would be the mushroom and artichoke tartine and the crispy cauliflower. We did try over a dozen different dishes and I have some favourites on the menu over other items but overall, everything was quite delicious.