I decided this past weekend to bring back the Sunday supper – to get back into the habit of gathering people I want to spend more time with around the table each Sunday to reconnect. (I never regret spending time eating and visiting with people I love, but often regret not doing so more often.) I want it to become a part of our week. Conveniently, I almost always spend a chunk of my Sundays puttering around the kitchen anyway.
But. This may surprise you – there are some weekends, after a week of cooking and shooting and doing dishes and repeating it all, that I want to go out. Besides, we have some great restaurants in this city that I want to support – especially at a time when everyone seems to be struggling – and a bunch of them offer fixed menu Sunday suppers, served family-style to help facilitate the social aspect of that traditional weekend meal. I love this – it’s like eating at home, only with more interesting food, no dishes to do, and no need to clear the piles of Lego and random papers off the dining room table so we have room to eat.
Brava Bistro was one of the first to start the Sunday supper trend, and had regulars come every week for years; these days restaurants like Model Milk, Open Range, Boxwood and the Nash have followed suit, offering casual three course Sunday menus that change each week – you can check their websites to preview each week’s offering. Besides eliminating the pressure of decision-making, the set menus are always interesting; this past week, Model Milk did British pub fare – black pudding, shrimp toast, fried fish, mushy peas, roast beef, mash, Yorkshire pudding and my favourite dessert ever, Eton mess.
I’ve always loved the Sunday suppers at Boxwood – parking is easy on Sunday nights, the menu varies week to week and always stars local, seasonal ingredients, $35 per person anytime after 5 – no reservations. A recent menu featured fried lamb sweetbreads with tomato aioli, wild boar roast with thyme and juniper, ancho chili boar sausage with a chopped herb salad and saskatoon jam, fire roasted turnips and browned butter, tempura eggplant with black sesame seeds, and an Avonlea cheddar apple pie with vanilla gelato for dessert. (Here I was proud of myself for producing a pot of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner at home.) And! There’s no corkage on Sundays! So you can bring your own bottle of wine! I am just catching on to how much I love this part.
The Nash recently launched their Sunday suppers too – 5-9 pm, $39 per person (half that for kids) for an appetizer, something from the rotisserie and dessert. We went before Christmas with friends and their kids and had a surprisingly civilized evening, with lovely platters of interesting salads, pork chops with chutney and beautiful green beans and creamy, cheesy pasta, wine – and the aforementioned No Dishes.
Other restaurants have come up with different ways to draw diners in on a night when many opt to close, offering unique culinary experiences like cheese fondue night at FARM (Tuesday is their prix fixe dinner – $35 for three courses) and Spanish Sunday at Big Fish, when they cook up enormous pans of traditional seafood paella. I love both of these not only because I’m unlikely to make either at home, but because both are dishes I prefer to leave to the experts. And if you haven’t been, Bistro Rouge is a lovely hidden gem up in Signal Hill where on Sundays kids eat for $5 – they make the classics: burgers, chicken fingers, pasta and grilled cheese, only everything is from scratch. Where else can you feed your kids hand-patted burgers on homemade buns for $5? That’s my kind of happy meal.
All great reasons to resurrect Sunday supper, even when you’re not in the mood to cook.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few great places – have you found some Sunday suppers away from home?
Farm 1006 – 17 Ave SW; 403-245-2276; farm-restaurant.com, @JBFCandFARM
Open Range 1114 Edmonton Trail NE, 403-277-3408, @rangefish
Big Fish, 1112 Edmonton Trail NE, 403-277-3403, @rangefish
Model Milk 308 – 17 Ave SW, 403-265-7343, @ModelMilkBistro
Bistro Rouge, 1919 Sirocco Drive SW, 403-514-0561, @bistrorougeyyc
Boxwood, 340 13 Ave SW, 403-265-4006, @BoxwoodCalgary
The Nash, 925 11th St SE, 403-984-3365, @thenashyyc
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