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Neighbourhood: Osborne
303-99 Osborne St N
Phone: (204) 284-3833
Entrees: $20-$40

(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)

“If I won the lottery, I swear I’d eat at fude every day.”

When one overhears such a bold declaration—made by one diner at a nearby table during a busy Friday night—your expectations are high. The talk was true.

Owner Chris Fougere’s formula—serve traditional dishes reimagined using Manitoba ingredients, sophisticated taste profiles and gorgeous presentation—is a winner.

Since opening in 2002, fude has earned a devout (see above) following. It was also named one of Ciao!’s best new restaurants that year.
Some dishes, from the toadstool puffs to the chocolate chicken, have earned cult-like status and a permanent position on the menu. Manitoba bison and elk ribs, Berkshire pork, pickerel and free-range chicken have remained protein staples since the restaurant’s inception. The sauces and sides, however, have evolved.

Like the beautiful fusion of traditional and modern in the food, the decor is also polished. Pale green walls, contemporary jazz art and dim lighting create a relaxing atmosphere, perfect for date night or gathering with friends. If possible, snag the ultra comfy stretched mesh basket chairs in the lounge. Servers clad in head-to-toe black are ambassadors for Manitoba ingredients, adeptly promoting dishes that feature local food.

Keeping up with trends, appetizers are offered in full or smaller tapas size. Try the catch-of-the-day fish cakes. On one visit, fresh pickerel was a standout. Three petite, two-bite fish cakes zinged with red pepper and a blast of citrus. A refreshing, dime-sized dollop of tangy yogurt nicely complemented the local catch.

The kitchen also puts a dynamic spin on classic bruschetta. Juicy slices of oranges and lemons artfully amplify the tang of aged balsamic vinegar dressing and smooth feta. ‘Toba tomatoes (when available) enhance the fresh factor.

A bounty of fresh fruits appear in the punchy boomerang gorang—a reinterpretation of Indonesia’s nasi goreng (fried rice). Nutty Manitoba wild rice is combined with curried basmati rice, and a complex red pepper, celery, red onion, banana and  coconut milk sauce. Smoky slices of perfectly cooked local free-range chicken are a must-have addition. Each mouthful of this intriguing dish releases a surge of heat while juicy chunks of pineapple, mango, apple,  cinnamon- and nutmeg-spiced rhubarb chutney put out the fire.

Meanwhile, succulent bison ribs are bathed in a sweet and sassy espresso barbeque sauce that heighten the robust, meaty goodness. Beautiful, earthy green fiddleheads, and colourful carrot, beet and turnip curls add an artistic flourish.

With faint char notes, the red and blue Manitoba New York strip kicks taste buds into high gear at first whiff. The buttery-soft texture of this thick, intensely rich steak elicits an eyes-closed moment of ecstasy. Couple that with a spoonful of tangy blue cheese sauce for a smooth, utterly blissful break.

The kitchen’s playful side comes through best in its desserts. The chocolate bombe—with “yum” written in chocolate sauce on the side—offers a touch of whimsy. Yum is also the perfect adjective to describe the explosion of rich flavours. The hard-shelled chocolate cake houses a creamy centre of Callebaut chocolate mousse and ganache spiked with Grand Marnier, making it a masterpiece in chocolate.

Fude is open Tue-Thu 5 pm-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5 pm-midnight.


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