Address: 330 Assiniboine Park Dr.
Phone: (204) 927-6001
Chef Heiko Duehrsen, formerly of the Gates on Roblin, had the unenviable task of designing a menu for The Park Café that needed to appeal to the broad cross-section of the population that frequents Assiniboine Park and live up to the lofty expectations set upon it by its spectacular location. He succeeded.
Housed in design marvel Qualico Family Centre, the 80-seat café’s most breathtaking feature is its windows. Soaring from floor to vaulted elm ceiling, they let natural light stream in from all directions. Diners could be forgiven for believing they’re still outside. Sitting down at a table feels more like settling into a quiet glade of the Assiniboine forest. Café chairs upholstered in soft green and wood décor conspire to complete the impression of a space in harmony with its environment.
Those who can’t secure one of the café’s seats immediately settle into a modern Tyndall stone fireplace lounge to peruse Chef Duehrsen’s unpretentious menu of down-home, belly-filling fare.
Served all day, the traditional buttermilk pancakes are light, fluffy and so generously poured they nearly eclipse the plate. The lavish topping of tangy hollandaise on the vegetarian eggs Benedict, made from Manitoba Vita Eggs, is balanced by spinach, mushrooms and lightly sautéed onions. Fresh-cut fruit on the side is refreshing. Brunchers will appreciate the thoughtful touch of a hot coffee pot left on the table.
The smoky aroma of the grill is evident in the moist, flaky salmon burger, topped with garden-fresh pea shoots as well as bright, crisp tomato, lettuce and grilled onion. Served as an accompaniment or a dish of its own, crisp Romaine, creamy dressing and a handful of Parmesan make a classic Caesar salad. The golden pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich seduces with its melted Bothwell cheddar, juicy meat and savoury fried onions.
Breaking through the buttery golden-brown crust of the pies, baked by Chocolate Zen Bakery, are fillings such as dark, gooey blueberry. The banana bread pudding is a true star. Thick, meltingly soft wedges baked in house and laced with a rich caramel sauce, the homey aroma is guaranteed to draw envious looks from nearby diners.
The Park Café is open 8 am to 4 pm, seven days a week.