Hannah and I were excited to try Brasserie Kensington last week after we’d both heard great things about it (plus you may have heard that I’m super into brasseries). It was a drizzly evening, so the cozy vibes of this relaxed venue were perfect for ducking out of the rain. To set the scene for you, think antlers along the ceiling beams, a taxidermied boar’s head next to the features menu and a stone fireplace across from the bar.
It was tough to decide what to order when even the drink menu was packed with great options. There were lots of great Canadian and imported beers to choose from and their draft choices were exclusively Albertan. That said, I was a little disappointed to see so few Canadian wines on their list (and no wines from BC!), particularly for a restaurant that seems focused on local ingredients.
We were both craving burgers, which was a huge help in limiting our selection on this tantalizing menu. Hannah opted for the veggie burger ($17) made with wild rice, lentils and mushrooms.
You can see in this closer shot that the texture and char on this patty were impressive and meat-like! It was served on a big, beautiful bun with melted gruyere, fresh tomatoes and cucumber as well as lemon and garlic aioli. Hannah loved the flavour of the patty, but found that it was quite crumbly and eventually had to switch to a knife and fork. The gruyere did its best to hold everything together and it managed to hang in there for the first half of the burger, proving once again that cheese is the real MVP! Hannah also had pommes frites on the side with a zingy, acidic house ketchup that she quite enjoyed. The fries were crispy, but a little too salty for her taste.
I went in the opposite direction and ordered the beef brisket burger ($17). Because the beef is ground fresh in-house, you can order it however you like – I went with medium well. It came out with a gooey layer of cheese curds, tomato, lettuce, pickles, whole grain mustard and a roasted garlic aioli. Oh my goodness. When I have a messy sandwich or burger, I end up eating really quickly because I don’t want to put it down in a soggy mess on my plate… let me just say, this burger was eaten in record time. So delicious and worth the shower I took later so I wouldn’t go to bed smelling like mustard and beef.
I added French onion soup on the side (for an extra $6). The duck broth was dark and rich, the thick layer of melted gruyere was so creamy and dense and the buttery crostini on top was soaked with fatty broth and onion flavour. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. I have to stop.
Brasserie Kensington (1131 Kensington Rd NW) has a very cool, relaxed vibe for a place that serves such high quality French-inspired cuisine. I’d love to come here with a few friends for late night drinks and appies or book a romantic dinner with scallops, steak and a bottle of wine. Lunchtime sandwiches and people-watching through their huge front windows would be great too! Fresh, appetizing meal options, friendly service, the casual atmosphere and a cool location make this a great place for groups or date nights! I highly recommend Brasserie Kensington.